Del Mar extends COVID-related business assistance

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

The Del Mar City Council extended a series of measures intended to assist businesses through the difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The action was taken at the council’s March 1 meeting.

With those measures set to expire on April 6, council members decided to grant an extension through March 2022. The extension applies to COVID-related temporary encroachment permits and temporary use permits, increases of a business fee subsidy from $750 to $1,000, allowing two-way A-frame signs per business, and use of on-street parking for dining and other uses, among other measures.

Council members originally considered granting the extension through this September before pushing it through next March.

“A longer grace period is in order,” Del Mar Mayor Terry Gaasterland said, after a longer timeframe had been suggested by City Councilman Dave Druker. “I would advocate that it not be relative to when the public health order is lifted, but rather give business owners a time certain, recognizing that there may well be changes that have been instituted just like with other sorts of changes that have happened with COVID that we like and we want to keep.”

According to a city staff report, the city has been working with the Del Mar Village Association to help businesses that have been forced into closing or limiting their operations due to the pandemic.

“The whole idea is to help businesses,” Del Mar Deputy Mayor Dwight Worden said. “This makes some sense whether we extend it through the end of the calendar year with the understanding we’ll extend it again if need be or extend it to March right away.”

Before increasing it to $1,000, the city increased the business fee subsidy from $500 to $750. According to the city staff report, the city still has $5,521 in a COVID Contingency Fund that will be applied to the costs of the increase in the permit fee subsidies available to businesses.