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Some San Diego Businesses Calling Foul On Tighter Pandemic Restrictions

 November 17, 2020 at 11:27 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 The County and state cracked down as COVID cases ramp up, Speaker 2: 00:05 There has been a little bit of a rub there in terms of actually doing the citations and fines, Speaker 1: 00:10 Maureen Cavenaugh, with Mark sour. This is KPBS mid day edition. Now there are two promising COVID vaccines headed for FDA approval. Speaker 3: 00:29 It's going to take probably at least six months to a full year to get enough people vaccinated that we might be able to see, you know, really come out of this dark Cottonwood infection. Speaker 1: 00:40 We'll meet the apparent winner of the district. One San Diego supervises race nor a Vargas. And this Thanksgiving might be just the time to pick up a cooked dinner from a restaurant that really needs your business. That's a head-on midday edition. Speaker 1: 01:00 San Diego's Corona virus. Surge continues with 833 new cases reported on Monday. The state as a whole is facing such an unprecedented increase in cases that governor Newsome has put a halt on reopenings and tightened the rules concerning countywide tier restrictions. He's also considering a statewide curfew, a tactic that has had success in other nations and regions of the country, but not everyone is on board with business closures and tighter restrictions to fight the virus and San Diego is starting to crack down. Joining me is San Diego union Tribune, reporter Paul Sisson, and Paul welcome. Thanks for having me. Now, you reported that just yesterday, the County issued cease and desist orders against 17 businesses, which the County says are not in compliance with COVID restrictions. What kinds of businesses got those orders? Speaker 2: 01:57 Uh, it seems to break down into two main categories. You have restaurants, bars, and grills, uh, as well as, uh, athletic clubs and gyms. Uh, one case, a large chain fit athletic club, uh, which has five different, uh, cease and desist orders for five different locations that they operate. Uh, and then there is one church, uh, awaken church in Carlsbad. What Speaker 1: 02:19 Legal wait does a cease and desist order have Speaker 2: 02:21 I believe it's considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to a thousand dollars per violation. There has been a little bit of a rub there in terms of actually doing the citations and fines that requires apparently the participation of local law enforcement. And they've been a little more reluctant to move forward with anything more than what they call education for folks who are violating the public held orders. Speaker 1: 02:46 So the County can issue a cease and desist order, but it's up to local law enforcement agencies to enforce it. Speaker 2: 02:53 Yeah, that seems to be the crux of it. It's, it's still a little murky in terms of exactly what the mechanics are there in of, you know, who needs to do an investigation and document a whatever wrongdoing there was. Uh, the County also has the ability to go one level higher and issue a closure order where they can just force a business to shut down immediately. Uh, and they did that, uh, earlier in the year, uh, with the El pres restaurant, uh, in Pacific beach that had a viral video, uh, spread across the nation of, uh, unmasked patrons, uh, partying in the restaurant bank back during the summer, Speaker 1: 03:28 Our law enforcement agencies in the County telling you about their willingness to issue fines and citations in regard to businesses and, and people who don't comply, Speaker 2: 03:40 We've spoken to at various different law enforcement agencies, uh, seem to feel that education is the more appropriate way to move forward with these issues. Uh, as, as they're reported by the public, you know, for enforcement, uh, there just doesn't seem to be a lot of desire to take it much further than that. Uh, you know, the sense is that these businesses are all hurting and, and in a, in a normal environment without a pandemic present, that they would be engaging in law abiding behavior. So, so I think that, you know, there's just some reluctance from, from a workforce that has made their entire careers going after a law breakers, uh, in a kind of a normal environment. So there is some pushback there for sure. Speaker 1: 04:21 And meanwhile, a number of San Diego businesses are challenging the COVID restrictions in court. What's their argument. Speaker 2: 04:28 Their argument is that a, these regulations infringe on, on certain constitutional rights and B, uh, that the County has been, um, hit and miss in terms of enforcement. This started with, uh, several adult clubs here in town that pursued a similar request for an injunction, uh, a few weeks ago and, and managed to, uh, to get a ruling last week. And so the idea there is just that, uh, you know, you need to be completely consistent. They pointed to some other businesses that were allowed to have live entertainment throughout the city. Uh, and so, um, so there's kind of a two-pronged argument infringement on basic rights. Uh, also, uh, an uneven inconsistent, uh, enforcement. Speaker 1: 05:09 And so the adult clubs who were successful in their case, Speaker 2: 05:12 Uh, so far, they have another hearing scheduled for November 30th. Uh, but they were indeed, uh, successful in getting a temporary injunction to stop the County from enforcing its cease and desist orders that were issued against those clubs earlier when they, uh, when they were found to have had a live entertainment going on inside. Speaker 1: 05:31 What about the status of the lawsuits these other business have against the COVID restriction Speaker 2: 05:37 That, uh, that hearing was to take place today on Tuesday. Uh, but yesterday was a move to Thursday with no explanation. Uh, so we should, we should hear a preliminary hearing, uh, on Thursday to decide whether those plaintiffs will, uh, be victorious and, and be somewhat exempt from cease and desist orders, uh, going forward. Tell us more Speaker 1: 05:58 About this stricter measures. The governor has put into place to try to stop the surge Speaker 2: 06:02 Yesterday. The governor came out and, uh, announced that additional counties throughout the state would, uh, would fall a two your immediately, uh, some of which had only had one week of, um, case rates, uh, that were outside of the thresholds for the current tiers that they were in. So now we have suddenly 41 counties across the state in the purple tier, which is where we as a, as a County where San Diego landed last week. And so, uh, you know, that is kind of the main change that the governor made yesterday, just moving very quickly to drop people down to, uh, many of them, the lowest purple tier, which requires businesses, restaurants, uh, houses of worship, you know, movie theaters, and such to do only outdoor operations. And then in addition to that, you know, the governor has talked about things like curfews, you know, he hasn't really said much defeat, uh, about exactly how a curfew might work in California, but he said he's, uh, studying up on it as we speak. Speaker 2: 07:03 Uh, and then, uh, additionally, uh, they're also talking about how, uh, they're still trying to come up with some good guidance statewide for there to be athletic competitions, especially youth athletic competitions. Uh, the governor said yesterday that he had literally signed some guidance finally, that everybody's been waiting for. And then that was put on hold by the surge of cases that we've seen across the state. Uh, so that really is a major setback for folks who are currently, uh, traveling out of state for athletic competitions to States like Arizona or more direct competition is loud. Speaker 1: 07:36 And are these tighter measures being adopted because the state believes COVID case numbers are going to get even worse. Yeah, Speaker 2: 07:43 They, uh, they talked a lot yesterday about what they're seeing in the, you know, in the trajectory of the numbers. Uh, you know, our case rate and in California is still, I believe under 5% and it's, uh, it's much higher in other States, uh, many in the Midwest that have seen, uh, you know, significantly larger percentages of a test coming back positive. I was looking at the numbers on the, uh, South Dakota public health website last night. And their positivity rate is for tests is over 20%. Uh, so we're, we're nowhere there yet. And the state's, uh, whole rationale is, you know, we don't want to get there. Yes. When you put our positivity rate up against others, it's still low, but we're seeing a rate of increase that's, uh, you know, something like 51% increase in a single week in early November. So there, the idea is, you know, that the slope of that line is steeper than it was, uh, in the spring and early summer when we saw our last big spike. So we know that, uh, that tells us that we need to get more strict right now to avoid that peak that we know is coming. Speaker 1: 08:40 I've been speaking with San Diego union Tribune, reporter Paul Sisson, Paul, thank you. Thank you. We'll have more about the challenges facing young athletes because of COVID later in our show, this summer hundreds of San Diego wins were among the test subjects for the COVID vaccine developed by Moderna. Now their efforts have paid off with the company reporting. The vaccine is more than 94% effective against the Corona virus. This news comes a week after drug company. Pfizer announced a 90% effective vaccine and both successful trials come, not a moment too soon, California and the rest of the country are experiencing the biggest surge yet of the virus. Officials say the increase in cases will probably get worse in the weeks to come joining me as KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina Chatwani. Shalina welcome. Hey, glad to be here. Tell us about the differences and the similarities between the Moderner and Pfizer vaccines. Speaker 4: 09:48 Sure. Um, so let me give you a little bit of background. These are novel types of vaccines that haven't been done before at this level, there have been some preclinical and clinical trials to show their promise. These are M RNA vaccine. So we have vaccines that are pretty common, that we know about one, you know, where you get a little bit of the germ or virus that's put into your body to initiate an immune response. Um, it's just enough to get that immune response, but not to make you sick. And then there's another type that uses a specific part of the virus like proteins or sugars. They go into the body. They're not as strong, but they require booster shots. So those are a couple, right, but M RNA vaccines use genetic information, not the actual infectious material like the other vaccines. Once this type of code is injected, it asks cells to build whatever antibodies or immune responses needed to fight off the disease. Speaker 4: 10:40 That's why it's called messenger RNA. So the pro is that these are very safe because they don't have the actual virus. So Pfizer and Moderna have made both of these. But the main difference between the two is that Pfizer's version has to be kept at extremely cold temperatures. So we're talking colder than winters in Antarctica, minus 70 degrees Celsius, but Moderna is, has to be capped at around minus 20 degrees Celsius, just like your common refrigerator. These are the key differences that could impact how these vaccines are distributed because Pfizers could require some special technologies to keep it, um, at the proper temperature for transportation, Speaker 1: 11:22 The Moderna vaccine reported great success at the end of its phase three clinical trial, what has to happen now for it to get FDA approval? Speaker 4: 11:31 So I believe that Moderna is already taking the steps to present the vaccine and its data to the FDA to get approval. And, you know, the experts that I talked to say that at least for emergency use authorization, which is a type of fast-tracked approval made for serious circumstances like frontline workers, hospital nurses, um, essential workers might need to get access to a vaccine more quickly than other people in the population. That's what emergency use authorization is for it's a fast-tracked approval, so that I think could happen, you know, in the coming weeks to a couple of months. Um, but for the vaccine and total to be distributed, it probably has to go through a few more safety protocol steps with the FDA and more revision of the data doctor tells Zack's, which is the chief medical officer from four Moderna had told CNN earlier this week that he does think that he could start to get millions of doses out. By the end of the year, Speaker 1: 12:33 We said that in the United States, we expect to have 20 million doses. Speaker 4: 12:37 And remember we have, you know, 300 billion plus people in the United States. So it's going to take longer. And that's the point that San Diego immunologists Carl were made. I spoke to him, um, this week he's from the Sanford Burnham previs medical discovery Institute. Speaker 3: 12:54 It's going to take probably at least six months to a full year to get enough people vaccinated that we might be able to see, you know, really come out of this dark tunnel infection. Speaker 1: 13:06 Do we know how long an immunity from either of these vaccines might last Speaker 4: 13:11 In my conversation with where that was sort of the unknown point, right? So we are still sort of new at these vaccines and with coronavirus in general, it's a, you know, the virus can mutate. And so it might require another version of the vaccine, but it's, it's unknown, right? With influenza. We have to get different shots every year because there could be a different strain, but with coronavirus, it's so new, um, that it's still unclear to scientists, how long immunity will last with either of these particular vaccines. You know, it's too early to tell until the vast majority of the population is vaccinated. Speaker 1: 13:53 And in addition to these two vaccines, are there other vaccines in the pipeline? Speaker 4: 13:58 There are other vaccines that are going, that have hit phase three clinical trial. Um, one that we hear about a lot is the one from AstraZeneca, the university of Oxford, um, they were in phase two phase three clinical trials, but they did experience a safety concern with one of their participants. They got past that they're continuing their, their data work. Um, but they're one of a handful of companies that are working on the vaccine right now, and that have made it to the stage of data collection. Um, so there are other vaccines in the pipeline. Speaker 1: 14:33 Okay. I've been speaking with KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina Chatwani Shelina. Thank you. Thank you. Speaker 3: 14:51 You're listening to KPBS Speaker 5: 14:52 Midday edition. I'm Mark Sauer with Maureen Kavanaugh. It was a case that commanded headlines for months back in 2002, Johnny Turner, two years old, went missing. His stepfather said they were at a neighborhood park. He left the child for a minute to go get him something to drink. And he vanished the boy's mother learned the news while serving in a Navy ship. The case was never solved. Joining me is Dana Littlefield and editor with the San Diego union Tribune, whose interview with Jay, his mother, Tamika Jones was published over the weekend. Dana, welcome back to midday edition. Hi, thank you for having me. Well, this is a tragic and complicated case, but start with when the news broke, uh, what was the stepfather's story and the mother's reaction? How did the police and the public react to this missing child? Speaker 6: 15:40 This happened when there had been another high profile missing child case just a couple months earlier back in 2002, that was the case involving Danielle, Danielle Vandam, who was seven years old and was kidnapped from her bedroom in Sabre Springs, in another part of San Diego. And so the public, I believe was already, you know, edgy about these types of cases. Now you have a two year old who has gone missing, and people mobilize very quickly to get out and search for him. The search was massive through the neighborhoods. There's a park where the stepfather said, um, the boy had been playing before he turned his back and walked to go get something for the child to drink. Nobody came up with anything, John, he was just gone. Speaker 5: 16:33 And what did the police conclude about what happened back at that time? Speaker 6: 16:37 Very soon, they began to suspect the stepfather tirade Jones Jackie's mother to Mika Jones had been deployed that week. So this was an April, 2002. The boy was with his stepfather. Um, it was Thursday of that week that Tamika got the call from her, then husband saying that her child was missing. And so they brought her back and of course she was unimaginably distraught, but she stuck by her husband at the time. And she believed his story, but the police did not. His, his story was that he had walked away, uh, to get the child to drink and then came back to the area and Johnny was gone. Um, they never arrested him. They never made an arrest. And actually it wasn't until 14 years later that they actually did arrest him. And he was later charged with, Speaker 5: 17:37 Right. It was a cold case all that time. And I wanted to do us a step back and ask you, uh, why did you do the story now? 18 years later with Tamika Jones, does it have special meaning for you? Well, I did the story Speaker 6: 17:50 Because she was ready. He was ready to talk. She was ready to tell her story back in 2002, she had anti Ray had given a couple of interviews, very brief interviews or media, appearance, appearances. Uh, however you want to describe them. Um, mostly at the urging of police. Um, and so all over that time, you know, during this time where she and her then husband, they had another child, she went back to the East coast. Um, she was haunted as you can. Well, imagine by these questions about what happened to her boy. And also during that time, she felt like she didn't get to get her story out there, her point of view and explain what she had gone through and what her true feelings were. And a year after the trial ended in a deadlock, she felt like that was the time to speak. Speaker 5: 18:50 That brings us up to, to this time. Now you also interviewed Maura McKenzie Parker, the detective assigned to the case. She gave you some insight in how these cases can evolve over time. It was a cold case for a long time. Tell us about what you learned from her. Yeah, Speaker 6: 19:04 Mo Pardot was a San Diego police department, detective, uh, she's retired now and she was involved in the Daniel VanDamme case that was in February of that year, 2002. And then she went right into the investigation, uh, in the Johnny Turner case was, which was just a few months later, her main tasks or one of her main tasks in the beginning was to, um, make contact with the mother, with Tamika Jones to question her, to find out, you know, what was going on, what led up to this disappearance. Um, but the way Mopar guy described it to me in our interview is that, you know, understandably Tamika just really wasn't ready to open up. She was upset. She was angry. She was very angry. And from to Mika's perspective, it looked like they, the investigators were spending all of this time with her and not looking for her boy later on Mo parka made contact with Tamika again, after, um, Tamika had separated and eventually divorced her husband and Mo Parker was instrumental in taking the case off the shelf, so to speak. And so she was the one who kind of gathered the troops again to start looking into this case and start talking about it and take it to trial. Speaker 5: 20:31 And tirade Jones was arrested in 2016 prosecuted in the next couple of years after that. Why do you think the verdict went down the way it did? It was a difficult case, as you say, there was no a victim's body here. Speaker 6: 20:44 So you had a case where there was body. There wasn't a huge amount of, you know, evidence that was different in 2014 or 2016 than there was in 2002 jurors heard all of that evidence. Entira Jones testified in his own trial and he, he remained steadfast in that he did not harm this boy in the end, the jurors deadlocked were not able to make a unanimous decision on the charge he was facing, which was murdered. Speaker 5: 21:19 Now, what about Tamika Jones? What's she doing now? How has she come to grips with what happened to her little boy? Speaker 6: 21:25 She's a different person now in that, you know, she has gone back to school. She has, you know, obtained her, her college degree. She works at the university of Maryland. What was interesting to me about that was the way she framed. It was that she was trying to make herself stronger, better, better positioned in life so that she could be ready when her son came home. And for my younger son that I, um, love and care for and who is my reason for standing up straight at this point, that's, that's somewhat how she put it. Um, so she clung to this belief for all of these years, that jockey was going to come home. She says now that, um, you know, she realizes that that's probably not the case that that's highly unlikely. Um, she understands, she heard all the evidence in trial. She understands that no job he has probably deceased. Um, but she's still a mother. And there's just part of her that just won't let that idea that, that tiny idea that maybe just, maybe he somewhere out there Speaker 5: 22:40 And we should note ya. He turned would have been 20 years old. Now I've been speaking with Dana Littlefield of the San Diego union Tribune. Dana, thanks very much. You're very welcome. Speaker 5: 23:01 Well, it looks to be quite a change after being represented by the same Republican supervisor for 25 years, residents of San Diego county's district one will soon have a new representative who is a Democrat district. One is the Southwest portion of the County and includes the county's second largest city. Chulavista Nora Vargas is president of the Southwest college governing board and work as an executive with planned Parenthood for 20 years. And nor of Argus joins me now welcome to midday edition. Well, first off you're ahead by more than 30,000 votes yet, not all votes have been counted. And your opponent fellow Democrat, Ben waySo is not yet conceited, although a incumbent gray Cox called and congratulated. You what's the status of the district one race in your eyes right now? Well, you know, it looks really, Speaker 7: 23:46 Really good. Um, after two years of really hard work, um, I think that, uh, we, uh, the voters have made a decision. Uh, the actual, uh, election will not be final until December 2nd, but the probability of, of the changes, any other changes happening are very slim to none. So I think we're, we're in a really good place. Um, and we are now in a transition process. Speaker 5: 24:09 Now you'll be the first Latina on the board of supervisors. How do you feel about that? Speaker 7: 24:13 I am extremely humbled and I'm honored to have had the trust of the residents of district one and for all their support, I have no doubt that I'm going to fight for them, you know, representation matters. And I really do stand on the shoulders of so many, uh, community activists and leaders in our community. And, uh, the, you know, the people that came before me that really created this opportunity to, so someone like me could actually be a candidate and win in this school. Yeah. Speaker 5: 24:42 District has been one of the areas hardest hit by coronavirus in our County. Uh, what are your goals when it comes to addressing this pandemic and recovering from the economic impacts? Speaker 7: 24:52 So, yeah, so actually, you know, throughout the campaign, after the primary, when COVID hit, um, you know, I really made sure that we hit the ground running as a campaign and we used all of our resources to help our community. And so I heard firsthand, uh, from our community what their needs were. And so mitigating the impacts of COVID is going to be absolutely a priority for me. As a matter of fact, this week, I'm meeting with County health experts, um, on COVID to make sure that we, that I have all the information that I need as we're, as we're entering this new phase. But I think the County has a responsibility to invest in our communities. Uh, they have done some testing and some contract tracing, but I think there's more work to be done. Testing has to continue to be a priority. I think that we have to figure out a way to partner up with small businesses so that we can make sure that they have the relief that they have. Speaker 7: 25:39 They can, they can get I'm nervous about the different holidays that are coming up. I think it's very natural for people to want to come together, but I think that we need to make sure we continue to communicate with folks that it is in our best interest for us to make sure that we're maintaining social distances, that we are continuing to use our masks, that we are taking care of each other. And, you know, healthcare access is a huge issue in district one. The disparities, uh, have been real for decades. And so working together with community clinics and, uh, with our community to find out how we better address how of this is going to be one of my priorities Speaker 5: 26:15 Outside of Corona virus. What are your priorities as one of five members of the County board of supervisors? Speaker 7: 26:21 I mean, I think that mitigating the impacts of the Coronet virus is really a big priority for me. And although there's a lot of issues that we need to address until we have a healthy community, it's going to be tough to move forward. But I think, um, parallel to that I think is going to be the work around health disparities, addressing health disparities and the inequities. So really making sure that we have the data that we need to be able to forward. It's going to be a priority that the quantum river Valley sewage issue is a big one for us in our community. Want to make sure that the County addresses this immediately. So working with my colleagues, I think it's going to be critical that we declare this a public health care crisis of this is really an important issue for all of us. Speaker 7: 27:02 And it has been impacting the community for years. Access to childcare is another big issue for, for us in our communities. As we're trying to, we talk about economic prosperity and how do we recover? I think the County needs San Diego really needs to invest in strong economic recovery plan. That includes childcare infrastructure. And so working with my colleagues on that issue is going to be important to me. In addition, you know, all the work that I will be doing really is going to have this component of our families first. And how do we make sure that the communities of district one have what they need to be able to, you know, basic needs that they need to be able to continue to move forward. And so I will be releasing my family's first initiative in the next couple of weeks to make sure that, that we are advancing Speaker 5: 27:45 The first time in memory, Democrats will have a majority on the County board. How do you think the change from Republican to democratic control will affect the direction of the board Speaker 7: 27:55 That, you know, you have between supervisor lag, Tara loss of memory and supervisor made them Fletcher? I think that we, our vision or the County is really one where we are ensuring that our families come first, that working families have what they need, that we, our environment is a priority, right? Uh, climate action. We don't have a climate action plan. I think those are the issues that we're going to be addressing head on, uh, as we move forward. Uh, I want to make sure that our County employees understand that we have a very different vision of what, where we're going and what we want to do. And so I think that there's a lot of work that we're gonna be doing together. And really, I think what's important is that our values are very aligned. I would say, uh, in that we want to make sure that our communities have what they need to make sure that they're thriving in the County of San Diego. Speaker 5: 28:41 Uh, you've given your cell number out and encourage residents to call or text. What kinds of messages have you gotten? Speaker 7: 28:47 A lot of messages of hope, a lot of messages. Um, you know, I, English is my second language, so I speak Spanish. And so I get a lot of conversations with a lot of our community members, older gentlemen and ladies from our community, seniors who are checking in with me and letting me know that they have concerns. Um, some of the issues around homelessness, some of the issues, you know, in our shelter communities, um, they have questions. They just really want to make sure that they have a representative that's responsive and that's going to be there for them. And so I'm committed to doing that work. I it's what I've done as an elected official at the community college. And so I really do pride myself in being transparent and accountable to my constituents and someone that people could reach out to. You know, I, I always say I don't have the answers, all the answers, but I, what I do have is, you know, a willingness to listen to folks, um, to address and how we, you know, address of these issues. So I'm excited about it and, and people are so respectful of just not, you know, bombarding me with stuff and they've been able to follow up. And it's a great, it's been great. I've been speaking with Nora Vargas who looks to be the new supervisor for district one in San Diego County. Thanks very much. And congratulations. Thank you so much. [inaudible] Speaker 4: 30:08 COVID-19 restrictions have kept youth athletes from being able to get out and play for many graduating high school athletes. This means college and scholarship opportunities have vanished KPBS, North County reporter, Tonya Thorne talks to an Oceanside soccer team about what they're doing to get those opportunities back. Speaker 8: 30:28 I'm not sure how this is going to end up, but they've really lost a lot of valuable time. Speaker 4: 30:33 Frank Zimmerman coach for the Oceanside breakers was unable to lead his boys team of high school juniors to defend their 2019 state cup championship due to COVID 19 restrictions for the 16 to 17 year old boys. This is a pivotal moment where college teams begin to scalp players without the ability to compete players. Like [inaudible], can't get those opportunities. Speaker 8: 31:00 They're really looking forward to national cup. We were defending champs back in 2019, and you know, um, we could have been exposed to a lot of colleges now that we're juniors and Speaker 4: 31:10 California's COVID-19 guidelines allow conditioning, practice and training, but no competition outside of teams defined practice cohort Speaker 8: 31:21 Playing locally is not allowed even playing with one of our breakers teams against another ocean side. Breakers team is not yet allowed. They have to stay in their cohort. However, it is allowed in other neighboring States, Speaker 4: 31:34 Sporting events have been held in Arizona and Nevada and Utah Zimmerman plans on making the trip to Arizona with his team Thanksgiving weekend, even though California has issued a travel advisory, telling people to quarantine, if they go out of state and return, Christian, Miguel, Roy and Oceanside breaker is looking forward to playing in front of college coaches. When his team travels to the Arizona tournament, Speaker 8: 32:00 We just want to play, and we not love a lot of play in California. So whenever you get a chance, it'll be good Speaker 4: 32:06 With the restrictions on competitive play sports clubs throughout San Diego are struggling to keep running. Bob Turner, executive director of Presidio soccer league says that impacts some players more than others. Speaker 7: 32:19 The kids with money are going to be able to play. They can afford it, but the underprivileged kids that have been helped and scholarships, aren't going to have those scholarships. They will not have them. And now again, the direct effect is to those kids. Speaker 4: 32:34 Coaches, Turner in Zimmerman said the lack of competitions in sports also impacts the mental health of players who just want to play. They miss competing with each other against other teams, and they haven't got to do that since March 13th and perform March 13th. Youth sports opens the door to college for many athletes with no ease of restrictions in sight players like [inaudible] will need to work with their coaches to find the opportunities to get them exposed to college and pro recruiters. Oh, I've been playing the sport since I was four. And yeah, it's something I do want to play professionally, hopefully. And I look forward to like getting Scottish one day and like, not just making my dreams come true. Tanya thorn KPBS news. Speaker 1: 33:22 This story was produced with support from the economic hardship reporting project, Speaker 9: 33:26 Correct. Speaker 1: 33:37 This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Mark Sauer restaurants are scrambling to figure out how to offer their regular Thanksgiving meals to customers outdoors or at home. In fact, San Diego restaurants, who've never offered meals specifically geared to the holidays are trying to promote special takeouts for Thanksgiving. It's all part of an industry. Try to use creativity and perseverance to survive multiple Corona virus shutdowns. We'll hear what's available this holiday and catch up with the struggles of local restaurants with Troy Johnson, food writer for San Diego magazine. And Troy Speaker 9: 34:17 Welcome. Thank you or rain. It's a, it's an interesting time to be here. Speaker 1: 34:21 It certainly is. Now, you know, w we, we think of the holidays as home celebrations, but actually many restaurants are traditionally booked solid for Thanksgiving. Aren't they? Speaker 9: 34:34 Yeah. Restaurants traditionally the numbers oscillate, but usually it's about 10% of the American public goes out and decides that doing dishes is just no longer a tenable option for happiness and goes, and does Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant? Well, 10% of Americans, that's a huge amount of people that would flood into these restaurants and they'd be booked out for weeks. It's one of their big boom economic contributors for the year, especially heading into a slow season. You know, this is the winter time is the slowest season for restaurants. Traditionally, the two things that keep them afloat are Thanksgiving dinners and then Christmas parties and at new year's Eve parties. Now those are all going to be out this year. So restaurants are really counting on this Thanksgiving to kind of buttress the coffers, Speaker 1: 35:21 Right? Are restaurants offering special Thanksgiving packages of try to lure people either into the restaurant or to, to buy food from the restaurant? Speaker 9: 35:32 Yeah, everyone has reinvented themselves. Every single restaurant tour is now a caterer or an off premise supplier. You talk about on-premise or off-premise in this industry, right? On-premise as you go to eat at a restaurant, you have drinks and food off premises catering, and to go orders and that sort of thing. Well, that sector that to go sector is doing amazingly well. They're having banner years. What's really struggling are the higher end restaurants, which depend and are completely built around around that dine in experience of the beautiful chandelier and the nice carpet and the good art and everything else. Those guys just weren't built for this kind of outdoor dining or to go. They are absolutely reinventing their business. I mean, you're seeing, you know, George's, um, which is one of the better restaurants in San Diego. They're doing a three course meal for a really reasonable price, like $75. You have, you know, um, places that really have never even done Thanksgiving dinners, offering them to go. They are all turning into banks, giving to go centers right now. Speaker 1: 36:28 Can anybody actually get a Thanksgiving meal delivered to their home? Speaker 9: 36:33 Oh yeah. I mean, there are a lot of places doing, uh, um, delivery. You can get almost every single one of these places that are doing the packages to go. You can also get through either third-party vendor apps or they will, they have their own delivery system. Some of them will deliver themselves. Most of them use a third party app. You can get all these, you know, June at Julian campfire up in Carlsbad, um, are doing a three course meal, like 10 pounds smoke roasted bone in beef, short ribs and things like that, that you can get delivered to your house or go pick it up curbside delivery. Speaker 1: 37:05 You've given us a sort of a feel for this, but I want to ask you specifically, what is the status of San Diego's restaurant industry now that we're in a second shutdown of indoor dining? Speaker 9: 37:16 It's not good. I mean, it's, it's one of the most catastrophic things to ever hit our industry. You know, depending on the stats that you look at, Yelp has predicted that 60% of small businesses will close the in the national restaurant association in September said that we've lost about a hundred thousand restaurants. The year over year decline from in 2020, from 2019 is about 35.24%. Now, when you're talking about an industry that makes a 6% on average profit margin, meaning every dollar that comes into the restaurant, they get 6 cents that 35% dip in revenue is absolutely catastrophic. We've already seen some clothes, just assumptions, San Diego's, you know, better restaurants, more beloved restaurants, uh, smaller ones. It's the, I don't want to paint total doom and gloom. The good thing about this is that restaurant tours had, that have been able to survive. I've talked with so many that are adapting their businesses. Speaker 9: 38:15 They are streamlining their businesses. High-end places that never even wanted to do to go our learning, how to do, to go. They are rethinking what was really a non-profitable sector or really hard sector to make a living in restaurant profit margins are notoriously bad. And because of this they've to become caters, to go and really streamline their businesses and only offer things that re carry well that are, you know, um, different menu options. They've never even served because they were just doing dine and only, you know, a lot of restaurant tours say this has actually been as long as they survive know really good for the long-term financial success. Speaker 1: 38:58 So you think that some of these changes are forcing fundamental changes in the restaurant industry, for Speaker 9: 39:05 Sure. Absolutely. And one thing that I love as somebody who's observed restaurant cultures, I think that it's, it's a bread and empathy among restaurant diners that we've never seen before when there was the advent of online reviewing, and I'm not going to name anyone to accompany specifically, I'm just saying online review sites became caustic. They became so vitriolic really, or you would see somebody, you know, review a restaurant. And it was just a small mom and pop. And they said, Oh, he showed up on a Friday night with seven people and they wouldn't let us in, but we saw a table in the corner. It's like, you showed up on a Friday night without a reservation. He couldn't get in. And now you're giving this restaurant a one-star review on this website that really drastically affects their business. It'd become a culture of bullying, small entrepreneurs and mom and pop business owners. And I think now everybody's got that everybody is chilled out as a diner. They're not as critical. They don't think their opinion, um, or their, their harsh criticism is as valuable anymore. And they realize that these are real human beings who are working on a small profit line, just trying to keep themselves and their people employed. So I think it's just seeing a nice suffocation of our industry, which I think has been long overdue. Speaker 1: 40:23 You know, there are an awful lot of San Diego, so you're absolutely right. Uh, that would want to support the restaurant industry, but they too are struggling financially and can't be going out or ordering out for food every day. So what would you suggest that we can do to help local restaurants survive? Speaker 9: 40:42 Most important thing is to take care of your family is to pay your bills. We're all hurting it to a varying degree. You know, you have to take care of your own and make sure that your you and your family are okay. And if you don't have the money to go out and support these restaurants, that's okay. What you can do though, is keep the conversation going. If you do a top 10 dishes that you want to go eat again, or places that you love, you know, somebody who may be in a better financial position right now to be able to support these restaurants may see that and go, I'm going to go support that restaurant. You know? So I think if you just continue the, you know, this is the place that I'd love to support. This is the reason why I love this restaurant online, or just even your friends, whatever it is, and an email, or, you know, you can continue the conversation going, cause these guys definitely need so much help. Speaker 9: 41:27 The worst thing about this whole COVID and Corona virus is that it affected places that were really keeping us together, restaurants for all their unprofitability or the one thing that got us off our phones brought us together face to face and kept our community together. And now they, because being together is what's, you know, putting America and the world in danger, they're the ones affected the most. So, I mean, it's, they are far more important to the health of a local community than you can ever imagine. You know, businesses are born and restaurants, you know, uh, families are born of restaurants, relationships are started, friendships are started, whatever it is, you know, and we don't have that anymore. Any of us who've sat at home, you know, and isolated ourselves with maybe a loved one for loved ones or your solo now are now seeing that vast importance of getting together in a group. Speaker 9: 42:19 So anything we can possibly do, one thing I'd like to add about Thanksgiving is I would urge people to think non traditionally, you don't think about Turkey this Thanksgiving, maybe there's a small ramen shop down the road that, you know, you, you're going to have a ramen Thanksgiving. And this you'd know it's a small mom and pop who could use your help. Don't necessarily just think about Turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce. You know, think about international dishes, think about anything you can do find that local place that you think really needs a little boost. And if you have the means, and if you're able to do it, you know, do a totally non-traditional ramen or sushi or Mexican or Italian, or, you know, Eritrean, you know, Thanksgiving dinner, you know, that would really help. Speaker 1: 43:09 I've been speaking with Troy Johnson, food writer for San Diego magazine. However you celebrate joy, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thank you so much. You too, as well for a list of some of the San Diego County restaurants offering dine in or take out options for Thanksgiving, go to our website, kpbs.org, and an update and a segment. We brought you yesterday about cooking Thanksgiving dinner at home. Our guests said that defrosted cooked Turkey bones are poisonous. Now, according to the U S department of agriculture, it is true that under cooking a Turkey can lead to serious foodborne illness as can leaving leftovers out too long, but we can find no source stating frozen Turkey bones if cooked properly are poisonous. So if you have any questions about your food safety for your Thanksgiving dinner, call the USDA meat and poultry hotline at (888) 674-6854.

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Some San Diego businesses are calling foul on be placed back on restrictions following a surge of the coronavirus in the region. They are vowing to defy closure orders. Plus, news of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine’s efficacy gives hopes of things returning to normal. Also, meet Nora Vargas, a Democrat who will be presententing San Diego County Supervisor District 1 — the first time in 25 years the seat is not held by a Republican. And, nearly 20 years later, how 2-year-old Jahi Turner died was never fully solved. Finally, how you can help local restaurants during Thanksgiving while staying safe inside.