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Ribbon-cutting event planned for June 15 will celebrate La Jolla businesses that opened during the pandemic

Mermaids & Cowboys is one of the new La Jolla businesses to be celebrated during a giant ribbon-cutting June 15.
Mermaids & Cowboys, one of the La Jolla businesses to be celebrated during a giant ribbon-cutting June 15, opened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

To celebrate the state’s planned lifting of COVID-19-related restrictions and the 39 businesses that have opened in The Village since the start of the pandemic, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association will hold a giant ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, June 15, with festivities starting at 4 p.m.

The event will feature an outdoor reception at Sotheby’s Plaza at 1111 Prospect St., with merchant booths, games and more, followed by a ribbon cutting and reopening toast at 5 p.m. and “sip and stroll” mini-events throughout The Village.

All are welcome, but an RSVP is required at (858) 230-2725.

“It’s important for us to hold an event like this because we want to make sure that all our businesses are celebrated, especially in light of COVID,” said Village Merchants Association Executive Director Jodi Rudick. “COVID-19 has been a life-altering event for everyone; however, we want to commemorate a return to semi-normalcy while celebrating the hard work of our new merchants who have joined our community since the pandemic. These merchants have gone the extra mile to be successful in their enterprises and we want to recognize their sacrifice and hard work.”

On June 15, the state’s tier system of COVID-related capacity restrictions and physical distancing requirements will be lifted at almost all businesses and other institutions, and people who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to go without masks in most situations. However, Gov. Gavin Newsom said a statewide state of emergency will still be in place, allowing him room to suspend state laws and impose new rules. “Some modifications may need to be in order on the basis of changing conditions,” he said.

The state of emergency has been in place since March 2020 and has given rise to outdoor dining and other business operations and reduced capacity for indoor enterprises.

“Throughout the entire pandemic, La Jollans wanted to support their local business owners and restaurants,” Rudick said. “We really felt the love of the community and felt supported in many ways. Of course, La Jolla is a perfect place to spend time outdoors, and COVID pushed many to seek out our beaches, parks, recreation and marine wildlife as a welcome diversion from indoor restrictions. Those who discovered or rediscovered La Jolla’s attractions were apt to explore the diverse shopping and dining which makes The Village a perfect place to get away. The pandemic hit all of us hard; however, the fact that businesses have launched and been successful speaks to the value that these businesses hold.”

Mermaids & Cowboys, a restaurant that opened amid the ever-changing restrictions last fall, will host one of the sip-and-stroll events. Owner and LJVMA trustee Mike Matthews said “it’s such a big deal” to be able to host a party in person and be part of the celebration.

“For us, having been welcomed into La Jolla and working with the La Jolla Village Merchants Association for a whole year on Zoom but not being able to do much in person, to have a real event with people and share it with people is really exciting,” Matthews said. “I’ve met so many great people through the Village Merchants Association, so to meet them and throw a party with them is a dream come true.”

He said he considers the event to be a “catapult into summer” after a busy Memorial Day weekend.

“June 15 can’t come soon enough,” Matthews said. “And with the whole area buzzing, we are really looking forward to our first La Jolla summer.” ◆