June 2020 Business Update – Recovering Together

By SLNext
In Uncategorized
Jun 10th, 2020
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Over the past week, and months, the San Leandro community has faced very challenging circumstances. In addition to all of the ongoing impacts associated with the global pandemic, our nation and community have been confronting the legacy of systemic racism and the deep hurt that has resulted from officer-involved shootings in San Leandro and beyond.  Although protests and demonstrations in San Leandro have been peaceful, our City was rocked by the past week’s civil strife and destruction, which deeply impacted countless businesses and residents.

There will be much work ahead in San Leandro to address the larger social injustices and repair the damage that the community has sustained. We will treat these challenges as a call to collectively be better. We will work together to rebuild. We will engage in difficult conversations and work to improve our processes and programs for all.  To express their unified voice on recent events, Mayor Cutter and the City Council published a joint statement to our community.

We at the City are working hard every day to help our residents and businesses during these difficult times.  Below we have provided an update on various business-related items, including the current Alameda County shelter-in-place order, resources for those impacted by civil unrest, an update on the Alameda County Shelter in Place, preliminary guidance on outdoor seating, and an update on the Paycheck Protection Program (you can still apply and terms have improved!)

As always, if you have questions, please contact us at slnext@sanleandro.org or 510-577-3327.

Resources for Damaged Businesses

Over the weekend of May 30th and beyond, over 100 San Leandro businesses were damaged by vandalism and theft.  The City’s Economic Development team is working to gather information and resources and to reach out to impacted businesses.

If your business was impacted:

  • Read this quick guide for what steps to take following looting.
  • Contact your insurance company and review the California Insurance Commissioner’s Fact Sheet regarding insurance coverage during civil unrest.
  • Survey and document the damage in writing and with photographs and file a police report. Save receipts for any purchases made to secure your building.
  • Contact us at slnext@sanleandro.org. We want to hear from you. What do you need most right now? What are your biggest challenges?  We are working to gather information on available resources, guides, and will provide additional information as we are able.
  • Reach out to the Alameda County Small Business Development Center (ACSBDC), which has pledged to help our businesses get back on their feet.  They have experienced advisors (at no cost) to work with you to explore your options, such as access to funding, including grants, to support and plan for rebuilding your business. You can sign up and apply for an advisor, or contact them at info@acsbdc.org or 510-516-4118.

If you are a community member who would like to volunteer to help businesses clean up and rebuild, or a business that needs help, contact us at slnext@sanleandro.org and we will work to connect you with businesses in need.

Alameda County Shelter-in-Place

Update:  As of June 8, 2020, the Alameda County Public Health Shelter-in-Place Order has been updated, and clarifications were provided to the Face Coverings Order.    Additional guidance for businesses in developing Site Specific Protection Plans was also provided. You can find a helpful summary of the orders, as well as frequently asked questions with sector-specific information at acphd.org.

As of June 8, the following additional business, recreational, social, and cultural activities are permitted to resume, subject to industry-specific guidance, as well as face coverings and social distancing requirements:

  • Childcare and camps are permitted for all children, not just children of essential workers, and establishes conditions under which youth extracurricular activities may resume.
  • Small outdoor gatherings are permitted for groups of 12 or fewer people belonging to the same Social Bubble or Childcare/Youth Extracurricular Activity Unit (CYE Activity Unit). Groups should be maintained for a minimum of 3 weeks and participants should practice social distancing and wear face coverings to the extent possible.
  • Educational institutions may resume career internship and pathways programs.
  • Libraries may open for curbside pickup of books and other media.
  • Certain business providing services with limited person-to-person contact, including dog walkers, and pet grooming services, may resume operations.
  • All Businesses and organizations allowed to operate under the Order are required to develop and comply with a Site Specific Protection Plan.  Businesses may direct questions in developing their plans to COVIDRecovery@acgov.org.
  • Businesses and activities authorized under previous orders may continue, including Essential Businesses (such as groceries, pharmacies, hardware stores), retail curbside pickup, and certain manufacturing and logistics operations.
  • Everyone should continue to stay and work at home as much as possible, wear a face covering outside their home, and stay at least six feet away from people outside their household.  Non-essential travel is still prohibited.
  • Where there are differences between the local Health Officer’s order and the State’s order, the stricter restrictions apply.

What’s Next? Preparing for Reopening

The Public Health Department has released the Alameda County Reopening Plan, which provides a guide for the order in which businesses and activities will be permitted to reopen. The Health Department continually reviews COVID-19 indicators and makes updates to release additional activities in 2-4 week intervals. Activities that may be permitted in the next stage of reopening include outdoor dining, outdoor retail, and outdoor fitness/pools.

Businesses that are not yet permitted to be open to the public are encouraged to begin planning for reopening, assessing and reducing their risk, and developing their Site Specific Protection Plan.  Guidance on precautions that different businesses should take once they are may be found in the California Statewide Industry Guidance.

Restaurant and other food businesses interested in providing additional outdoor seating to their customers once they are permitted to do so by the County, are also encouraged to begin planning and reviewing the State Guidance for Restaurants.  In San Leandro, food businesses will need to apply for a Temporary Outdoor Facilities Permit.  We are working on streamlining the process locally and will release more information as it is available.  If you are interested in doing outdoor seating for your business, email us at slnext@sanleandro.org.

Business Resources

We have highlighted key resources and organizations below that we encourage businesses to explore.  For a more comprehensive list of resources and updates, visit our COVID-19 Business Resource page to learn more about business resources and advisors, financial relief programs, and grants.  The page includes information on financial relief that is being offered for businesses’ ongoing expenses, such as the potential to delay or develop payment plans for tax and utility payments, as well as the San Leandro Eviction Moratorium, which temporarily stops evictions for non-payment of rent due to loss of income due to COVID-19 for commercial and residential renters.

Alameda County Small Business Development Center – Get Assistance and Advice

San Leandro businesses are fortunate to have the assistance of the Alameda County Small Business Development Center (ACSBDC).  Free advisors are available to assist businesses by phone or email in multiple languages.  They can help with applying for relief, guiding you through available resources, cash flow concerns, supply chain interruptions, workforce capacity, insurance coverage and more – at no cost. You can learn more at www.acsbdc.org and reach them at 510-516-4118 or info@acsbdc.org.  They recommend that you apply for counseling so that an advisor knowledgeable in your type of business can respond.

San Leandro Chamber – Promote Your Business

We have also partnered with the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce to launch the San Leandro “Keeping it Local” initiative, which highlights San Leandro businesses and encourages residents to shop locally.  As a part of this program, all San Leandro businesses (whether or not they are Chamber members) are able to have their business listed on the “Keeping it Local” page and have access to promotional materials through the end of 2020.  To sign your business up to participate, email info@sanleandrochamber.com or call 510-317-1400.

Payroll Protection Program – Funds Still Available – Apply by June 30th

Update: Funding from the second round of the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is still available and businesses are encouraged to apply for the loan before the deadline of June 30, 2020.  Applications are through participating local banks, or one of the various online lenders.  If you are a Square, PayPal, or Intuit customer, you can apply for a loan through them, as well as other lenders such as Bluevine or Kabbage.  You may also reach out to the Alameda County Small Business Development Center for assistance in applying for the program.

The SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program offers loans of up to $10 million in partnership with select banks.  Small businesses, certain nonprofits, faith based organization, sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed persons may apply.  This is a forgivable loan to keep employees on payroll and maintain salary levels. To be forgiven, the majority of the loan must be used for payroll, including the cost of employer-provided health benefits. If you’ve already laid off your employees, this loan provides the opportunity to hire them back.  See more details regarding updates to how/when the money may be spent below.

On June 3, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act was passed, which attempts to address many concerns expressed by the small business community around the Paycheck Protection Program. We have highlighted key updates to the program below, and you can find further descriptions of the changes in this article. Changes include:

  • At least 60% of loan amount should be spent on payroll related expenses (previously 75%)
  • In order to be forgiven, funds must be spent within 24 weeks of receipt (previously 8 weeks)
  • Businesses may use funds for payroll expenses for employees rehired through December 31, 2020 (previously June 30, 2020)
  • Additional guidance is provided for businesses that are not able to rehire the same number of employees
  • Funds not spent within 24 months may be repaid as a standard loan with a 1% interest rate over a period of five years (previously 2 years)

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