Carlsbad, CA — October 13, 2020 –Based on new rules that went into effect Saturday, it’s officially okay to get together with friends, as long as there are no more than three households total, you have a big backyard and no one plays the flute. Let me explain.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen a gradual easing of restrictions on when people can get together. For example, you can meet up with friends at a restaurant, some kids have returned to the classroom, and, obviously, people from different households share the same space in shops, the grocery store, museums and other activities that are now allowed.
The new guidance on small gatherings includes some provisions that are mandatory and others that are highly recommended. All of them echo the same basic precautions health officials have stressed all along: distance, face coverings and hand washing. Here’s a summary, but to get the full details, please read the guidance yourself on the California Department of Public Health website (including the part about “wind instruments,” like flutes).
- No more than three households, including yours. Ideally keep this group stable over time.
- Outdoors only, but awnings and other shade structures are okay. Indoor restroom trips are OK.
- Keep it short – two hours or less.
- No communal (single serving dish) food or drinks (like pitchers).
- Keep at least 6 feet between households, including seating (in all directions, front, side, behind, etc.).
- Wear face coverings except when eating and drinking.
- Make sure you know how to contact everyone present in case you need to later.
Unfortunately, people in high risk groups, including those 65 and older, are still advised to avoid all gatherings.
The state said yesterday that one of the reasons for the new guidance is to maintain consistency with other types of gatherings that are now allowed.
County tier announcement today -Today the state will once again report out on changes to how California counties rank in the four-tier system that affects reopening. Last week San Diego County was within the thresholds for our current tier, meaning we are not at risk of changing tiers this week. You need to be in different tier for two consecutive weeks before moving. It also means we will be waiting a while longer before being able to relax restrictions further, unless additional updates come down from the state (like the new gathering guidelines).
Theme parks Several weeks ago the governor had indicated the state would be coming out with guidelines for theme parks “soon.” According to news reports, the original draft guidelines said visitors could only come from a 120 miles radius, which was a concern of theme park operators. Yesterday, the governor said the state now wants to wait to see how theme parks in other parts of countries fare and has even sent health experts to observe operations at Disney World in Florida and other theme parks that have already opened.
Case numbers Since my update last Thursday, 21 more cases have been reported in Carlsbad for a total of 763. We estimate that 46 of those cases are currently active. Cases countywide -There have been 1,571 new cases reported countywide since my update Thursday, and total cases now top 50,000 (50,746 to be exact).
State metrics –San Diego’s state-calculated, adjusted case rate is 6.5 per 100,000 residents. The trigger is 7 or more.The testing positivity percentage is 3.5%. The trigger is 8% or higher.
Here is a link to all the updated charts and graphs.
Carlsbad’s GenMark gets approval for new test –Carlsbad-based GenMark Diagnostics has received emergency approval for a new all-in-one test that delivers results in two hours for COVID-19, the flu and other respiratory diseases. This comes at an important time, with the beginning of flu season upon us. The ability to quickly distinguish among diseases that may have similar symptoms enables health care workers to get patients into the right course of treatment quickly. The test is available mostly in large hospitals.
GenMark is one of many large companies specializing in life sciences that have located in Carlsbad’s business parks around Palomar Airport. Unless you have a reason to drive around this area, you might never know these companies were there, yet they employ thousands and are doing literally life changing work.
Today’s City Council meeting The City Council meets this afternoon at 3 p.m. We are still virtual due to health precautions. That doesn’t mean you can’t participate. We’ve tried different ways to take comments and now have two options. You can email your comments in advance of the meeting, and they’ll be provided to the City Council. Or, you can provide verbal comments live by phone during the meeting. It’s really easy – you just sign up by 2 p.m. on our website and then listen to the meeting. When your topic comes up, the city clerk will call the last four digits of your phone numbers, and that’s your cue to unmute yourself and start your comments. All the details plus today’s agenda and staff reports are on this page of the city’s website.
Here’s what’s on the agenda today:
- Awarding a contract to improve pedestrian access at El Camino Real and Cannon Road
- An ordinance banning overnight parking on streets in Car Country Carlsbad
- Consideration of a proposal for a four-story building in the Village with 79 residences and four commercial tenants
- Agreement for citywide street sweeping
- Overview of Parks & Recreation’s memorial benches and trees program
Housing meeting Wednesday The Housing Element Advisory Committee meets again on Wednesday at 3 p.m. This group was appointed by the City Council to help develop an updated plan showing how the city will accommodate the number and types of housing needed for the future.
Overall, the city has done a good job planning for housing. Our gap is in the area of affordable housing. The updated plan will include strategies to create more affordable housing and locations where affordable housing could be built. You can find out more about this housing plan here. Basically, all cities are required to have a plan for how they will accommodate housing needs. The state does a forecast, then, in our case, the San Diego Association of Governments decides how to allocate the housing throughout the region.
This week’s meeting will be a good one to watch because the committee will be looking at maps showing different potential locations for new housing. The city will gather input from the public directly as well, likely later this fall.
New election portal
- We’ve created a new portal on the city’s website with links to elected related information like:
- Key dates and deadlines
- Our change to district elections
- Who’s running for what in Carlsbad
- The ballot measure on City Council compensation
- Where to drop off your ballot if you don’t want to put it in the mail
- How to track your ballot as it makes its way back to the Registrar of Voters to be counted
- And more!
Here’s a link (and you can access it through the election right from our home page.)
Finally, with the holidays coming up, the CDC has put out guidance for Thanksgiving and holiday travel (it had already put out recommendations for Halloween). As we head into this time of year, let’s all continue to do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19. We want to keep the gains we’ve made so we can gather with friends and family and allow our businesses to begin to recover during what is for many their most important time of year.
I’ll be back Thursday with more updates.
Scott Chadwick City Manager
City of Carlsbad | 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008