News Briefs for Point Loma-Ocean Beach: COVID-29 restriction updates, crisis directory and more

A sign at Shelter Island Shoreline Park informs visitors that the park is temporarily closed due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
(Savanah Duffy)

Port closes parks, beaches, boat launches until further notice

To minimize the spread of and exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19), the Port of San Diego closed public parks around San Diego Bay, including Kellogg Beach, Shelter Island Boat Launch, Shelter Island Shoreline Park, Spanish Landing Park (beach included), and Harbor Island Park. For a full list and updates, visit

The closings went into effect March 24 and are consistent with the County of San Diego’s amended public health order.

“Closed” signs are posted and Harbor Police are working to educate the public about what is and isn’t allowed. Public access walkways, sidewalks and promenades are open to allow exercise — walking, running, and cycling — which is permitted under the State of California’s current stay-at-home order, as long as a distance of six feet is maintained between people who aren’t part of the same household.

Public restrooms on the bay will remain open and continue to be cleaned by the Port.

The Port’s Administration Building, 3165 Pacific Highway, is also closed. Those with Port-related requests may call or e-mail the Customer Service Center at (619) 686-6200 or or submit a request via the Port’s Service Portal at

For updates on the Port’s response to COVID-19, visit

Council member Campbell compiles crisis directory

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the office of City Council member Jennifer Campbell put together a District 2 Master Directory to serve as a one-stop shop for information about Peninsula restaurant hours, District 2 staff and links to government information about COVID-19. The document can be found at

Campbell encourages the community to consider joining the #D2LunchBunch or #D2DinnerCrew to support local restaurants and small businesses with an order or a gift card purchase to help them during this time of need. Questions? Call Josh Coyne at (619) 236-6992 or Jordan Beane at (619) 890-1902.

MTS reduces trolley, bus service levels

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) reduced its bus and trolley service 25 percent on Monday, April 13 to address record-low ridership while still providing critical service for essential workers and trips. Though no routes will be discontinued, 70 percent will see reduced span and/or frequency.

Trolley service will continue on a normal weekday schedule on the Orange and Sycuan Green Lines (15 minutes most of the day). UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley service will revert back to pre-January service levels (seven-and-a-half minute frequency in the peaks, 15-minutes in the non-peaks).

Normal weekend service will continue.

Additional changes include a new, rear-door boarding policy to increase distance between passengers and bus operators. Seniors and people with physical disabilities are still allowed to board using the front. MTS will no longer accept cash payments on buses to further limit interactions with bus operators. Passengers are required to purchase a fare either through the Compass Cloud mobile ticketing app ( or a ticket vending machine.

On buses, visual inspections will take place and passengers will be asked to show their Compass Card or Compass Cloud mobile fare upon boarding. On Trolleys, all fare inspections will be conducted on station platforms. For more information, visit

Small business owners can apply for Paycheck Protection Program

Beginning in April, small businesses can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll. These loans are federally backed, and will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75 percent of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll).

Applications are available through any existing SDB 7 (a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. For more information, visit

Direct questions to District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry’s office at (619) 236-6611 or e-mail

DMV helps senior citizens with expiring driver licenses

California Department of Motor Vehicles announced that during the COVID-19 pandemic, residents ages 70 and older with a driver license that expires from March 1 to May 31, 2020 are provided a 120-day extension. Eligible drivers will receive a paper license extension in the mail.

Also, due to an Executive Order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 30, those with safe driving records whose last DMV visit was 15 years ago will not be required to renew in person for the next 60 days, and will be able to renew online or by mail.

The order also temporarily waives required in-person renewals for identification cards.

More news: The DMV now offers Californians the option to use its online services to request a duplicate driver license if theirs was lost or stolen and does not expire within 30 days. A duplicate costs $30.

Reach the DMV through its call center at (800) 777-0133. All online services can be found at Additionally, the Virtual Field Office at can now process title transfers and complex vehicle registrations.

Arts District Liberty Station presents Virtual First Fridays

To keep the community connected with the arts despite the stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Newsom, Arts District Liberty Station in Point Loma premiered a Virtual First Friday earlier this month. While onsite dining is banned in the state due to emergency regulations, a variety of eateries at the station are offering food and drink to-go, curbside pickup and delivery options.

During the previous Virtual First Friday, one had the opportunity to watch a live animation class with FX Dojo, dance with San Diego Ballet, explore virtual art galleries at the Women’s Museum of California, learn more about installations artists Jason Lane and Miki Iwasaki, and more.

The next Virtual First Friday is set for May 1. For more information, visit

YMCA offers free virtual memberships

The YMCA of San Diego is offering their first free virtual fitness challenge. The challenge is to compete with other Y members from across the nation to complete 600 activity minutes in 30 days. Participants will use YTRAAK, the YMCA’s online tracker, to log workouts and healthy meals. Additionally, partakers get to interact with each other. To start the challenge:

1. Sign up: Create a free profile at YTRAAK ( using code STAYHEALTHY. Pick your team. (Go Team California!)

2. Workout: Use any of the partners listed at for free access to in-home workouts or design your own.

3. Track and win: Log your workouts, and help your team get the most points.

To claim free access visit any of the partner pages listed at Some partners require you to create an account. You do not need a YMCA membership to gain access. Start streaming!

United Way launches emergency assistance to help pay for bills

United Way of San Diego County has created an emergency Worker Assistance Initiative for low-wage workers who need immediate support for utilities and rent/mortgage payments due to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiative is part of the greater San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund launched March 16. To apply for assistance, visit

United Way will leverage $1 million made available by SDG&E in its existing Neighbor-to-Neighbor program to help pay energy bills for workers in need. UW also has $250,000 in seed capital from SDG&E and the San Diego Foundation (with plans to raise another $750,000-plus) to help low-wage workers.

Community members, foundations and companies can also make donations at

To volunteer or donate relief items to organizations in need of support, go to

Ruben Valenzuela honored with Chorus America award

Chorus America has announced the recipients of its 2020 awards program, recognizing a broad range of achievements in choral music. Ruben Valenzuela, artistic director of Bach Collegium San Diego — operating out of All Souls’ Episcopal Church, 1475 Catalina Blvd. — has been awarded the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal. (See related story “All Souls’ music program seems to lift everyone’s spirits.”)

Ruben Valenzuela, artistic director of Bach Collegium San Diego — operating out of All Souls’ Episcopal Church, 1475 Catalina Blvd. — has been awarded the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal.

The Botto Award is given periodically to a mid-career choral leader who, through his or her work with a member ensemble of Chorus America, has demonstrated innovative action and entrepreneurial zeal in developing a professional or professional-core choral ensemble. In naming Valenzuela as its 2020 recipient, Chorus America noted: “Valenzuela has worked tirelessly to make professional early choral music a vibrant part of the San Diego community. Establishing Bach Collegium San Diego in 2003, he has steadily expanded the musical activities and capacity of the organization through a focused vision and a commitment to developing a savvy presence both locally and digitally.”

Humane Society, Project Wildlife open during pandemic

The San Diego Humane Society (SDHC) remains open during the coronavirus crisis for adoptions, relinquishments, vaccine services and fostering — but by appointment only. Community spay/neuter services are temporarily suspended, according to a press release: “to decrease non-essential services to the public so we can concentrate our resources on emergency care and our shelter animals.”

Call (619) 299-7012 or drive up to any of its campuses and make an appointment from your vehicle.

Project Wildlife also remains open. Those who find hurt or abandoned wildlife during the pandemic may bring the animal to the Bahde Wildlife Center at 5433 Gaines St. Additionally, Humane Law Enforcement Officers are still responding to emergency calls. Find more details at

— Compiled by Savanah Duffy from local reports.


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