COVID-19 reopening update one year later, new City Council goals

Dear Team Carlsbad,

Happy St. Patrick’ Day! It’s been one full year since March 17, 2020 when the city temporarily suspended all in-person, non-emergency services and declared a local emergency, following what was the first of many San Diego County public health orders. Here we are, 366 days, 76 employee updates and more than 150 City Manager Updates later.

This past year has also come with many kudos for how our staff has continually served the community throughout this pandemic. Thank you, Team Carlsbad!

Reopening update

It’s been four months since we’ve been back in the red tier, meaning more businesses can reopen for in-person services. Many of you have questions about what this means for the city’s plans, and I want to reassure you that although we are working on reopening plans, we have not set a date for changing the way services are delivered or changing the status of our facilities.

We are first making sure we have all the right resources and protocols in place. This includes giving employees time to prepare to return to the workplace. We also recognize that until schools are fully reopened, some employees may have child care needs.

I don’t have all the details yet, but I think it’s safe to say we will take a phased approach to returning to work at city facilities, allowing some level of remote work to continue in most cases. With so many types of jobs here at the city, different departments will have different needs and plans.

Your department directors will keep you updated on specifics for your area. If you have questions, concerns or ideas, please share them with your supervisor so they can be considered as plans are developed.

I know it’s been a year full of changes. Now, we will face new changes as things begin to return to normal. We are committed to making this transition as seamless as possible, with your health, safety and peace of mind our top priority.

Thank you for everything you have done over the past year. Moving toward reopening is an exciting step, but one we will take thoughtfully and together.

Don’t let your guards down

Our first day in the red tier happens to fall on St. Patrick’s Day. However tempting it may be to celebrate with friends, now is not the time to let your guards down. We’ve made it this far- let’s continue to follow best practices, including:

  • Avoid crowds

  • Cover your face

  • Wash your hands

  • Keep you distance

  • Get vaccinated as soon as you’re eligible

Vaccination update

The pace of reservations during the latest round of vaccine appointments was considerably slower, which is a great sign. It means most eligible city employees who want to be vaccinated will have had at least their first shots by the end of this week. Eligibility dramatically expanded on Monday, including everyone 16 and up at higher risk from COVID-19. This includes many common conditions, including asthma, high blood pressure and being overweight. You can see the full guidance on the county website.

City employees are not required to be vaccinated. The CDC, State Department of Public Health and County of San Diego Public Health Officer highly recommend getting vaccinated as a way to not only protect yourself but your families and the community. There are many myths and misunderstandings about COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC’s website is a good source of information about vaccines.

Employee cases

Since my last update, we have had only one new employee case of COVID-19 and no new workplace exposures.

City Council goals

We wrapped up our final City Council goal setting workshop last week, and City Council has chosen its top priorities as part of the city budget for fiscal year 2021-22.

The four goals are:

  • Reduce the homeless unsheltered population, among those who want help, by 50% within five years (and provide quarterly progress reports until the city hits that goal)

  • Engage the community through a citizens committee to create a new plan to manage growth in Carlsbad in a way that maintains an excellent quality of life.

  • Bring the city’s Fire Department into conformance with Standards of Cover evaluation, a comprehensive review of fire and emergency medical services that identified the need for additional staffing and facilities to address the city’s changing demographics and development patterns.

  • Conduct a facilitated City Council workshop to work on team building and City Council communication and an ethics ordinance to support the delivery of superior public service.

Read more about the City Council’s goals and some specific objectives. Kudos to all our amazing staff who prepared for these workshops and for the work you’ll do to develop work plans that reflect these goals into the budget.

Mandatory training

The deadline to complete your mandatory sexual harassment prevention training is quickly coming up on March 31. Please check your email for a message from with the unique link to your training.

Some employees are also required to complete a mandatory ethics training by March 31. If you are assigned this training, the email also came from, so please check your email.

Once again, I want to acknowledge this year has been full of changes, and I’m grateful to roll with them together as a team. We’ve put together this video showing some of the sights and sounds from the past year, including your amazing efforts to keep city services going, even under some very unusual circumstances.

I have no doubt that we’ll come out of this stronger and more resilient than ever as a team and organization! And that’s because of you!

Miss my last update? Read it here.