Coronado entered into a unique agreement in May with local nonprofit Coronado MainStreet to help local businesses comply with San Diego County’s Safe Reopening Plan during a very uncertain time.
It was mid-May when Coronado restaurants and retail shops, after being closed for months due to the public health emergency, were being allowed to reopen for limited indoor dining and shopping. Since then, much has changed and restaurants were recently required to again close their indoor dining. The City heard from many of its businesses about the hardships they have had to endure and the rapidly changing requirements for those planning to operate during the pandemic.
The City wanted to help but also recognized the need for businesses to follow the County’s public health order for the health and safety of the entire community. Assigning sworn officers to educate and monitor local businesses seemed inefficient and gave the appearance that Coronado would rather lead with enforcement over education.
“For a city our size, we felt we could really convey the importance of following the health orders with an organization like Coronado MainStreet, which is uniquely familiar with downtown businesses in its role to preserve and beautify the commercial district,” City Manager Blair King said. “They could visit every business in town and help them to comply.”
The City contracted with Coronado MainStreet on a temporary basis. MainStreet representatives visit each reopened business to observe if social distancing is being properly maintained, if masks are being worn and if the businesses are complying with the Safe Reopening rules. Representatives will speak to the manager or owner and answer any questions and discuss any concerns.
Of the businesses visited by MainStreet, nearly 97% are complying with the County’s health order. That high rate of compliance is a direct result of the successful partnership with MainStreet that allows the nonprofit to provide a business-to-business service.
For those not in compliance, the City has followed up with visits by sworn officers and has provided a report to the County Department of Environmental Health, which has visited more than a dozen Coronado businesses found to have issues or violations to provide information on the public health order and discuss what is required. The next step with any repeat or egregious violators will be a visit by the Police Department. If there is further noncompliance, the County said it will work with the City to forward the business’ violations to the County for a possible Public Health Officer directive to the owner.
The City will continue to help but also monitor local businesses and take enforcement actions as necessary against those businesses that are noncompliant. Coronado appears to be the only City in the County providing this type of business-to-business program. County officials have praised the City’s program and said they would encourage other cities to follow suit.