Soon after the announcement by President Donald Trump on the state of emergency because of the Coronavirus last Friday, March 13, lines at supermarkets became very long and shoppers had carts full of non-perishables.
Until the announcement that the virus is now a pandemic, (which means it is all over the world), IB residents were not too concerned about its spreading to our neck of the woods, but things have changed now.
By Sunday, March 15, supermarkets had returned to normal but the shelves for paper and cleaning products were bare as was the pasta shelf. Fruits and veggies were non-existent. Governor Newsom announced that wineries, bars and nightclubs should close. Restaurants can only offer take out and delivery with no dine in option. Some restaurants have decided to close altogether.
By Monday morning some fruits and veggies were back on the shelves at supermarkets.
In the meantime, the county went from 10 cases of the virus on Sunday, to 39 confirmed cases on Monday and at press time, the latest count is 55. Schools have closed. People 65 years and older are asked to isolate at home and any gathering of 10 or more is discouraged.
In response to the events in San Diego and the State of California, Mayor Serge Dedina said, “The City of Imperial Beach is following Governor Newsom’s and the state of California’s recommendations on postponing and canceling events to bring people together and social distancing. Next week’s city council is cancelled and at City Hall we are practicing a quarantine on Monday with quite a few staff members working offsite. We are following the governor’s recommendations.
“The new guidelines also advise against gatherings in smaller venues that don’t allow six feet of distance between people, such as crowded auditoriums. Groups of high risk individuals, such as those in retirement or assisted living facilities, should be limited to no more than 10 people.”
On Tuesday Mar. 17 the city held a special council meeting some important decisions were made for the residents of Imperial Beach. Consistent with Executive Order N-28-20 issued on March 16, 2020, by Governor Newsom, the City Council of Imperial Beach implemented new provisions suspending residential evictions until May 31, 2020, or until the declared local emergency has ended, whichever is first.
City Council adopted a Resolution that in part states, “No landlord shall endeavor to evict a tenant who demonstrates both (a) the basis for the eviction is nonpayment of rent rising out of a substantial decrease in household or business income… and (b) the decrease in household or business income… was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The Resolution will give the residents who are financially struggling a peace of mind as we all adjust to the realities of the nationwide effort to address the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.
The resolution is intended to be balanced and protect the interests of property owners as well. The Resolution includes, “(N)othing in this Resolution shall relieve a tenant from the obligation to pay rent, nor restrict a landlord’s ability to recover rent due.”
Rather, the Resolution provides some time for residents who may have temporarily lost their income stream to recover and submit rent payments after the strict work limitations of COVID-19 have been lifted.
“The City of Imperial Beach must do everything possible to help our residents deal with these historic circumstances,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Paloma Aguirre. “This resolution will help our residents have one less thing to worry about and focus on keeping their loved ones healthy.”
City council meetings are cancelled for the rest of the month.
Local businesses are also impacted by the virus with panic shopping resulting in stores running out of much needed items.
Social distancing is another matter. Red House Kitchen owner Bethany Case said there has been a massive reduction in business since last week. “People are doing what they are supposed to do and staying home. There are only three of us here, normally it’s five or six,” she said of her staff.
Since she can only serve food in the form of pick up or delivery, Case recommends customers call ahead and her staff will bring the food curbside. Or customers can order through grub hub, although that causes the restaurant to get charged a higher percentage fee.
Case keeps busy in between customers and continues to wipe the iPad every time a customer or staff uses it and also cleaning doors handles.
IB Clearwater announced on social media that it is lowering prices for both alkaline and pure filtered water to 40 cents a gallon. Owner Carl Bailey wrote, “It is our sincere hope…to help mitigate some of the anxiety and concern we hear and see in our customers and fellow citizens…Please do not panic buy, when it comes to getting enough drinking water. We have enough water for everybody. We will not close because of this health scare.”
The Scoreboard was offering food to go on St. Patrick’s Day. “We will be offering that today but going forward I’m not sure what our plans will be,” announced the owner on social media.
Although it is hard to be more confined to our homes, there are ways to connect with others and continue with our daily routines as much as we can. Exercise classes and even music lessons are now being done online via apps like zoom. Many churches also have live stream services.
Kids are out of school for a while which adds to the stress for parents as far as child care especially if they still have to go to work rather than telecommute. During this time, take a breather, binge on your favorite show or read a book. But most importantly take time to think about what’s really important in your life.