The Honorable Gavin Newsom
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173 Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: Lifting restrictions on San Diego County lodging establishments and attractions as soon as possible
On behalf of the San Diego North Economic Development Council, the Del Mar Village Association and the San Marcos, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Escondido, and Encinitas Chambers of Commerce we are writing to urge you to allow lodging establishments in San Diego County to resume modified operations for tourists and leisure travelers as soon as possible but absolutely no later than June 15, 2020. Similarly, we would urge you to allow attractions and theme parks the opportunity open, with modifications, to the general public immediately but absolutely no later than July 1, 2020. Such actions are vital to San Diego’s economic well-being and to tens of thousands of North County residents who are employed by these two industries.
Since the State of California issued its emergency order in March, representatives from North County’s attractions and lodging industries have spent thousands of manhours consulting the public health experts and collaboratively developing safety protocols. We strongly believe that the proposed guidelines they have shared with County of San Diego public health officials will enable these industries to safely operate in a way that preserves the gains made in the state’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year the lodging and attractions industry directly employed more than 18,000 residents in Northern San Diego County and accounted for at least $80 million in Transient Occupancy and Sales and Use tax for local North County governments in 2019. The San Diego Tourism Authority estimates that countywide the visitor’s industry contributed $19.2 billion to San Diego’s regional economy.
A significant portion of that trade occurs during the summer months. For example, in 2018 36% out of expenditures on lodging in Oceanside, California occurred during between July 1 and September 30th. Similarly, by far the busiest months of the year for the San Diego Safari Park and Legoland California are during June, July, and August. Because of that seasonality, it is vital that North County’s visitors industries be allowed to open to have some chance of generating business during the summer of 2020. If this does not occur, we believe that these industries are looking at retractions which will take several years to recover from and have devastating impacts on local government finances.
We appreciate the challenges faced by the state. We truly believe that moving forward with the opening of these two industries under the safety protocols they have shared with the public health officials from the county of San Diego serves both the state’s efforts to combat COVID-19 as well as ensures that California’s economic recovery can be as swift as possible.
W. Erik Bruvold James Rowtan
Chief Executive Officer President and CEO
San Diego North EDC Escondido Chamber of Commerce
Jen Grove Scott Ashton
Chief Executive Officer Chief Executive Officer
Del Mar Village Association Oceanside Chamber of Commerce
Rick Rungaitis Bret Schanzenbach
Chief Executive Officer President & CEO
San Marcos Chamber of Commerce Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce
Encinitas Chamber of Commerce
Chairman Greg Cox, County Board of Supervisors, County of San Diego
Vice Chairman Jim Desmond, County Board of Supervisors
Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, San Diego County Board of Supervisors
State Senator Patricia Bates
State Senator Brian Jones
State Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath