COVID-19 Update from The City of San Marcos: Public Counters and Parks & Recreation

Cities in San Diego County have been granted permission to start slowly reopening businesses, parks and a variety of other services. In response, the City of San Marcos is making the following updates:

Public Counters

  • Public counters at City Hall and Public Works will reopen on Monday, June 1. Hours will be Monday-Thursday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Public health and safety measures will be in place.
  • In addition, residents can continue to take advantage of our “Virtual City Hall” by engaging with the City online, and via phone, email and the San Marcos City App. Visit www.san-marcos.net/covid19 to learn more about the wide variety of services that are available online.

Parks & Recreation

  • All City parks and parking lots will reopen on Monday, June 1, at 9 a.m.
  • Dog parks will also reopen Monday.
  • Pickleball and tennis courts will reopen on Wednesday, June 3. The County is allowing play at these courts if used by members of a household or others who can maintain social distance. Please check in with the facility attendant to be assigned a court and follow the rules that are posted at each court. You can view the rules for each court at www.san-marcos.net/courts.
  • Athletic fields will open, but no organized sport play or games will be allowed.
  • Playgrounds, skate parks, restrooms, splash pads, basketball courts and volleyball courts will remain closed.
  • The Corky Smith Gymnasium and the Senior Activity Center (SAC) will remain closed. For information about the senior nutrition program, call (760) 744-5535.
  • You may go outside for exercise if you can keep six feet away from people who are not members of your household.
  • Park visitors are allowed to sit, lie down, and picnic if they practice social distancing.
  • Please avoid groups and crowded outdoor spaces.

Health and Safety Guidelines

  • All State and County public health-related measures will remain in effect at all City facilities and parks.
  • Please maintain six feet of social distance and wear a face covering when you come within six feet of anyone outside your household.
  • You can learn more about all of the guidelines in place at www.coronavirus-sd.com.

Thank You

As always, the health and safety of the San Marcos community is our top priority. We appreciate your continued efforts to protect yourself and others in our community by making smart, safe choices during this time.

City of San Marcos eases rules to allow businesses to temporarily expand outdoor uses

Some restaurant, retail and other activities now allowed in parking lots, sidewalk patios.

The City of San Marcos is here to support businesses through COVID-19 as they gradually reopen under the State’s orders.

With new social distancing requirements, many businesses want to move some activities outdoors. In response, the City has temporarily changed our rules regarding outdoor uses and is now allowing restaurants, retail and other activities in parking lots, as well as sidewalk patios in some cases. This can be done with a fast, easy, no-cost permit process.

We’ve also changed our regulations to allow some signage without permits and an array of additional changes to help businesses and community organizations.

The temporary modifications to the San Marcos Municipal Code include:

  • Drive-thru or Designated Curbside Pickup: Temporary Outdoor Business Permit Required. Businesses will be allowed to designate their customer parking spaces for curbside pickup. This will be permitted in commercial centers and other locations provided that businesses work with neighbors and property management companies to minimize conflicts. ADA stalls and fire lanes may not be used for this purpose. The City may require operational changes or disallow drive-thru or curbside pickup based on complaints and/ or traffic or other health/safety or applicable regulatory compliance issues. The number of spaces used would be decided by the business owner in terms what works for their business provided it does not exceed the number spaces allocated for their suite.
  • Signage: No permit required for on-site temporary banner signs of prescribed sizes. No new permanent signage or off-site signage is permitted. Business owners must coordinate with property management regarding site specific sign restrictions.
  • Outdoor Dining: Outdoor dining will be permitted in various locations provided that ADA access, ingress/egress requirements and other health and safety requirements can be met and that existing occupancy is not exceeded.
    • Public right of way or private sidewalks. Special Event Permits and other permits may be required (Right of Way, Encroachment, Traffic Control).This applies only in University District/ North City and along non-arterial roads only. This may include street closures with appropriate plans and permits.
    • Private parking lots. Temporary Outdoor Business Permit Required. Applicable to certain location types with required timeframes to be determined (i.e., sites with shared uses such as breweries in industrial areas may have staggered hours to avoid conflicts). Individual approvals required. Other permits may be required in some cases (Special Event Permit, Right of Way, Encroachment, Traffic Control).
  • To-go and On-Site Outdoor Consumption of Alcohol: Allows for consistency with the Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) Notices that provide that bona fide eating places (i.e. restaurants) selling beer, wine and pre-mixed drinks or cocktails for consumption on the premises pursuant to an ABC license, may sell alcohol for off premise consumption in conjunction with meals prepared for pickup or delivery. These businesses may also allow on-site outdoor alcohol consumption with appropriate permits as outlined above (see “outdoor dining”). This modification is effective only for the duration of the ABC notices.
  • Personal Services (Instructional/ Fitness): Temporary Outdoor Business Permit Required. When public health orders permit such uses, would allow for instructional/fitness facilities to deviate from their Conditional Use Permit or Director’s Permit conditions and allow for outdoor activities on site in a parking lot or other open area. Allows for indoor activities provided safe reopening and any other safety requirements are followed.
  • Retail Businesses: Temporary Outdoor Business Permit Required. Allows for all retail sales businesses to open with interior sales under safe reopening plans. Allow for curbside pickup if desired by business. Also allows businesses to designate their customer parking spaces for curbside pickup. The number of spaces would be decided by business owner in terms what works for their business, provided it does not exceed the number spaces allocated for their suite. Allows for outdoor sales in parking lot if desired by business.
  • Home Occupation: Temporary Outdoor Business Permit Required. Allows for on-site customers, employees, and stock in trade on site at home occupations.
  • Group Assembly: Temporary Outdoor Business Permit Required. When public health orders permit such uses, would allow for assemblies in and outdoors in various locations provided that ADA access, ingress/egress requirements and other health and safety requirements can be met. Requires individual plan approval. Other permits may be required (Special Event Permit, Right of Way, Encroachment, Traffic Control).
  • Retail Expansion in Industrial Buildings: No permit required. Allows for an expansion of retail uses from 10% up to 50% of building square footage within buildings or on sites zoned as Industrial. Retail sales must be for the sale of a product(s) produced on site.

These provisions apply throughout the Stay at Home order. They are only applicable as allowed under the State or County public health orders in effect at the time.

Learn more

For more information, contact Economic Development Director Tess Sangster at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3120 or tsangster@san-marcos.net.

Stay informed

Visit the City’s COVID-19 Response webpage for information about City’s response to COVID-19 at www.san-marcos.net/covid19.

Discover Our Recovery Business Safety Promise

At the City of San Marcos, the health and safety of our community is our top priority. The COVID-19 crisis is impacting everyone in San Marcos, including our local businesses that are currently open or preparing to reopen when public health guidelines allow.
The City is happy to support and assist with the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce’s Discover Our Recovery Business Safety Promise. The Chamber’s program is designed to help business owners communicate their commitment to following all public health orders and guidelines from the State of California, the County of San Diego, the City of San Marcos and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help protect their employees, customers and the community.
Business owners that make the Discover Our Recovery Business Safety Promise below can display the decal in their windows to let customers know that the businesses has committed to take all the County’s recommended precautions to help provide a safe environment.
Let’s help our community move forward safely together.

Make the Promise and Download the Toolkit

You can learn more about the program, make the Promise and download a multimedia toolkit on the Chamber’s website here. By downloading the toolkit and/or using the graphics, you are promising to follow the guidelines.
Window decals for businesses that make the Promise will be available soon! Please stay tuned for details.

Stay Updated

For the most up-to-date information, please visit the City’s COVID-19 Response webpage: www.san-marcos.net/covid19.

Safety-First Listing and Home Sale Strategy Ed Philbrick: REALTOR® Coastal Premiere Properties

Safety-First Listing and Home Sale Strategy. Please reach out for a 15-20 minute Zoom meeting in which I will inform you of your home’s value and answer the three most-asked questions I’m getting today:

* How much is my home worth in this market?
* How do you sell homes safely during COVID19?
* How’s the mortgage market right now?

Today’s buyers and sellers need a trusted local resource that can guide them through the complex world of real estate, who you work with matters. With my extensive local San Elijo Hills knowledge and commitment to providing an exceptional real estate experience to my clients, I’m your go-to source for San Elijo Hills and North County real estate insight, advice, and results. I am the publisher of San Elijo Life and enjoy connecting and building our fantastic community.

Please let me know how I can safely be of service if you are looking to buy or sell a home.

Covering North County San Diego from “The Hills to The Coast”

Ed Philbrick: REALTOR®
www.hillsandcoast.com
M: 760-496-8134
E: ed@hillsandcoast.com
3295 Business Park Dr. Suite C, Vista, CA 92081
DRE # 01967137
Coastal Premier Properties DRE # 01861547

Book Online Appointment 

Pet Stress During the Pandemic

Stay at Home orders and the recent COVID pandemic have been a source of stress to many members of our community.  Our animal companions have provided comfort and relief from some of the stress we all are feeling; however, some pet owners are reporting concerning changes in their pets at this time. 
While it might seem that owners being home all day would be a dream for pets, we need to remember that their world has suddenly been turned upside down, resulting in significant stress.

Dogs, as a rule, tend to turn to their owners in times of stress and discomfort.  This is often expressed in things we consider “nuisance” behaviors.  Dogs may appear more needy by constantly following, nosing, and otherwise “pestering” their owners for attention.  In addition, dogs may act out by being more destructive, barking more, or even hiding in the house.  

Cats, on the other hand, often become anti-social during times of stress.  Feline family members may look for places to hide in the house and may disappear for hours at a time.  Additionally, cats may display destructive behaviors such as increased scratching and inappropriate urination behaviors.

While we can’t change the Stay at Home orders, we can do a lot to help our pets’ stress levels.  Patience, consistency, and creativity are key.

Be patient with your pets during this time and give them time to adjust to their “new normal.” Lashing out in frustration will only increase their stress.

Be consistent day to day.  Create a routine that your pet can depend on.  This does not mean that you can’t mix in fun surprises like hikes, walking adventures, and impromptu play sessions, but keep daily necessities like meal times and walks on a predictable routine.

Give your pets space: Make areas in the house where your pet can have “alone time,” and allow them to choose to be there.  Make sure these areas are safe, comfortable, and kid-free.

Create entertainment time: Make time to entertain your pet.  Exercise and mental stimulation are not only great stress relievers, but they increase the bond between owners and their pet.  There are many easy and inexpensive ways to exercise your pet’s body and mind.  Here are a few ideas:

Dogs:

Most dogs love physical exercise of one type or the other.  Ideas include playing ball in the backyard, simple neighborhood walks, or hikes on our beautiful local trails.  When exercising your dog, always take into account their level of conditioning and physical abilities.  Also consider current regulations regarding open trails, protective gear, and physical distancing.

Brain games can be as exhausting and stimulating as exercise for many dogs.  Try hiding toys and treats around the house for a game of “find it!” Mix up their meal time with maze/puzzle feeders, snuffle mats, and food stuffed Kong toys.  Finally, teach your dog some new tricks.  Pups both old and young love to learn!

Cats:

Cats benefit from physical and mental stimulation as well.  Keep some of those shipping boxes and make a “box fort” for your feline.  Few cats can resist the allure of a brand new box or bag!  Cats can also benefit from puzzle toys or maze feeders to make their meal time more interesting.  Look for puzzle feeders specially designed for cats (and make sure to keep the boxes for additional kitty play). You may also give your cat a new perspective by installing a new cat tree, wall shelves, hammocks, or window shelves for your cat to explore.

Finally, if your pet seems so distressed that it is manifesting physical symptoms.  Contact your veterinarian.  Psychological stress can be as hard on pets as it is on people, and there are medical options that can give your furry friend relief! 

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078
760-736-3636
www.sanelijovet.com

San Marcos extends temporary eviction moratorium to protect tenants impacted by COVID-19

On May 12, the San Marcos City Council voted to extend the City’s temporary eviction moratorium to June 30, 2020. The moratorium was initially enacted as an urgency measure on March 24, 2020, to protect residential and commercial tenants from the possibility of eviction by reason of financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and imposed a temporary moratorium against such evictions.

The time period within which tenants need to provide written notice to their landlord that they have experienced a substantial decrease in their household or business income, or have experienced substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, due to COVID-19 has been shortened to 7 days from the previous 30 day notice period, to be consistent with Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-37-20.

For Tenants

If there has been a substantial decrease in your household or business income caused by layoffs or significantly reduced hours, or if you have incurred substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, and if the decrease in income and/or the medical expenses were caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Council’s action temporarily prohibits your landlord from filing or pursuing an eviction action.

This does not mean that you do not owe the rent to your landlord – it means that the rent will be deferred until after June 30, 2020. If your rental agreement provides for a late payment fee, that fee will still be owed to the landlord if you defer your rent payment.

What should you do if you are in this situation? For those tenants taking action from and after May 12, within 7 days after the date rent is due, NOTIFY YOUR LANDLORD IN WRITING that you have suffered a substantial decrease in your household or your business income (whichever is applicable), and provide your landlord with documents that show your substantial decrease in income is due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Try to negotiate a mutually acceptable repayment period, and retain copies of the notice, your documentation of the COVID-19 cause of your financial circumstances, and all communications with your landlord. If your landlord has initiated or threatened such an action during the moratorium period, and you can show that your inability to pay rent was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, please go to the City of San Marcos website (www.san-marcos.net) and click on the “Report A Concern” button, or select “Departments” and then “City Attorney,” and email the City Attorney from a link on that page. Your claim will be investigated and, if found to be substantiated, action will be taken against your landlord.

For Landlords

If you receive timely notice from a tenant that they have experienced a substantial decrease in their household or business income caused by layoffs or significantly reduced hours, or if they have incurred substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, and if the substantial decrease in income and/or the medical expenses were caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Council’s action prohibits you from filing or pursuing an eviction action against that tenant until after June 30, 2020.

This does not mean that the rent is not owed to you – it means that the rent will be deferred until after June 30, 2020. If your rental agreement provides for a late payment fee, that fee will still be owed to you if your tenant defers their rent payment.

If your tenant provides you with notice within 7 days of the date their rent is due that they have suffered a substantial decrease in their household or their business income (whichever is applicable), and provide you with documents that show a substantial decrease in income is due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you are PRECLUDED from initiating or pursuing an eviction action against that tenant until after June 30, 2020.

If the City learns that you have initiated such an eviction action and it is substantiated on review, you will be subjected to an enforcement action which will include the imposition of fines and orders. Please avoid this situation and work proactively with your tenants; in these difficult times it is important to work together to come to a mutually acceptable alternative payment schedule. If you have any questions, please go to the City of San Marcos website (www.san-marcos.net) and select “Departments” and then “City Attorney,” and email or call the City Attorney with the information provided on that page.

Traffic alert: Twin Oaks Valley Road traffic control scheduled for May 15 CSUSM event

Northbound and southbound traffic control implementation has been scheduled for Friday, May 15, to accommodate the Cal State San Marcos Graduates on Parade event. The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Although traffic will be maintained along Twin Oaks Valley Road, traffic delays are anticipated. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes during this period. Signals at Twin Oaks Valley Road at Barham and Craven Road may be set to flash with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies and CSUSM campus police in place to direct traffic.

More information about the event, visit csusm.edu/parade. For questions, email parade@csusm.edu.

Women-Owned Businesses Make Their Mark in San Marcos

Pictured: Goverre founders Regan Kelaher and Shannon Zappala launched their successful portable wine glass company in San Marcos where they’re part of a thriving group of female entrepreneurs.

Being an entrepreneur is not easy. Dedication and determination are a must, and a supportive network of investors, customers, peers and family certainly helps, too. In San Marcos, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, and in a certain corner of the City – La Costa Meadows to be exact – there is a cluster of women business owners who are trailblazing their way to success.

In honor of Economic Development Week, May 4-9, we’re highlighting five of these dynamic female founders.

“The San Marcos area is a really well-kept secret. It’s a great place to manage your overhead, and we are close to everything we need to manage our business,” said Kerri Leslie of Verity, a sustainable packing company, and Noniko, a clean beauty company. “Our location in particular is a buzzing entrepreneur community. It’s a different energy, and it’s fun to be a part of that.”

Verity and Noniko are not alone. Women-owned businesses, including Boobie Brands, Goverre, and Wander & Perch, also chose to open up shop in San Marcos. They are founded by women, and each advances a unique facet of wellness and responsible, healthy living. Inspired by their own experiences and expertise, these business owners are addressing market needs while advancing their personal passions.

Leslie’s background in the medical device industry was the perfect primer for creating Verity because she was familiar with how to bring products made from metal from concept to market.  She also has a lot of experience working with durable materials that can be sterilized and reused like stainless steel, and highly recyclable materials like aluminum. Being in San Diego, and centrally located in San Marcos particularly, helps her tap into a pool of likeminded talent who share her commitment to reducing single-use plastics.

“Our location makes it easy to recruit talent,” said Leslie. “We live in a community and focus our business in Southern California because people here care about ridding our oceans of plastic.” She continued, “We find it starts on a personal level for our community. Our employees, customers, and wholesale partners really care about the issue.”

Wendy Colson, founder of Boobie Brands and the Boobie Bar that started it all, wanted to help her lactation patients get the nutrition they needed without the hassle of teas and multidose supplements.

“Boobie Brands focuses on making women, specifically mothers, healthier. The fact that we are a woman-owned business is important in the marketplace,” said Colson. “I started helping my lactation patients by baking nutrition bars packed with the herbs and vitamins moms need. Using my experience as a nurse and lactation consultant, I’ve been able to grow the business by identifying new ways to assist moms in finding nourishing and convenient products.”

Colson has three distribution warehouses in San Marcos to meet the demand of retailers like Target, Buy Buy Baby and Walmart. When asked about the value of these locations, Colson replied, “I think the vibe in San Diego County, including San Marcos, is so rich in embracing the entrepreneur. It’s perfect because there are so many of us, especially in our complex. You get inspired by the community around you. We have one of the best business vibes.”

Like Boobie Brands, Goverre was founded by Shannon Zappala and Regan Kelaher when they noticed a market gap they wanted filled – along with a nice glass of wine on the go. They were the first to create a portable wine glass made of actual glass. Based on their research, drinking wine from a glass container is preferred by most wine enthusiasts (including Zappala and Kelaher!), and is far better for the environment than plastic. But unprotected glass is not particularly ideal for an outdoor lifestyle, so they invented a new type of glassware – thicker with a silicon sleeve and lid.

“After having success on Shark Tank, we realized we had to change our mindset from ‘what if we fail’ to ‘what if we succeed,’ and that has really shifted how we approach our business,” said Zappala. Kelaher says their dual roles as working moms help their business perspective, too. “As business owners, we have to balance everything and handle the unexpected. As moms, we’re already good at that.”

Eileen Zimmerman of Wander & Perch was inspired to create her line of eco-friendly waterproof travel tote bags after living in San Francisco and Encinitas. After experiencing the start-up culture in the Bay Area and the healthy living ethos of coastal San Diego, Zimmerman could not find a stylish waterproof bag for transporting her wet post-beach and workout gear, so she created one herself.

“I take a lot of pride in how much I do locally,” Zimmerman said when asked about how her location in San Marcos benefits her business. “We manufacture our products in San Diego County, and I try to employee San Diego county people. It can be hard to make sustainable choices, in the materials you source and keeping your product ‘local,’ but I think customers reward companies who make the right decisions.”

Zimmerman noted that the community this group of female entrepreneurs has created in San Marcos feels special and unique. “There is a level of support for one another,” Zimmerman said. “We are all local, and we are all connected to our community. It’s a rarity.”

If you would like to join this community of businesses in San Marcos, contact Tess Sangster, economic development director for the City of San Marcos at tsangster@san-marcos.net or (760) 744-1050, ext. 3120.

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