The VOICE of the Family Owned-Businesses Issue 57

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Issue 57

Executive Board Of Directors Firas “Russ” Soro Executive Chairman

Mark Kassab Vice Chairman

Remon Mansour Treasurer


Steve Mattia Secretary

Samir Salem Past Chairman


Chairman’s Message: A Changing Of The Guard

Basil Zetouna Executive Member


President’s Message: Celebrating Unity In Our Diversity


Q&A With New NMA President, Marlon Oram Mansour


San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria: NMA is Strong Voice Of Independent Businesses


NMA Endorses San Diego District Attorney

Ghassan Namou Executive Member

Molly Sylvester Executive Member

Rony Georges Executive Member

Summer Stephan For Re‐Election

Saeed Somo Executive Member


Sam Attisha Executive Member

Wisam Moshe Executive Member Executive Advisory Members Jason Rowe Anheuser‐Busch

Karam Toma Southern Wine & Spirits

Robert Wolf PepsiCo President Arkan Somo

NMA Endorses San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond For Re‐Election


NMA 25th Annual Awards Banquet

14 2021 NMA Annual Charity Poker Tournament 16 Q&A On New County Tobacco Ordinance 18 New California Vaping Tax Begins In 2022 18 Minimum Wage Increases In 2022 19 Legislative Updates 20 Over 14,000 ABC License Renewal Fees Waived 21 Technology Can Help Ease Labor Shortage 22 A Quick Guide On Covid‐19 Sick Leave Rules

General Counsel David C. Jarvis

24 FDA Cracks Down On Vaping Marketing

25 Efforts To Reduce Credit Card Swipe Fees

The Voice is the official publication of Neighborhood Market Association.

27 Anheuser‐Busch Signs On As A Truage™ Sponsor; Additional Tests Planned

To advertise, please contact Wallace Lynch at 619‐313‐4400 or




ince the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, each of our lives have been greatly impacted in both direct and indirect ways. The NMA is very proud of the tremendous strength and determination of our members and supporters. Despite the many challenges presented with the pandemic, our members and supporters have not wavered in their strong commitment in supporting local businesses and the NMA’s core focuses. Without this continued and sustained support from every one of you, the NMA would not be able to thrive. Throughout these tough times, we have each been tasked with adapting to new obstacles and landscapes and have succeeded. We have stood united in the face of many changes. We have learned to adapt to new protocols and a new environment. Now, the NMA faces a changing of the guard. We salute the tremendous work of our fearless leader Arkan Somo, whose tireless efforts to restore the NMA back to greatness cannot adequately be put into words. In 2018, Arkan answered the call and rebuilt the NMA. Arkan now passes the torch to the next generation of NMA leaders. We now welcome Marlon Oram Mansour as the new NMA President. Marlon comes from a strong NMA lineage. His father, Muayad Oram, was a guiding light to the organization, and helped ensure its initial rise and subsequent success. Marlon’s youthful exuberance and passion will help the NMA expand and grow in its successes. His background and varied knowledge provide him the necessary tools to ensure the NMA’s success. I look forward to seeing what the next chapter of the NMA holds and what new heights can be achieved. We thank you for your commitment and support.

Firas Soro Executive Chairman

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rederick Douglass once said, “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.” That is exactly what the NMA has done especially over the past few years.

On July 27, 1982, I came to San Diego and became one of the thousands of newly arrived immigrants who would struggle for a few years with the new culture, new system of government, and finding my way around. I spoke fairly good English at the time, which I know some of you will still disagree with 38 years later, but what I remember most about back then that I have not heard over the last 10 to 15 years is the phrase, “America is a melting pot.” It took me few years to really understand the deep meaning of that phrase. Once I understood its magnificence and the true depth behind it, I fell in love with the phrase despite its contradiction. Presently, today’s society focuses primarily on a group of persons’ skin color, ethnicity, or their religious creed. It’s unfortunate and also sad to see our country going back in the wrong direction. We all agree that America is great and good. To celebrate our unity, we only need two things, LOVE and SERVICE. If you claim you love your family, your community, and your country yet, every time they ask for your help, you are busy, that love is hollow. For us to unite as a family, as a community, and as country, we must love and serve each other. NMA members do that every day. They don’t just sell milk, bread, and beverages; they are an important part of the fabric of our community. For those who call us the little guys. It was the little guys who built this country, and it is the little guys who are building these giant corporations. Make no mistake about it; it will be the little guys who will unite us because they recognize that our diversity is our strength. If you could reflect on the people in your life that matter most to you, think about how you can demonstrate your love for them by your service.

Arkan Somo President

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The Neighborhood Market Association has been rebuilt. Now, the NMA awaits the transition into its next chapter. The possibilities for this new chapter of the NMA are endless. To learn more about him and his vision, The Voice met with the NMA’s next President, Marlon Oram Mansour, in late August.

Q Marlon, what do you currently do for work?

A Just before I turned 16, my dad’s health deteriorated.

A I work as a Deputy City Attorney in the San Diego

I then began to work to help support my family. I worked a few jobs, working in a family-owned liquor store (Newport Farms Market) and a hotel. I worked at the hotel for over 5 years, ending as Assistant General Manager when I was 20 years old.

City Attorney’s office, prosecuting crimes. I was recently reassigned to the Domestic Violence and Sex Crimes Unit of my office, which are the types of heinous crimes I’ve wanted to help prosecute.

Q One of the four Pillars of the NMA is to maintain

Q What connection do you have with the NMA?

Strong Government Relations. What relevant experience do you have that you can bring to the NMA?

A My late father, Muayad Oram, was key in the early A I’ve always had an interest in following politics. I days of the NMA. He was a lifelong member, served as an studied Political Science at SDSU. The summer before I started law school, I helped canvass for a PAC focused on small businesses in the 2016 primary election.

Executive Board Member, and was a retailer of the year recipient. He loved everything the NMA stood for.

Q Why are you so passionate about the NMA?

Q When will you be taking the helm as President of the

A Ever since I was a kid, I remember attending annual


A September 16, 2021.

banquets with my father and brother. The NMA has always held a special place in my heart. But beyond that, to me, the NMA supports tremendous hard work and brings people together for a common good. My parents and their families came to America with little more than hope and a hard work ethic. They were able to succeed because of community support. The NMA helps bring that kind of community support. I want to help continue the NMA’s vision.

Q What is your vision for the NMA? A Under Arkan Somo’s leadership these last 3 years, the NMA has made tremendous strides. I plan to continue the NMA on its path of success. My vision is to continue to expand the NMA, add new members, ensure the success of our current members, and think of both new and refined ways to help our members succeed in this ever-changing world and climate.

Q The NMA has business retailers and suppliers as members. What’s your experience, if any, in business?

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want to start by thanking the NMA. I really value and appreciate my relationship with this organization and Arkan Somo. Over the years, we've been able to develop a strong relationship, which I believe works best for our small businesses. With the reopening of our economy, we're embarking upon a new world where I think we can all agree that we want to do better than we did in the past. Here are a couple of observations I would like to share. First, we need to proceed with a lot of patience and grace over the next number of months. Through perseverance we’ve overcome the worst of it together and we now have one of the highest vaccination rates in the state of California. I know an organization like the NMA that values both Republicans and Democrats. The fact that we were able to pass our recent city budget on a unanimous bipartisan vote speaks to the fact that our values at city hall and those of NMA are aligned at simply moving the city forward.

council and our city hall is focused on small business recovery thanks to the leadership of council members. We’ve put over 12 million dollars in this new city budget for small business relief. We realize the pandemic isn't over. We must continue to support our small businesses. To the NMA, my door will always be open for you. As we figure out how to ensure that we can innovate and grow our economy, I would like to continue getting input from the NMA on the things that we can help combat together for the quality of our city.

Lastly, these are the points I want to share in terms of vision. First, I want you to know that as the voice of small businesses in San Diego, our

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District Attorney Stephan leads the second largest DA’s Office in California, managing a professional staff of 1,000 employees, serving as the People’s Prosecutor for all of San Diego County and its over three million residents, which are spread throughout cities and communities from the U.S.-Mexico border to the Riverside County line. The DA utilizes her nearly three decades of experience to set public safety priorities, leverage and collaborate with law enforcement and the community, to maintain San Diego County as one of the safest urban regions in the United States.

s. Stephan has devoted her life to protecting children, families, and providing justice to the voiceless and most vulnerable. She is a national leader in the fight against sexual exploitation and human trafficking and has served as a Deputy District Attorney in San Diego County for 29 years. Summer Stephan has combined extensive courtroom experience with over 15 years of management and leadership experience. She rose through the ranks to appointments as Chief of the DA’s North County Branch and Chief of the Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Division, a Special Victims Unit she pioneered. DA Stephan received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Davis and her Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. She completed the “Driving Government Performance” Executive Education Course at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

As a trial prosecutor, Summer tried more than 100 jury trials, including cases of complex homicides, sexually violent predators, child molestation, sexual assault, school shootings, and human trafficking. DA Stephan is a leader in advancing public safety through a smart, fair, and equal criminal justice. She brings solutions to complex issues through her unique data-driven and common-sense approach that goes beyond a one-size-fits-all mentality. She leverages innovations in crime prevention and restorative justice practices. She believes in investing in and building healthy lives and communities that disrupt prison pipelines while preserving public safety.

In 2012, she was appointed Chief Deputy District Attorney. In 2017, she was appointed District Attorney. On June 5, 2018, voters overwhelmingly elected Summer as District Attorney. She has been named the 2017 Southern California District Attorney of the Year by Crime Victims United.

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upervisor Jim Desmond is the San Diego County Supervisor for District 5. Jim previously served as mayor of San Marcos from 2006-2014. For two years prior to mayor, Desmond served as a San Marcos City Council member.

North County program at California State University San Marcos. In the 1990s, he founded, managed and sold Technical Standards, Inc., a technical writing and document company. Desmond also served as a San Marcos Chamber of Commerce Board Member.

In addition to his supervisor duties, Jim is the chair of the SANDAG Regional Transportation Committee. Supervisor Desmond also serves as a Board Member of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Supervisor Desmond is a US Navy Veteran. He earned a degree in Electrical Engineering from San Diego State University and completed the Leadership

A resident of San Marcos since 1992, Desmond was active in the community, serving as the first parentteacher president of Twin Oaks Elementary School. He is a member of the San Marcos Kiwanis Club and serves as a board member of the San Diego and Imperial County Boy Scouts of America. Supervisor Desmond and his wife of 32 years, Kerri, reside in North County.

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CELEBRATING UNITY IN OUR DIVERSITY NMA 25th ANNUAL AWARDS BANQUET n June 25 , 2021, the NMA held its 25th Annual Awards Banquet at the Town & Country Resort Convention Center in San Diego. The theme of the event was “Celebrating Unity in Our Diversity”. This year’s anniversary commemorated a pivotal time when we're coming out of the global scale pandemic, reopening our economy, and embarking upon a new world as Mayor Todd Gloria said in his speech at the banquet.



NMA was honored to host over 300 attendees consisting of elected officials, government agencies, community leaders, retailers, and suppliers for the first time since the face mask and social distancing mandates were halted. It was a memorable night with spectacular music. All the attendees enjoyed a fivecourse dinner, open bar, fantastic cigars, and a superb cocktails after-party. The event started with the Pledge of Allegiance. Leading the pledge was San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott.

City of El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells lead the invocation prayer and blessing of the gathering.

The NMA Executive Chairman Mr. Firas Soro made his welcoming remarks by thanking all attendees. Mr. Soro expressed his gratitude to NMA’s dedicated retail and supplier members as well as all dignitaries and community leaders. His heartfelt remarks recognized those retailers who continued to serve our community during the pandemic. Mr. Soro also thanked the NMA executive board, NMA President Arkan Somo, and staff. Mr. Soro then presented NMA‘s 25-year history video.

The National Anthem of the United States of America was performed by Sgt. Alicia Mclaughlin from the Police Department of Chula Vista. Sargent McLaughlin has been with the Department since October 2004, and won various awards such as, Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 2007 and Save Driving/DUI award in 2013.

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BASIL ZETOUNA: NMA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD The NMA Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Mr. Basil Zetouna by NMA President Arkan Somo, in recognition of his leadership, vision, commitment and dedication to the NMA’s growth since its inception. Basil came to the United States in 1978 with a few hundred dollars in his pocket and the American dream on his mind. He was able to purchase his first business in 1993 and grew it into four very prominent stores. In 1995, Basil was one of the founding members of the NMA and continues to be one of our biggest supporters. Basil has served as a past chairman and is currently on the executive board. Basil is a great husband, father, grandfather, and friend.

JOHN BAZZI: NMA RETAILER OF THE YEAR The NMA’s Retailer of the Year award was presented to Mr. John Bazzi by 2004’s retailer of the year and past chairman Mr. Samir Salem. John Bazzi has been a member of the NMA since 1995. John purchased his first retail business in 1984 and has been going strong ever since. John and his wife Nahla have five children together. A 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus, John strives his helping his family’s success and contributing to the growth and accomplishments of the community.

SAN DIEGO CASH & CARRY: NMA SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR This year’s Supplier of the Year Award was presented to San Diego Cash & Carry by Jason Rowe, of 2003 Supplier of the Year, Anheuser-Busch. San Diego Cash and Carry is a wholesale and distribution business that was established in 2004 and serves all of San Diego County. San Diego Cash & Carry was originally founded by Eashou Markos Mansour and is now operated by his children. The Mansour family has grown into two cash & carry businesses and two distribution companies. The family is most proud of their work with St Peter Chaldean Church. Their actions in the community and industry really define what the NMA stands for, and we are honored in having them as the Supplier of the Year.

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MAYOR BILL WELLS: NMA PUBLIC OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR The Public Official of the Year award was presented to City of El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells by NMA President Arkan Somo, on behalf of 2003 Public Official of the Year Congressman Darrell Issa. Mayor Wells was first elected to the El Cajon City Council in 2008 and appointed Mayor of El Cajon in 2013. Mayor Wells and his family have called east county their home since 2002. He and his wife have three children and two grandchildren. Mayor Wells has received numerous honors for his work within government and is a mental health professional.


The Excellence in Law Enforcement Award was presented to Chula Vista Police Department Chief Roxana Kennedy by 2020 winner, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. This award is for her outstanding leadership in the fight against crime and maintaining the safe and secure community environment during the unprecedented pandemic. Chief Kennedy has been in law enforcement since 1992 and was appointed Chula Vista Chief of Police in 2016. Chief Kennedy rose through the ranks under various assignments until becoming Chula Vista’s first female lieutenant and then the first female Chief. Under Chief Kennedy’s leadership, the Chula Vista police department has grown with technological innovation

and made headways in providing a safer place to live within the city of Chula Vista.

ABC DIRECTOR ERIC HIRATA: NMA CHAIRMAN’S AWARD NMA Executive Chairman, Mr. Firas Soro, presented the Chairman’s Award to Director of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Mr. Eric Hirata, in recognition of his exceptional dedication to protect the public, and for proactively working with all licensees to comply with California ABC rules and regulations. Mr. Hirata has been with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) since 1996 and was appointed director in July 2020. The ABC is an important part of our industry and our community, and Mr. Hirata has worked to maintain a strong balance between compliance with laws and ensuring the rights of our members and the general public are protected.

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PRESIDENT’S REMARKS The NMA’s journey through these first 25 years is much like the journey of every family-owned business: filled with ups and downs and overcoming unforeseen obstacles thrown against you. There have been so many things that I’ve learned in this pandemic: the extraordinary strength and resolve of the American people is chief among them. But one of the other big things I learned is how much there will always be a need for the NMA, as a voice for small and independent businesses. But this need is never more apparent than when there is uncertainty. When the government lockdowns began, many grew fearful of what would happen in the wake of a new landscape, filled with new laws and an unpredictable environment. The NMA stepped in to assure its members at the time of crisis, inform them of the ever-changing laws and regulations, and advocate for their interests when many attempted to negatively impact small businesses. As the economy is slowly rebuilt, we Americans lean on the independent small businesses as engine drivers for jobs and the economy. I want to thank each one of you for your continued support for small businesses and the NMA. To our elected officials, retailers, and suppliers, we could not do a fraction of what we do without each of you. The NMA could not persist and succeed through difficult times such as these without your continued and unwavering support. I am ecstatic to see what the NMA’s next 25 years of growth and success will bring to the community.

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY: NMA PRESIDENT’S AWARD Mr. Arkan Somo presented the President’s Award to one of our newest partners, National University. National University is a veteran-founded nonprofit, dedicated to providing accessible, affordable, achievable higher education opportunities since 1971. As San Diego’s largest private nonprofit university, they offer over 75 online and on-site programs and flexible fourweek classes designed to help students reach their goals while balancing busy lives.

Since its founding, it has grown to over 25,000 students and 180,000 alumni around the globe, dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students.

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NMA EXECUTIVE BOARD AND STAFF SWEAR‐IN CEREMONY San Diego County’s newest elected judge, the Honorable CJ Mody, led the NMA executive board and staff to perform the swear in. Judge Mody noted, “the NMA and family-owned businesses are one of the most dedicated to serving their community which makes our country great.”

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NMA would like to thank all the attendees! We are looking forward to seeing you at the NMA’s upcoming Annual Banquet in March 2022!

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2021 NMA ANNUAL CHARITY POKER TOURNAMENT On this 21st night of September, the NMA hosted its annual Charity Poker Tournament at the Jamul Casino. On a sweltering summer night, 200 players vied for the grand prize, a gorgeous brand-new Rolex (courtesy of Babylon Jewelry). Numerous guests also attended to watch the highly contested tournament.

Coronado Mayor and Congressional candidate Richard Bailey both attended and participated in the tournament.

The 1st Place Winner

Tamer Alfakhoori

Ammar Campa-Najjar, a candidate for Vista Mayor, came out in show of Chula support of the NMA. The 1st place winner, Tamer Alfakhoori, won the grand prize Rolex. There were many winners, but most importantly, thanks to the wonderful show of support, the NMA raised money to help support one of our many The NMA Board will present charities. charity checks at our annual banquet.

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Coronado Mayor and Congressional Candidate

Richard Bailey

Chula Vista Mayoral Candidate

Ammar Campa-Najjar


– Special THANKS to the tournament’s Co‐Chairs Ghassan Namou, NMA Executive Board Member, Remon Mansour, NMA Treasurer, and Naseem Salem, NMA Emeritus Director

And to all the retailers, suppliers, and sponsors for supporting the NMA charities.

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Beginning July 1st, 2021, the San Diego County’s newly enacted tobacco ordinance came into effect, impacting many local retailers. There are active legal challenges to combat this ordinance and other similar ordinances in California. In the meantime, The Voice sought to learn more about this new ordinance and its requirements:

Q First, what geographic areas does this law impact?

Q When are inspections supposed to begin?


A The County says unannounced decoy operations and

The law impacts retailers operating in the

Unincorporated areas of San Diego County.

inspections will begin in October 2021.

Q What are some new requirements for tobacco sales? Q Can my 19-year-old employee sell tobacco products? A The new law has many new requirements. Below A Yes, employees 18-20 years old may sell tobacco products without any supervision. If an employee is under 18 years old, they can only sell tobacco products if they are under the continuous supervision of a person 21 years of age or older.

are just some of them:     

Tobacco products must be in their original packaging For cigars costing less than $10 per cigar, they must be sold in a package with at least 6 cigars Also, the price for a package of cigars must equal at least $5 per cigar Little cigars or cigarillos must be sold in a package of at least 20 little cigars The price for these packages of little cigars or cigarillos must be at least $10

Q I sell many tobacco products at my stores, and there seems to be so many new requirements. What are the penalties if someone makes a mistake and violates this law?

A After the first violation within any 5-year period, your

Q I keep hearing about applications for a new Tobacco

license will be suspended for 30 days. A second violation within any 5-year period results in a 60-day license suspension. The third violation within any 5-year period will result in a 90-day suspension. A fourth violation within any 5-year period will cause your license to be revoked.

Retail License: can you explain what that is?

A Tobacco retailers must be licensed by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. You should apply for this license ASAP. Starting in 2022, licenses will be limited based on proximity to other licensed retailers and based on the number of licenses already given. The County has created a maximum of 330 licensees. If there have been 330 licenses handed out by the end of 2021, no more licenses will be given starting 2022.

Q If I wanted to know more information about the full rules and details of the ordinance, where should I go?

A Please scan this QR code or go to the following url for all the new rules

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NEW CALIFORNIA VAPING TAX BEGINS IN 2022 Amid concern over widespread teen vaping, Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a new 12.5% excise tax on electronic cigarettes to be paid by California consumers to boost public health and education programs.

including those used in electronic cigarettes, but that measure is on hold because the tobacco industry qualified a referendum on the law for the November 2022 ballot. The new tax money is to be split among several programs, including early childhood education, public health education and grants to students from disadvantaged communities pursuing an education in the health field.

The aim of the legislation is to discourage vaping by minors and bring taxes on e-cigarettes more in line with levies on other tobacco products, said state Sen. Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), who authored Senate Bill 395.

The NMA is opposed to this legislation. California already has a wholesale tax on vaping products that penalizes at the distribution level. Imposing a double tax on California consumers who use less harmful vapor products will only drive more Californians to smoke much more deadly cigarettes.

The senator said making vaping devices more expensive will reduce the number of purchases by those younger than 21. The new tax comes a year after the governor signed legislation to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products,

The new law is effective July 1, 2022.

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES IN 2022 The City of San Diego minimum wage is set to increase from $14 to $15 per hour on January 1, 2022. The California state minimum wage will increase to $13 per hour for employers with 25 or less employees, and to $14 per hour for employers with more than 25 employees.

The State of Nevada has a two-tier minimum wage system based on qualifying health benefits being offered to employees. For the period covering July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, the minimum wage rate will be $8.75 per hour if the employee is offered qualifying health benefits, and $9.75 per hour if the employee is not offered qualifying health benefits.

In Arizona, the minimum wage is set to go up by 65 cents to $12.80 per hour in 2022.

“The Unintended Consequences”

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L E G I S L A T I V E U P D A T E S AB 654: The State recently passed this bill. The California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 authorizes the


Division of Occupational Safety and Health to prohibit the performance of an operation or process, or entry into that place of employment when, in its opinion, a place of employment, operation, or process, or any part thereof, exposes workers to the risk of infection with COVID-19, so as to constitute an imminent hazard to employees. Current law requires that the prohibition be issued in a manner so as not to materially interrupt the performance of critical governmental functions essential to ensuring public health and safety functions or the delivery of electrical power or water. Current law requires that these provisions not prevent the entry or use, with the division’s knowledge and permission, for the sole purpose of eliminating the dangerous conditions.

AB 37: Recently passed law makes permanent the measure to send a vote-by-mail ballot to every active registered voter for elections. AB 1041: Would expand the population that an employee can take leave to care for to include a designated person. The bill would define “designated person” to mean a person identified by the employee at the time the employee requests family care and medical leave. The bill would authorize an employer to limit designation of a person, as prescribed; recently ordered to Inactive File at The Request Of State Senator Wiener.

AB 397: Requires the EDD, prior to disqualifying an individual for unemployment compensation benefits and subjecting that person to a period of ineligibility, to provide notice to the individual of the proposed determination. The bill would authorize the department, after certain conditions are fulfilled, to issue a final notice of determination to the individual that includes specified information, including the number of weeks for which the individual is ineligible for benefits and the individual's right of appeal.

AB 45: Recently passed law creates framework for manufacture and sale of hemp products, establishes a registration requirement for hemp manufacturers, and requires testing and certain labeling and advertising restrictions on hemp products. AB 61: Recently passed law to provide for a period of 365 days following the end of California’s state of emergency for the COVID pandemic that the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) may permit licensees to exercise alcohol sale privileges in an expanded license area. This new law remains in effect through July 1, 2024.

SB 788: Governor Newsom recently vetoed this bill. Current law establishes a workers’ compensation system, administered by the administrative director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, to compensate an employee for injuries sustained in the course of employment. Current law requires a physician who prepares a report addressing the issue of permanent disability due to an industrial injury to address the cause of the permanent disability in the report, including what approximate percentage of the permanent disability was caused by other factors before and after the industrial injury. This bill would have prohibited consideration of race, religious creed, color, national origin, age, gender, marital status, sex, sexual identity, sexual orientation, or genetic characteristics to determine the approximate percentage of the permanent disability caused by another factor.

SB 314: Recently passed law allows continued alcohol beverage sales in some outdoor dining establishments. The law also makes converted outdoor parklets permanent while making it easier to serve alcohol. This new law remains in effect through July 1, 2024. SB 389: Recently passed law permits continued sale of togo cocktails beyond temporary COVID order. This law remains in effect until Dec. 31, 2026. AB 123: Governor Newsom recently vetoed this bill, which would have revised formulas for the family temporary disability insurance program, operating under the state paid family leave program.

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L E G I S L A T I V E U P D A T E S AB 190: Allows certain employees to use sick leave for any purpose, including to help an immediate family member with medical needs. Effective October 1, 2021.



SB 114: Allows manufacturers and food establishments to produce and sell foods and beverages that contain hemp products. Various effective dates through January 1, 2022.

HB 2045: Prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy or childbirth-related medical conditions.

SB 209: Allows employees to use paid leave for any purpose, including to participate in care giving or to address the health needs of family members. Effective immediately.

HB 2067: Regarding background checks, this law provides employer liability protections to employers of an employee who has been provided with a Certificate of Second Chance

SB 293: Bans employers from reviewing a prospective employee’s previous pay history to set a salary — aimed at closing gender pay gaps. Effective October 1, 2021.

HB 2773: to allow bars, liquor stores and restaurants to sell cocktails to-go, expanding opportunities for businesses across the state. The law goes into effect on Sept. 30.

SB 386: Requires employers in the gaming, hospitality and travel sectors to re-hire workers laid off in the pandemic to their old jobs, with certain conditions. Effective July 1, 2021, through end of COVID-19 emergency or August 31, 2022, whichever is later.

SB 1377: this law raises the burden of proof needed for anyone bringing a lawsuit against an entity for COVID liability, helping protect businesses from frivolous lawsuits.

OVER 14,000 ABC LICENSE RENEWAL FEES WAIVED SB 94, a California state bill passed in February of 2021, temporarily waived alcohol license fees in light of the COVID pandemic. The Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) recently announced that 14,569 ABC licensees have received waivers on their renewal fees. Now, the ABC reminds licensees to check if they are eligible for the fee waiver. SB94 directs ABC to waive renewal fees for liquor licenses that expire between March 1, 2021, and Feb. 28, 2023 -- as long as a license was active between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. The provisions apply to any business that manufactures, distributes or sells alcoholic beverages, which includes restaurants, bars, liquor stores, wineries, breweries and distilleries. The fee waivers end after Jan. 1, 2025. For more information on eligibility, and to submit your fee waiver online, go to the following:

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trend will increase the demand for this kind of automation, as restaurants begin branching off their digital order fulfillment into separate businesses, Wood explained.

Food-making robots and temp hiring apps help struggling operators in a tight hiring market. Restaurants are seeing an increase in in-person dining, even as digital orders for delivery and carryout are still going strong. Foodservice operators struggling to hire enough staff to meet the demand. Some restaurants have opted to use pizza-making robots to assemble pizzas once dough is prepared and then tops them with sauce, cheese and additional items.

“Ghost kitchens are selling either prepared food ready to eat or prepared food ready to cook—that food doesn’t need to be prepared in a restaurant, and that’s a real change,” he said. “Now you’ve got the opportunity to be producing much higher volumes much more efficiently than you can do in a restaurant, where you’re trying to do a really wide variety of dishes with a very small team.”

Without automation, it is difficult to fulfill high order volumes with consistent quality. And businesses that are not able to hire enough workers or incorporate automation miss the sales opportunity and risk frustrating hungry customers.

Other technology is helping foodservice managers provide services to customers help in a labor market crunch, reports CNBC. To tackle the ongoing foodservice worker shortage, some business operators have turned to GigPro, an on-demand hiring app, that helps him fill temporary positions, such as line cooks or dishwashers. Managers may offer higher pay for last-minute workers. For example, if a dishwasher’s typical hourly rate is in the $15 per hour range, the manager may offer to pay $20 per hour on GigPro.

In the past year, the number of and types of food preparation robots are growing. DoorDash recently acquired food prep automation company Chowbotics, and since then the company’s Sally salad-making robot has continued to expand to new locations. The ghost kitchen

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he past 2 years have brought on numerous law changes and new state and federal legislation changing the way employers and employees operate.

Several NMA members contacted the NMA looking for guidance on what has now become a common situation for employers in the COVID-19 landscape: what are the options for leave or disability from both the state of California and/or the City of San Diego if an employee has COVID? The Voice sought to learn more about this topic to help shed some light:  For employers with more than 25 employees, the state of California permitted full-time employees to receive up to 80 hours of COVID-related Paid Sick Leave. This leave expired on September 30, 2021. For employers with 25 or less employees, there is no COVID specific leave given to their employee.  Any employee can use their traditional accrued Paid Sick Leave for COVID illnesses. Employers cannot require their employee use their Paid Sick Leave.  The CA Employment Development Department (EDD) states employees with COVID may file for a disability claim to receive some short-term benefits for their lost wages. Employees need certification from a treating physician/practitioner or by a state or local health officer.  For COVID disability claims, Governor Newsom signed an executive order waiving the one-week unpaid waiting period for COVID-related disability claims. This waiver ended on September 30, 2021.  For more information and specific details, visit the following two links:;

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FDA CRACKS DOWN ON VAPING MARKETING The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to Visible Vapors LLC, a Philadelphiabased company that manufactures and operates a website selling electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products, including e-cigarettes and e-liquids, the agency reports.

“The FDA will continue to prioritize enforcement against companies that market ENDS without the required authorization and that haven’t submitted a premarket application to the agency—especially those products with a likelihood of youth use or initiation,” he said. While the warning letter cites specific products as examples, Visible Vapors LLC has more than 15 million products listed with the FDA and must ensure all products comply with federal rules and regulations, including the mandatory premarket review.

The letter advised the company that marketing new tobacco products, which lack premarket authorization, is illegal, and that the offerings cannot be sold or distributed in the United States. The firm did not submit any premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) for the products by the previously announced Sept. 9, 2020, deadline.

In the first half of 2021, the FDA issued 131 warning letters to firms selling or distributing more than 1,470,000 unauthorized products without submitting premarket applications. Retailers can check the list of warning letters on the FDA Warning Letters page to ensure they not are stocking products illegal to sell.

Zeller added that the FDA regularly scrutinizes the marketplace and will hold companies accountable for breaking the law.

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n executive order signed by President Biden was signed to address lack of payments market competition.

skyrocket, negatively impacting business owners who, to compensate for swipe fees, must increase prices. Banks that issue Visa and Mastercard credit cards charge merchants an average 2.25% of the purchase price to process transactions, according to the Nilson Report, a global news and statistics provider for the payment industry. Multiplied across millions of transactions each day, those fees more than doubled from $25.6 billion a year in 2009 to $67.6 billion in 2019.

“The clear message is that the Biden Administration supports competition across all sectors of the economy and wants to tear down barriers to fair and open markets,” said Doug Kantor, general counsel of NACS and MPC executive committee member. “Swipe fees charged by the credit and debit card industry are anti-competitive and harmful to Main Street businesses,” Kantor said. “With this executive order, we welcome action by the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, banking regulators and other agencies to bring an end to anticompetitive practices in the payments industry.”

When all brands of credit and debit cards are included, processing fees totaled $116.4 billion in 2019, up 88% over the previous decade, according to Nilson. Debit-card swipe fees are limited to 21 cents per transaction for the nation’s largest banks if they follow Visa and Mastercard’s fee schedules, but smaller banks can charge more. Card processing fees are most merchants’ second-highest cost after labor, and they drive up prices paid by the average household by hundreds of dollars a year. U.S. merchants pay the highest swipe fees in the industrialized world, more than seven times the 0.3% for credit cards and 0.2% for debit cards allowed in Europe.

Biden signed the executive order to establish a “whole-ofgovernment effort to promote competition in the American economy.” The order’s six dozen initiatives affect a wide range of industries but did not directly address swipe fee or card payments, but the lack of competition in banking was cited.

Credit card swipe fees remain one of the highest operating costs for convenience store retailers, according to NACS. Consumer preferences for more touch-free transactions and the coin circulation challenge in summer 2020 led to record debit and credit card usage at convenience stores. In 2020, 74.6% of all transactions were paid by plastic, and overall card fees paid by the convenience store industry were $10.7 billion.

Many decried the swipe fees pocketed by big banks. “The giant card companies and banks may be rejoicing that their scheme of fixing huge credit card swipe fees is paying off, but their gain is Main Street’s pain,” Kantor said. “We need competition to reduce swipe fees so bank CEOs aren’t the only ones celebrating.” In recent years, the lack of competition has allowed credit card swipe fees to

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NACS: ANHEUSER‐BUSCH SIGNS ON AS A TRUAGE™ SPONSOR; ADDITIONAL TESTS PLANNED TruAge™, NACS’ and Connexus’ new digital identification solution that enhances current ageverification systems and protects user privacy, has added pilot tests that will help bring the solution closer to broader rollout. In addition, Anheuser-Busch announced its participation in TruAge™ as a sponsor.

president of Better World at Anheuser-Busch. “We are excited to be working alongside NACS and other partners to expand access to innovative age-verification solutions to ensure every sale of our products is conducted responsibly.” TruAge™, developed by NACS and Conexxus, its standards-setting partner, makes the traditional carding experience more convenient and accurate. It addresses age-verification beyond the traditional store register to online ordering, home delivery and curbside pickup, which have grown in popularity during the pandemic.

Molson Coors Beverage company previously announced its sponsorship of TruAge™. Combined, Anheuser-Busch and Molson Coors Beverage Company represent 18 of the 25 top-selling beers in the U.S., including eight of the top 10 beers. “It is incredibly impactful that the two largest beer companies in the United States support TruAge™. This sends a powerful message that the licensed beverage community believes in our effort to ensure that we keep age-restricted products out of underage hands,” said NACS President and CEO Henry Armour.

“Our initial tests demonstrated that the TruAge™ solution works and works fast—posting verification that protects the cashier in a fraction of second. These additional tests are designed to pressure-test the convenience features as we move toward both stand-alone app-based solutions as well as solutions that can be folded into existing retailer apps. In both cases, TruAge™ provides the most effective, convenient solution to date to age verify customers quickly while protecting their privacy,” said Conexxus Executive Director Gray Taylor. TruAge is free to retailers, consumers and POS providers. Learn more at

“As an industry leader, Anheuser-Busch is committed to fostering a culture of smart drinking behaviors; we go the extra mile to ensure our consumers enjoy our products in a responsible way, that includes preventing underage access and consumption,” said Colleen Lucas, vice

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Supplier Directory BANKING Bank of America Ali Arman Bank of America Merchant Services Evian Anguis Hanmi Bank Nizar Dahdouh Neighborhood National Bank Nora Seiba BOOKKEEPING/ACCOUNTING SERVICES Cashuk, Wiseman, Goldberg, Birnbaum & Salem Wes Salem San Diego Business Advisors Steven Leibold Sontera Group Irina Tatarenko BITCOIN ATM Byte Federal Franco Higgins CHIPS & SNACKS Baja Jerky Dominic Purpura GRAPHIC DESIGNER Coyote Press Graphics Victoria Vinton ICE CREAM & ICE SUPPLIERS Blue Bunny Thomas Kazemeini San Diego ICE Company Anthony Toma INSURANCE SERVICES Nickie Heath Insurance Agency Nickie Heath Paul Diaz Insurance Agency Paul Diaz LEGAL SERVICES Law Offices of Gloria, Weber & Jarvis David Jarvis STratege Law Scott Scheper RESTAURANTS & RESORTS Jamul Casino Waleed Shorees Royal Palace Namir Mattia Sycuan Casino & Resort Lauren Morrow Town & Country Resort Alex Nath PRINTING & PUBLISHING PIP Printing Jay Levine SOFT DRINKS Pepsi Co Robert Wolf Trap Fuel Sassan Panahi TOWING SERVICES USA Towing & Recovery Basil Raffo UNIFORMS SERVICES UniFirst Jesse Dagget WHOLESALERS FOR GROCERIES, MERCHANDISE & TOBACCO PRODUCTS Altria Miguel Lopez Blaz CBD Bob Klein Hempacco Packaging Sandro Piancone Reynolds Chelsea Davis San Diego Cash & Carry Jeff Mansour Trepco West Al Paulus West Coast Hookah & Glass Remon Mansour WINE & SPIRITS SUPPLIERS Anheuser-Busch Jason Rowe Gallo Wine Steve Kozar IDG Wines Rodolfo Rubalcava Ranch Rider Spirits Andrew Baker Republic National Distributing Company Scott Blackburn Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits Neil Sorensen

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