COVID-19: Masks along the side of the road

Sara Chheng-To displays some of her in-van inventory, just outside Major Market this week/The Grapevine

Major Market becomes a masking hotspot

Look for the van with mask sign and flag/The Grapevine

Sara Chhng-To of Aspara’s Salon & Day Spa took her coronavirus layoff to heart by going into the masking business.

These days, she can be found from around noon to 5 p.m. daily at the northeast corner of the Major Market parking lot, 1855 S. Centre City Parkway, Escondido.

Chheng-To makes many masks hersef and brings in a varety of masks and shields from outside manufacturers, dealing them out of her van. They come in a variety of models and shapes with prices starting at $5 and going up to $20 for face shields as well as multi-mask packets.

Escondido Council approves ‘business recovery strategy’

Escondido Council members unanimously approved a business recovery strategy at their May 13 meeting. The plan allows for things like permit extensions, more and longer outdoor displays and sale events, the off-site sale and delivery of alcohol, repurposing off-street parking for restaurant carryout zones, temporary signage relief and more, according to the Coast News.

Council members were expected to revisit the plan at its next meeting to approve it as an Urgency Ordinance, which would allow the measures to be effective immediately. They will also consider extending the temporary moratorium on residential and commercial evictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The goal is to get on the road to economic recovery,” said Amber Tarrac, deputy director of economic development for the city of Escondido. “We wanted to allow some flexibility for businesses depending on what works for their model, and, as a city, we wanted to provide them with a variety of different options to choose from.”

CVS hits lucky 7 with drive-through COVID-19 testing sites

And the there were seven, San Diego County COVID-19 drive-through testing sites at CVS pharmacies. Sites ar scheduled to open Friday, May 22.

The company expects to open up to 1,000 such locations across the country by the end of the month, with the goal of processing up to 1.5 million tests per month, subject to availability of supplies and lab capacity.

A total of 14 test sites in California that are opening starting Friday are part of nearly 350 locations across 14 states, including Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Patients will utilize self-swab tests in their car while monitored by pharmacy technicians, who will provide the test kit and instructions. Tests will be sent to an independent third-party lab, with results available in about three days, according to CVS Health.

In San Diego County, the testing sites are at CVS pharmacies located at:

  • 7740 Rancho Santa Fe Road, Carlsbad
  • 16 3rd Avenue Extension, Chula Vista
  • 645 East Palomar St., Chula Vista
  • 1299 Broadway, El Cajon
  • 572 Fletcher Parkway, El Cajon
  • 14589 Camino Del Norte, San Diego
  • 3350 Palm Ave., San Diego

“While the large-scale test sites we’ve been operating since early April have proven successful, this new approach allows us to utilize our presence in communities across the country and bring testing closer to home,” said Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health. “Our frontline employees will continue to play a critical role in the testing process, with members of their communities directly benefiting from their dedication and selflessness.”

Patients must register in advance online

Tentative approval for San Diego County ‘Stage 2″ re-openings

The state of California has given the tentative go-ahead to San Diego County for in-dining restaurants, with modifications, and in-store retail, with modifications, to reopen.

Businesses need to fill out the county “Safe Re-Opening Plan” – available here – and post it publicly, share with their employees, and ensure compliance.

Helen Robbins-Meyer, the county’s chief executive officer, said Tuesday that the county meets Stage 2 acceleration criteria. According to the county, that criteria includes:

— Less than 5% of daily COVID-19 hospitalizations over a seven-day period or no more than 20 COVID hospitalizations on any single day in the past 14 days;

— Fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days or less than 8% testing positive in the past seven days;

— A capacity to be able to test 1.5 per every 1,000 residents and at least 15 staff per 100,000 county population trained and available for contact tracing, and;

— Hospital capacity for a possible surge of 35% of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 cases in addition to providing usual care for other patients.

What’s allowed, not allowed for San Diego County restaurants, stores

Restaurants and stores can now open to serve customers in person. However, they must follow specific guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Guidelines for dine-in restaurants are:

  • Temperature/symptom screening for employees daily
  • Employees with symptoms are not allowed to work
  • All tables need to be six feet apart or have barriers separating them
  • Signs need to be posted reminding customers to social distance
  • Employees must wear facial coverings
  • Customers must wear facial coverings except when seated
  • No self-service such as buffets, salad bars, soda machines, etc.
  • Encourage reservations
  • Expand outdoor seating

Before reopening, food businesses must fill and post the County Restaurant Operating Protocol. Additional guidance, posters and information for a safe reopening can be found on the page for restaurant operators website.

The County Department of Environmental Health continues conducting food safety status verifications to ensure compliance with the California Retail Food Code and provide guidance and education on the Health Officer Orders.

Retail shopping

Customers are allowed in stores, including malls, with the following requirements:

  • Post signs saying no employees or customers with COVID-19 symptoms should enter
  • Temperature/symptom screening for employees daily
  • Employees and customers must wear facial coverings
  • Limit number of customers to maintain six feet of distance

Businesses that have not done so already need to complete a Safe Reopening Plan, post it at their entrance and discuss with their employees. Retail businesses that have been providing curbside or front-door pick-up and will now be allowing customers indoors must update their plan.

The public or employees should not enter any business if they have symptoms of COVID-19, which include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or a new loss of taste or smell.

The plan was adopted because the County meets all the current readiness criteria and can safely move into an accelerated reopening.

As more places open to the public, it’s important for people to continue taking precautions to avoid getting and spreading COVID-19.

“Dining out and shopping must be done safely as crowded places increase the risk of exposure to COVID-19,” Wooten said. “People should continue wearing a face covering in public, maintain their distance from others, avoid touching their face and wash their hands frequently.”

While some San Diegans would like for more businesses to reopen and other activities to occur, the State has yet to allow the following to open:

  • Hotels, Airbnb
  • Gyms, fitness centers
  • Hair, nail salons
  • Beach parking lots
  • Sitting or lying down on the beach
  • Religious services, except funerals performed with social distancing

COVID-19 Testing, Cases and Deaths


  • 4,722 tests were reported to the County May 20, and 175 or 4% were positive.
  • 3.7% was yesterday’s 14-day, rolling average percentage of positive tests.


  • 175 new cases were reported for a San Diego County total of 6,315.
  • 1,183 or 18.7% of the total cases have required hospitalization.
  • 354 or 5.6% of all cases had to be placed in intensive care.


  • 11 more COVID-19 deaths were reported today, bringing the region’s total to 241.
  • Seven women and four men died, and their ages ranged from 51 to 100 years.
  • All but one had underlying medical conditions.

The number of active outbreaks, deaths and cases at nursing homes and other congregate living facilities are:

  • 73 active outbreaks, 50 at congregate living facilities and 23 in community settings.
  • 1,391 cases, including 119 deaths in congregate living facilities.
  • 299 cases, including five deaths in community settings.

More COVID-19 Information

The County’s COVID-19 webpage contains additional information on the disease, including a graph showing new positive cases and total cases reported by date. The data is also broken down by gender, race and ethnic/race group. An interactive dashboard with several COVID-19 indicators is being updated daily. For more information, visit

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