In Carlsbad, there will be a bit of the carrot and the stick in the city’s attempts to enforce COVID-19 health orders.
The Carlsbad City Council has approved new steps in the city’s enforcement plan, while also seeking to support local businesses that are complying with the orders.
On the stick side, the City Council approved increasing enforcement against businesses that received city approval for outdoor spaces, yet still are violating the law, including the health orders.
Within the next week, the city will inform businesses that have received special permits or entered encroachment agreements, that if they violate the terms they face fines, or even suspensions or cancellations of their ability to use sidewalks and other outdoor areas.
The city will also contact landlords of businesses out of compliance, as well as big box stores and other retailers to ensure they are aware of and are following the health orders.
As for carrots, the city will provide loan programs and marketing assistance, while also looking at new microgrant and rent-relief programs that the City Council could establish.
Eligibility for the loans has been extended to businesses in operation for six months or more. Owners also can obtain two types of loans – small business recovery loans and small business microloans. The maximum recovery loan has increased to $50,000.
Businesses with gross receipts or revenues up to $5 million may now be eligible for the recovery loans, which officials estimate will make 150 more firms eligible for aid. Previously the limit was $3 million.
The city has issued 75 permits to businesses that sought to expand operations outdoors on private property, such as parking lots; 15 received permits or encroachment agreements to operate on city property like sidewalks and the street. Due to the pandemic, the city waived the normal fees.
In April, the city set aside $5 million to assist businesses during the pandemic, with various programs that included low- or no-interest loans, shop-local campaigns and free webinars.
San Diego also has launched new outreach efforts for businesses using outdoor spaces.