La Jolla Business Roundup: County hits red tier; Mask Leash; The Lot; Catania; Wind and Sea Wellness; more

Movie theaters can be open indoors at 25 percent capacity under the red tier of coronavirus risk.
Movie theaters can be open indoors at 25 percent capacity under the red tier of coronavirus risk. La Jolla’s The Lot restaurant and movie theater plan to reopen in April.

Business regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic may be changing a mile a minute, but that isn’t stopping local entrepreneurs from launching enterprises in The Village and across La Jolla.

Restrictions ease as county enters red tier

As expected, San Diego County qualified this week to enter the less-restrictive red tier of the state’s coronavirus reopening framework as case rates decline.

Among the changes that brings are that restaurants can open indoor dining at up to 25 percent capacity, movie theaters, places of worship, museums, zoos and aquariums can have 25 percent indoor capacity, gyms and yoga studios can be open indoors at 10 percent and retail stores and shopping centers can increase indoor capacity to 50 percent.

For the record:

1:13 p.m. March 22, 2021This article originally stated incorrectly that Mask Leashes are sold at the La Jolla Open Aire Market. They are no longer sold there.

Under a ruling last week by the California Department of Public Health, breweries, wineries and distilleries no longer are required to serve food as part of their outdoor operations. Customers still have to make reservations and are subject to a 90-minute time limit.

Mask Leash

Grace Barioni and Valerie Markarian model their Mask Leash.

When the pandemic made mask-wearing the norm, it wasn’t going to be long before losing masks became just as common. So mother-daughter team Valerie Markarian and Grace Barioni launched Mask Leash to tether masks to their wearers, hands-free, when not being worn.

After dropping a mask on the ground during an outing one day, “I realized we needed a better way to keep our masks handy,” Markarian said. “This is a great way to keep your mask with you, keep it handy, take it on and off and keep it off surfaces and away from germ transfer opportunities. I thought it was something everyone could use.”

With a full-time job at Sharp Healthcare Foundation, Markarian called on her daughter to helm the business.

“I went to school for agricultural business, but this is a totally new industry,” said Barioni, a La Jolla native and current resident.

The two are reaching out to sell Mask Leashes in bulk to local schools to keep children from dropping and losing their masks when they return to in-person learning. To make the Mask Leashes more kid-friendly, they come in different colors, with an easy-snap attachment system.

Mask Leashes are sold for $7.23 each at

The Lot plans April reopening

The Lot La Jolla at 7611 Fay Ave. has been dark since late November but is preparing to reopen in mid-April.

Both the movie theater and the restaurant will open according to pandemic-related capacity guidelines in effect, according to The Lot’s chief operating officer, Andres Anhalt.

The restaurant is undergoing rebranding and will have a new name and menu when it reopens, Anhalt said. He would not disclose the details.

Catania reopens

Catania restaurant recently reopened outdoor dining after shutting down during the most recent coronavirus-related stay-at-home order in December. It is now offering dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. daily and rotating takeout Sunday suppers for less than $30.

Catania is at 7863 Girard Ave. For more information, visit

Wind and Sea Wellness

Cerra Kelly operates Wind and Sea Wellness on La Jolla Boulevard.

Looking to provide naturopathic medicine options to La Jolla, Cerra Kelly opened Wind and Sea Wellness in October at 6515 La Jolla Blvd.

Naturopathic medicine is the “type of health care that focuses on understanding the root cause of an ailment or disease and uses integrative holistic medicine to heal them,” Kelly said.

For example, if someone comes to her with a migraine, instead of offering a pain reliever, “we’d look at food changes and possible food sensitivities, hormonal changes and other possible causes and treat the root,” said Kelly, an NMD, or naturopathic medical doctor.

According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND/NMD) is a primary care physician who is trained to diagnose and prescribe, while a traditional naturopath is unable to do either.

Kelly said her areas of specialty include hormone imbalances, gastrointestinal and thyroid disorders and mental health. Within those fields, she naturopathically treats eating disorders, depression, irregular menstrual cycles and more.

Every patient gets an in-depth intake process to discuss history and areas of concern, blood work and a personalized treatment plan.

“I want them to not have to depend on substances just to live in the day to day,” Kelly said.

Learn more at .

Solely fruit gummies

La Jolla-based Solely fruit gummies contain only whole fruit and vitamin C.

La Jolla-based Solely fruit snacks, with headquarters in The Village, expanded its offerings in January with a line of gummy snacks containing two ingredients: whole fruit and vitamin C.

“We go to the farms, source the products, work with farmers and … help them by buying all the product that doesn’t get to the market,” said La Jolla resident Simon Sacal, Solely’s chief executive. “We need it straight from the source because we have to have the best possible raw material.”

The gummies are available exclusively at Whole Foods markets in mango and mango/orange, with mango/guava coming this spring.

Learn more at

Forme Life opens at Westfield UTC

A Forme Life store opened in late February at the Westfield UTC shopping center. Forme Life is a full-length mirror that transforms into a fitness studio. When turned on, the display features a variety of on-demand classes as well as personal training sessions. When turned off, the Forme Life mirror is intended to blend into the rest of the home.

The Westfield UTC store is at 4545 La Jolla Village Drive. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. Learn more at

New senior VP for Artelo Biosciences

La Jolla-based Artelo Biosciences Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, announced the appointment of Andrew Yates as senior vice president and chief scientific officer.

Yates served most recently at AstraZeneca in roles including development and commercial strategy, medical affairs and business development.

In his new role at Artelo, Yates will be responsible for advancing the company’s research and development and overseeing engagement with the scientific advisory board.

Coastal Environments wins Diverse Business Enterprise Award

Southern California Edison named La Jolla Shores-based oceanographic and environmental engineering firm Coastal Environments as its 2021 Diverse Business Enterprise Award winner for its “substantial accomplishments and contributions to fostering diversity in subcontractor teams and educational and outreach programs.”

Coastal Environments was formed in 1988 by scientist and coastal engineer Hany Elwany to provide science-based environmental consulting services for corporations, municipalities and regulators.

“The heart of the company is the commitment ... on building professional relationships that successfully connect small, minority, women-owned and disadvantaged businesses to project opportunities with Southern California Edison while providing on-the-job training for a multitude of international graduate students affiliated with UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography,” according to a news release.

— La Jolla Light staff writer Elisabeth Frausto and The San Diego Union-Tribune contributed to this report.