A billboard placed by the San Diego Event Coalition. Courtesy of the coalition

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal to provide financial relief to the events industry, one of the worst impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Chair Nathan Fletcher announced plans to present a policy before the board on April 6 that would waive fiscal year 2021-2022 permit fees for events businesses including planners, venues, and vendors.

“The event industry was dealt a tremendous economic blow by the pandemic. Unlike other sectors who were able to operate at limited capacity and bring in some revenue, they could not because of the protections around large gatherings,” said Fletcher. 

Local and national events industry statistics. Courtesy of the coalition

If passed, the proposal would reduce $1.7 million in revenue for the county’s health departments, sheriff’s department, parks and recreation, and fire authority, event industry officials said. The funding source will likely come from the American Rescue Plan Act, pending guidance from the Treasury Department.

The San Diego Event Coalition launched a billboard campaign in February to encourage elected officials to allow outdoor community events throughout California.

The coalition has been working since last summer to specifically include outdoor events in California’s four-tier plan for reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are very encouraged that our plea for cost recovery measures is being answered,” said Mike Kociela, vice president of the SDEC. “These savings will have a meaningful impact on thousands of small event businesses and individual people who have struggled financially for over a year.”

According to the San Diego Association of Governments, the meeting and special events industry is an essential economic driver for the region and brought 2.7 million visitors and $3.5 billion in spending in 2019.

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