COVID-19 Business Resource Update – December 2020

By SLNext
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Dec 18th, 2020
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With the issuance of the most recent Stay-at-Home order, small businesses are again devastated by loss of activity and income. The continually changing local, regional, and statewide orders are tough to navigate and businesses who were relying on outdoor service to generate revenue have had to close down their outdoor activity and adapt. However, with a promising beginning to vaccines, there is light ahead.

In recognition of the challenges that San Leandro businesses face, on December 14, the City Council voted to allocate $150,000 in available funds to go towards businesses who applied for the Alameda County CARES Small Business Grant. The City’s funds will be matched by County CARES Act funds, for a total of $300,000 to be given directly to 60 San Leandro businesses who applied to the program. San Leandro businesses will also be eligible for selection for a grant from the $5 million county-wide pool, which will provide $5,000 grants to 1,000 businesses from cities across Alameda County. Additionally, the Council has directed staff to return with further details on how they may allocate additional funds from City reserves assist businesses. Over 650 San Leandro businesses applied for assistance through this program before the application period closed on November 30, 2020. For more information about the program, visit here.

We at the City are working hard every day to help our residents and businesses during these difficult times.  There are a number of assistance and relief programs still available for businesses and we hope that additional federal stimulus funding will be approved in the next few weeks.

As always, businesses can reach out to San Leandro Economic Development staff at slnext@sanleandro.org or 510-577-3311. We also recommend that businesses sign up for a free advisor with the Alameda County Small Business Development Center to help you figure out which resources are best and walk you through the application process. Don’t go it alone!

Below we have provided an update on the following business resources (click on the links to jump to that section):

  • Private Resources – including crowd funding through Kiva and many educational and inspirational materials to help your business adapt
  • State Resources – including the new California Re-Building Fund Loans
  • Federal Resources – including the Main Street Lending Program for small to medium-sized businesses
  • Employer and Employee Resources – including continuing unemployment assistance
  • Financial Relief – through utility shutoff and eviction moratoriums
  • Tax Relief – through delayed due dates, payment plans and the Small Business Hiring Credit (due January 15th)

External, Partner, and Other Resources:

  • California Entrepreneurship Task Force (ETF): Between March 27 and July 24, 2020, the ETF launched COVID-19 Rapid Response Virtual Sessions to ensure that small business owners and entrepreneurs across the state had access to information and resources. Find the replays of these discussions HERE (alternating each week in English and Spanish).
  • Find out about training and other inspirational resources at California Entrepreneurship Task Force member Nely Galan’s Becoming Self Made site.
  • Hello Alice* has a dedicated site of public, private, state and national resources at Covid19BusinessCenter.com, including emergency $10,000 grants and a community to help you.
  • Explore crowd-funded 0% interest loans of up to $15,000, and access a grace period of up to 6 months for greater financial flexibility by checking out Kiva*.
  • Intellectual Property Owners: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has taken steps to protect and offer relief to intellectual property applicants and owners affected by COVID-19. Learn more HERE.
  • Head to Venturize.org* to get Small Business Majority’s daily updates on funding opportunities, policy developments and educational webinars. For Spanish, go to https://venturize.org/es.
  • Technical resources* – For free or discounted technology tools* for small businesses, click HERE.

*Any reference to a specific product, process, or service or to the use of any vendor is for the information and convenience of the small business community and does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the City of San Leandro.

State Resources:

California Re-Building Fund: As of November 2020, the California Rebuilding Fund is available to help impacted small businesses rebuild from the economic crisis and keep local economies strong. The Fund is an innovative public-private partnership that provides free support and services and affordable loans to small businesses as they navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 marketplace. Visit CALoanFund.org for applications and information.

The State of California has allocated $100 million to the IBank to support loans to small businesses, including $50 million for COVID-19 disaster relief, and $50 million for the small business loan guarantee program.

Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program: The State of California has allocated $50 million to the Small Business Finance Center at California’s IBank to support small business access to capital for those small businesses (1-750 employees) that may not qualify for federal funds (including businesses in low-wealth and immigrant communities). Click HERE for more information. Loans up to $50,000 are prioritized for underserved businesses. Find a participating lender HERE. To access the program, visit above link or contact IBank at: IBANK@IBank.ca.gov

Small Business Loan Guarantee Program: IBank’s Small Business Finance Center features a loan guarantee program that encourages lenders to provide funds to small businesses and encourages investment in low- to moderate-income communities. Click HERE for more information.

California Treasurer’s Office has a small business loan program with special disaster assistance that is used by CDFIs, banks, and other lenders. CalCAP’s COVID-19 considerations are HERE. To apply, find a lender at: https://www.treasurer.ca.gov.cpcfa/calcap/sb/institutions.pdf

Federal Resources:

Main Street Lending Program: The Federal Reserve funds a lending program through private banks for businesses seeking a minimum of $100,000 in funding. The five-year loans with deferred principal and interest are for qualified businesses whose debt does not exceed 4 times (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) EBITDA less any PPP loans.

Nonprofits are eligible as well. For details, eligibility, and to find a California lender, visit the Federal Reserve of Boston.

U.S. SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The U.S. SBA is no longer accepting PPP applications from participating lenders, but is processing loan forgiveness.

If your business received a PPP loan, and your business is ready to pursue loan forgiveness after funds have been expended, please review the Loan Forgiveness Application and consult with one of the centers, or your accountant, for assistance. Visit this webpage for loan forgiveness application instructions for borrowers, including instructions on what must be submitted to the lender directly.

For PPP loans of $50,000 or less, there is a simpler loan forgiveness application:

Click HERE to view the simpler loan forgiveness application.
Click HERE to view the instructions
Click HERE to view the Interim Final Rule on the simpler forgiveness process for loans of $50,000 or less.

U.S. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): The U.S> SBA is accepting new EIDL applications from all qualified small businesses, including agricultural businesses, and non-profit organizations. The EIDL program is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to COVID-19. EIDL proceeds can be used to cover a wide array of working capital and normal operating expenses, such as continuation of health care benefits, rent, utilities, and fixed debt payments. Read more HERE.

EIDL is a direct loan for up to a rate of 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. You must apply directly with the SBA HERE. SBA Customer Service Line: 1-800-659-2955 / 1-800-877-8339 (TTY), or email: disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Please note that all available funds for the EIDL Advance program have been allocated. By federal law, SBA is not able to issue EIDL Advances once program funding has been obligated and is no longer available. EIDL loan applications will still be processed, even though the Advance is no longer available.

U.S. Civil Unrest Disaster Assistance: Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to California businesses affected by civil unrest that began May 26, 2020.

The deadline to apply for property damage has closed as of August 17, 2020.
Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage. SBA can also lend additional funds to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent, or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future. For small businesses, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. The deadline to apply for economic injury is March 17, 2021. Apply directly with the SBA HERE. Applicants may contact SBA support personnel at the Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center: Monday – Friday, 8AM–4:30PM. Email: FOCWAssistance@sba.gov. Telephone: 916-735-1500.

SBA Small Business Debt Relief: If you are a current borrower under SBA 7(a) not through PPP, 504 loan program, microloan, or disaster loan, you are eligible for debt relief and SBA will cover all loan payments for 6 months. Contact your lender directly to confirm if funds are still available. Or, if you are a current SBA Serviced Disaster Loan (Home and Business) and are in “regular servicing” status, SBA is providing automatic deferments through December 31, 2020. Contact your SBA Loan Servicing Office directly (Birmingham or El Paso). See the debt relief link for contact information.

Employer & Employee Resources

Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening: Follow the Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening to help plan and prepare for reopening your business. The playbook includes detailed information on:

  • When and how an employer must report a COVID-19 positive employee
  • What is defined as an outbreak
  • Guidance for employers who may be considering whether to suspend operations due to COVI-19 spread in the workplace

Work sharing program for employers facing reduced production, services, or other conditions causing them to seek an alternative to layoffs:
https://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Work_Sharing_Program.htm

Benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19:
https://www.labor.ca.gov.coronavirus2019/#chart

Resources for employers and workers, Labor and Workforce Agency website: https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/

Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claims:

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the CARES Act Pandemic Additional Compensation Program: These benefits are available to those who are self-employed, independent contractors, and those employees whose wage data or work history is insufficient to qualify for unemployment insurance, and to others who have exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits. Check here for current information:
https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/pandemic-unemployment-assistance.htm#Eligibility

Unemployment Benefits Guide is HERE, as well as Step-by-Step information to UI claims. The EDD will mail you information regarding your claim and award determination within 10 days. If corrections are needed, call EDD. File an appeal within 30 calendar days from the date on the notice. Visit the EDD UI Website for further information.

Direct Deposit Transfers: You may choose to transfer some or all of your benefits to your checking or savings account by performing a direct deposit transfer. Call Bank of America Debit Card Customer Service at the phone number on the back of your card, or visit Bank of America EDD Debit Card.

Additional Relief

Financial Relief

  • Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo, and nearly 200 state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers – relief for eligible consumers and homeowners mortgage-payment forbearances, up to 90 days: https://dbo.ca.gov/2020/03/25/covid19/
  • Residential eviction protections are covered here: https://landlordtenant.dre.ca.gov/. In August, Governor Newsom announced that under a new law, no tenant can be evicted prior to February 1, 2020, as a result of rent owed due to a COVID-19-related hardship. This law was titled Tenant, Homeowner and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020 (AB3088). For more information on this new campaign to protect residential tenants, click HERE. Please find an interactive guide to protection under the Tenant Relief Act of 2020, HERE and additional resources HERE.
  • Commercial eviction protections: On September 23, Governor Newsom extended authorization for local governments to halt evictions for commercial renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through March 31, 2021.
  • San Leandro eviction moratorium: San Leandro has a local eviction moratorium for residential and commercial renters. The ordinance temporarily stops evictions for non-payment of rent due to a substantial loss of income because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The moratorium lasts until the end of the state of emergency, after which tenants are required to repay their rent within 120 to 180 days of the end of the state of emergency. Businesses who are having trouble paying rent should reach out to their landlord to discuss their options. More information, including a FAQ page and a sample landlord notifications form, may be found HERE. Commercial tenants should reach out to the City of San Leandro Economic Development Division at kbowman@sanleandro.org or lhalle@sanleandro.org.
  • Price gouging protections: On September 3, 2020, Governor Newsom signed an executive order extending the expanded consumer protection against price gouging as California continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order generally prohibits sellers of any kind from increasing prices on food, consumer goods, medical or emergency supplies, and certain other items by more than 10 percent. These consumer protections will be in effect at least through March 4, 2021.
  • The California Public Utilities Commission is taking action to ensure that utility bills do not become an added hardship. There are utility assistance programs to help mitigate the impact of anticipated higher energy residential bills due to the stay-at-home order and COVID-19 pandemic.
    • California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) provides a 20-35 percent discount on utility bills: https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/lowincomerates/
    • COVID-19 Consumer Protections webpage tracks what all Water, Energy, and Telco utilities are doing during the crisis: https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/covid19protections/.
    • There is also a Telco page with information about new programs available for broadband, including an interactive map to find what is available in your zip code: https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/caip/.
      • PG&E is dedicated to enhancing the economic vitality of the communities it serves. PG&E has developed the unique Economic Development Rate (EDR) to help businesses grow or maintain jobs in California. The EDR offers eligible businesses the opportunity to lower costs through one of three reduced electric rate options. Click HERE for additional information.

        Additionally, PG&E is offering a Small Business Shutoff Moratorium: PG&E has suspended service disconnections for non-payments and is waiving security deposits. This suspensions applies to small business customers and remains in effect until further notice. Learn more HERE.
  • The CA Department of Insurance strongly recommends that businesses determine what their business interruption insurance policies cover. For additional information, the FAQ is HERE. If you or someone you know has had their commercial insurance claim denied and would like for the Department to look into it further, please contact the CA Department of Insurance HERE.
  • Worker’s compensation will be available for diagnosed workers working outside their homes who contract COVID-19 during the stay-at-home order. The presumption will be that the workers contracted the virus at work; employers will have the chance to rebut. Read the press release HERE, or click HERE to read the full executive order.

Tax Relief

  • California Entrepreneurship Task Force (ETF): Between March 27 and July 24, 2020, the ETF launched COVID-19 Rapid Response Virtual Sessions to ensure that small business owners and entrepreneurs across the state had access to information and resources. Find the replays of these discussions HERE (alternating each week in English and Spanish).
  • Find out about training and other inspirational resources at California Entrepreneurship Task Force member Nely Galan’s Becoming Self Made site.
  • Hello Alice* has a dedicated site of public, private, state and national resources at Covid19BusinessCenter.com, including emergency $10,000 grants and a community to help you.
  • Explore crowd-funded 0% interest loans of up to $15,000, and access a grace period of up to 6 months for greater financial flexibility by checking out Kiva*.
  • Intellectual Property Owners: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has taken steps to protect and offer relief to intellectual property applicants and owners affected by COVID-19. Learn more HERE.
  • Head to Venturize.org* to get Small Business Majority’s daily updates on funding opportunities, policy developments and educational webinars. For Spanish, go to https://venturize.org/es.
  • Technical resources* – For free or discounted technology tools* for small businesses, click HERE.

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