Category Archives: San Marcos Business

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.

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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.

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.

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.

City of San Marcos launches Business Sustainability Program in response to COVID-19

Up to $3,000,000 of the City’s General Fund Reserves will be set aside for short-term business loans

At the City of San Marcos, the health and safety of our community is our top priority. We are working around the clock to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and address the needs of our residents.

The City also recognizes the significant negative impacts of the COVID-19 emergency situation on our local business community, particularly our small and independent local businesses. Many of the owners and employees of these businesses live and work right here in San Marcos.

At its March 24 meeting, the San Marcos City Council approved the City of San Marcos COVID-19 Business Sustainability Program. The program will set aside up to $3,000,000 of the City’s General Fund Reserves for short-term business loans.

The program will offer loans ranging in size up to $50,000, with fixed interest rates ranging from 0% to 3% based on the amount and duration of the term. Priority will be given to businesses with 10 or more employees for loans between $25,000 to $50,000.

“The COVID-19 emergency will undoubtedly have negative budgetary impacts on the City itself, and we will need to find ways to address them,” said City Manager Jack Griffin. “At the same time, we fully recognize the need to maintain a diverse and fiscally sound business community.”

Griffin added that, through decades of sound fiscal management, along with an entrepreneurial and business-friendly operational style, the City has developed and maintained reserves that can be used to carry the community through emergencies and economically stressful times.

Loan applications will be prioritized based on numerous factors, and applicants will be divided into three tiers based on the type of business and the extent their business has been affected by government mandates and public health guidelines related to COVID-19.

“Even in difficult times for the City, we believe that the right thing to do for our businesses and citizens is to invest in our businesses so that as many of them as possible can exit this emergency in as close a fiscal condition as when it started,” said Economic Development Director Tess Sangster.

All loan applications must be received prior to the City’s official declaration of the end of a local emergency due to COVID-19 or the expenditure of the $3,000,000 allocated to this Program, whichever occurs first.

For detailed information or to apply for the program, please visit www.san- marcos.net/businesssustainability or email Economic Development Director Tess Sangster at tsangster@san-marcos.net.

San Marcos Restaurants, Grocery Stores, Breweries and Wineries Open for Business

As a resource for the San Diego County community, we compiled a list of San Marcos restaurants, breweries, and wineries open for pick-up or drive-thru orders. The list also includes grocery stores, with information about special hours for senior citizens. See the list at www.san-marcos.net/businesses.
We’d love it if you could help us spread the word about this resource! We’re asking folks to help us keep the list continuously updated by emailing Economic Development Director Tess Sangster at TSangster@san-marcos.net.

See which San Marcos businesses are open for take-out and/or drive-thru orders

At the City of San Marcos, the health and safety of our community is our top priority. For real-time updates about the City’s response to COVID-19, visit www.san-marcos.net/covid19.

To help keep residents informed and to support our business community, we created a webpage that lists business in San Marcos that are currently open for take-out and/or drive-thru orders.

Click here to see which businesses are open.

Please call ahead to verify before you visit.

If you would like to add a business to the list, please email Tess Sangster.

For a list of resources available to businesses, please click here.

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update No reported cases in San Marcos. Several City events postponed.

At the City of San Marcos, the health and safety of our community is our top priority. There are no reported cases of COVID-19, or coronavirus disease, in San Marcos.

We are actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation, along with the CDC, the County of San Diego and emergency management services. Local and state health officials are actively engaged in preparation to keep Californians safe.

The City is open.

All City facilities remain open during normal business hours. Emergency services, including Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department services, are fully operational.

Increased sanitary measures

We have increased cleaning at all City facilities. Hand sanitizer is available.

Residents are encouraged to engage with the City via phone and the San Marcos City App.

To save a trip to City Hall, residents can contact the City via phone at (760) 744-1050 or the San Marcos City App to report non-emergency concerns, like potholes, park maintenance and debris. The app is the quickest and most direct way for residents to alert City staff to any concerns. Learn more about the app at www.san-marcos.net/city-app.

Public gatherings update

In order to safeguard public health and slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19 in our state, the California Department of Public Health has issued guidelines regarding public gatherings and events. You can read the guidelines here.

The following City events are postponed until further notice:

  • San Marcos Citizens Academy
  • General Plan Update Visioning Workshops #2 and #3
  • March 16 Planning Commission Meeting
  • March 18 Parks and Recreation Commission Meeting
  • March 22 Star Walk
  • March 31 State of Your Community event
  • April 1 Traffic Commission MeetingAdditional changes to events will be posted on the City’s COVID-19 Response webpage at

    www.san-marcos.net/covid19

    What can I do to prevent getting COVID-19?

    There is currently no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19, but it is recommended for everyone to get their flu vaccine and practice proven preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Support local businesses

The City encourages residents to keep local businesses in mind when shopping for goods and services. If you find yourself staying in more due to COVID-19 concerns, consider purchasing a gift card at your favorite restaurant or store to treat yourself at a later date.

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.
  • To learn more about COVID-19 and to stay updated with the latest news and information, visit the County’s comprehensive information portal at www.coronavirus-sd.com.
  • Sign up for City news and alerts by visiting www.san-marcos.net/alerts.
  • Sign up for Alert San Diego emergency alerts at www.readysandiego.org/alertsandiego/.
  • You can also call 2-1-1 to speak to someone if you have general questions.

City of San Marcos Single Use Plastics Survey

Take a survey to share your thoughts! The survey is designed to gauge the opinions of San Marcos residents on single-use plastic products distributed in restaurants and sold in grocery stores in order to provide City staff with accurate information in considering any control ordinances on the subject.

  • Please read the Single-Use Plastics Fact Sheet before completing the survey. You can view the fact sheet here.
  • You can take the survey here.
  • Please respond by March 20, 2020.
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