Del Mar adds more COVID-19 assistance for businesses

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

Del Mar City Council members approved a series of measures to assist local businesses that are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic during their Sept. 8 meeting, including an anonymous $20,000 donation to fund gift cards and cleaning of public spaces.

Half of the $20,000 will be used for gift cards that can be used at local businesses. The other half will be split between the gift cards and cleaning public spaces, with the breakdown to be determined by city staff and subject to council approval.

City staff worked with the Del Mar Village Association to determine how to use the donation.

Del Mar Mayor Ellie Haviland asked whether it was prudent to spend the money on outdoor cleanup services, which will include powerwashing of sidewalks and street furniture, given that the city could be dusted in ash from the wildfires that are ravaging the state. Council members postponed cleaning outdoor furniture and public spaces earlier in the pandemic, when they decided to focus city funds and staff time on essential operations only.

“There are all kinds of things that would promote coming to Del Mar, and so I just want to make sure, given our limited resources, that we maximize the benefit of this $20,000,” she said.

Council members ultimately decided to defer to the Del Mar Village Association’s proposed use of the funds, with the caveat that the council exercises some additional oversight over how much is allocated for street cleaning. DMVA will contract with the Urban Corps of San Diego to do the cleaning. DMVA considered the possible uses for the money during a recent board meeting.

“We could ask them to take a second look at some other ideas, but basically (we should) let them make the final decision, because otherwise it comes back to us and I don’t have the expertise and I don’t think we want to ask our own staff to vet all these things out,” City Councilman Dwight Worden said.

Some of the other COVID-19 relief measures approved by the City Council this week include increased subsidies for temporary-use permits and encroachment permits for business, which they need to expand their outdoor operations; loosening restrictions on signage that businesses are allowed to put in places such as public rights of way; and $2,500 allocation from the COVID-19 contingency fund for a “Dine on the Deck” pilot program on Thursdays at the Civic Center from Sept. 17 to Oct. 9 from 4-8 p.m.

“We’re also fortunate here in Del Mar that, because of the beautiful climate, nearly all of our restaurants already have an outdoor dining component in normal times, but we recognize that there is interest in further expanding the outdoor dining component and other outdoor business operations,” Assistant City Manager Kristen Crane said.