REGION – The cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach have both declared local emergencies in light of the spread of COVID-19, taking steps to close down city buildings, facilities and parks and adjust to our new global reality.
On March 14, Del Mar approved an emergency declaration during a special meeting, as did Solana Beach at a March 19 meeting – after the city manager had already declared a local emergency on March 16.
As the region gauges the impact of the novel coronavirus, as well as recent state-imposed stay-at-home mandates, city leaders are looking to support the most vulnerable residents in their cities, as well as the local businesses that are being affected by statewide closure mandates.
The city plans to conduct a remote city council meeting on April 6 to address steps forward. In the meantime, the city and partnering organizations are doing what they can to mitigate quickly changing circumstances.
As a way to help struggling restaurants maintain service, the city has put into place a free temporary-use permit process for curbside food pick-up. Del Mar’s municipal code prohibits drive-thrus, but the permit will allow restaurants to sell food drive-thru style on a temporary basis. Local businesses will be able to get a permit “quickly and easily” to continue these services, according to Mayor Ellie Haviland.
The city is also encouraging businesses to use this time to get updated on their Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG) inspections, make any necessary upgrades and wrap up construction for when dine-in services resume, Deputy Mayor Terry Gaasterland told The Coast News.
All events at city facilities have been canceled until May 31. The council approved complete refunds for any events scheduled at city sites, including Powerhouse Community Center, Del Mar Civic Center and Del Mar’s parks and beaches.
Del Mar beaches are still open, but the city is urging residents and visitors to practice social distancing by keeping a six-foot distance between individuals. Gaasterland said residents should keep moving while at the beach, and also not stay too long, in order to limit opportunities for infection.
As for local organizations that are doing their part, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Del Mar is continuing to provide services to the local homeless population, and Del Mar Community Connections is working to provide delivery and check-in services to area seniors, who are most at-risk of being impacted by the virus.
“We have a lot of vulnerable people in our city,” said Mayor Haviland. “So we’ve been taking this very seriously to make sure they all have the resources they need and the information they need to get through this and stay safe.”
For COVID-19-related updates in Del Mar, visit http://www.delmar.ca.us/798/COVID-19-Preparedness.
At a March 19 special meeting, City Manager Greg Wade said that all city facilities will be closed to the public, but the city will continue “essential services,” such as those relating to public works and public safety. As of March 20, all city “play” areas have been posted as closed.
All city council and commission meetings will be suspended in both cities “until further notice,” as will enrollment for the Solana Beach’s popular Jr. Lifeguards program, surf camp and summer camp.
As with Del Mar, the city is exploring options to keep the community as updated as possible, encouraging residents to sign up for the city’s eblasts, and preparing to conduct future meetings remotely (in Solana Beach’s case, via Zoom).
According to City Councilwoman Kelly Harless, city staff is exploring the possibility of setting aside funds for the Community Resource Center to provide rooms for the area’s homeless population, potentially in conjunction with Encinitas and Del Mar.
Beyond grassroots efforts to check in on neighbors and offer help to seniors, the city is encouraging people to buy gift cards from area businesses and support businesses that are still open for takeout or delivery.
In a statement to The Coast News, Solana Beach Mayor Jewel Edson urged residents to stay indoors as much as possible and to use social distancing measures when outside. Edson said she has been encouraged by the kindness of neighbors, some of whom have offered to shop for seniors, do laundry for those who are unable or hold classes via Zoom.
“Kindness begets kindness and especially at times like these, community matters,” Edson said.
For COVID-19 related updates in Solana Beach, visit https://www.ci.solana-beach.ca.us/index.asp?SEC=68D67EC8-7D90-48CE-AE05-0DE5B6795D82&DE=D012B2E8-8ECC-42CC-B684-D7D934D9F382&Type=B_PR.
For any updates on the number of cases in San Diego, refer to the county’s website: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/community_epidemiology/dc/2019-nCoV/status.html.