As the situation surrounding Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 continues to unfold, we want to assure you that we are here to help.
Masks in the workplace
Cal/OSHA has aligned workplace mask requirements with general mask guidance from the CDPH.
- Masks are not required outdoors (except during outbreaks), regardless of vaccination status. Workers should be trained for outdoor use of face coverings.
- Fully-vaccinated employees do not need to wear masks indoors. Employers must document employees’ vaccination status.
- There are some settings where masks are required regardless of vaccination status. In outbreaks, all employees must wear masks indoors and outdoors when six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.
- Employers must provide unvaccinated employees with NIOSH-certified respirator masks for voluntary use when:
- Working indoors, or
- In a vehicle with others.
For more information, see Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS)
Guidance for businesses
In settings where masks are still required, businesses, venue operators, or hosts may choose to:
- Provide information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow individuals to self-attest that they are fully vaccinated or meet an approved masking exemption prior to entry.
- Implement vaccine verification to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask.
- Require all patrons to wear masks.
No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a business.
California is moving Beyond the Blueprint to safely and fully reopen the economy.
As of June 15, 2021, the Governor terminated the executive orders that put into place the Stay Home Order and the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. He also phased out the vast majority of executive actions put in place since March 2020 as part of the pandemic response, leaving a subset of provisions that facilitate the ongoing recovery.
The new public health order effective June 15 supersedes all prior health orders. The order has limited restrictions, only related to masking and mega-events, as well as settings serving children and youth pending an expected update to the K-12 schools guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Restrictions that ended on June 15 include:
- Physical distancing
- Capacity limits on businesses
- County tier system
Read the Governor’s orders: N-07-21 and N-08-21. Find details in the California Department of Public Health’s Beyond the Blueprint for Industry and Business Sectors and the Questions & Answers.
State Makes Plans for Reopening and “Mega Events”
The State last week provided an update on the Beyond the Blueprint Framework for the State’s June 15 reopening. In less than three weeks, the State will clear all industry and business sectors listed in the current Blueprint Activities and Business Tiers Chart to return to usual operations with no capacity limits or physical distancing requirements, with limited exceptions for what the State is calling “mega events.”
The State defines “mega events” as planned public or social occasions that include over 5,000 participants or spectators indoors and over 10,000 outdoors. Examples include conventions, shows, nightclubs, concerts, sporting events, theme parks, fairs, festivals, large races, and parades. Verification of full vaccination or a negative test result will be required for indoor mega events and recommended for outdoor mega events.
Verification can take the form of written or even verbal self-attestation. A person making reservations or purchasing tickets for a large group can attest on behalf of the entire group. There will be no restrictions on capacity for mega events or social-distancing requirements. Current State guidance on masks will apply to mega events.
Employers will be subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), if applicable to them, and CDPH will continue to provide updated guidance for youth, healthcare, and high-risk congregate settings.
California Roars Back: Governor Newsom Announces the Largest Small Business Relief Program in the Nation
The Largest Small Business Relief Program in the Nation
- Expanding Small Business Grants to $4 Billion, Largest Program in the Country
- Largest State Tax Cut for Small Businesses in History
- Hundreds of Millions in Grants and Tax Credits to Attract Business to California
California’s recovery is underway, but we can’t be satisfied with just going back to the way things were. The Comeback Plan outlines comprehensive strategies and major investments to address the state’s most stubborn challenges. Under Governor Newsom’s $100 billion plan, California will roar back from the pandemic.
Governor Newsom’s California Comeback Plan doubles down on support for small businesses to recover from the pandemic, investing an additional $1.5 billion in COVID-19 relief grants – bringing the total to $4 billion, representing the largest small business grant program in the country.
Earlier this year, Governor Newsom took swift action to deliver immediate relief to small businesses, including a historic $6.2 billion tax cut for businesses – the largest state small business tax cut in history.
California is home to 4.1 million small businesses, representing over 99 percent of all businesses in the state and employing nearly half of the state’s total workforce. Small businesses are critical drivers of economic growth and mobility—creating two‑thirds of net new jobs, building wealth in communities, and innovating to solve global problems. The California Comeback Plan will allow California’s businesses to come roaring back from the pandemic.
Governor Newsom Signs Bill Giving Small Business a $6.2 Billion Tax Cut
Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that will give small businesses hit hardest by this pandemic a $6.2 billion tax cut over the next six years – a critical lifeline that will help get our small businesses back on their feet and an important component of California’s economic recovery strategy.
“California’s small businesses have been hampered and hammered by this pandemic, and we are using every tool at our disposal to help them stay afloat,” said Governor Newsom. “Help is on the way in the form of a $6.2 billion tax cut, which will provide support, not to large publicly traded companies, but to the mom-and-pop businesses – the beauty salons, restaurants and dental offices – which have been resilient during this difficult time. This small business tax relief is exactly what is needed to keep businesses open so they can continue paying their employees.”
Under the legislation, AB 80 by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood), the forgiven PPP loans that businesses received from the federal government during the pandemic will not be counted as taxable income, and these businesses can also deduct the costs of expenses that those loans paid for. This is additional state tax relief for the small businesses that have been struggling most, and may very well make a difference in their choosing to reopen, stay open, or shut down as they look to the future.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund
The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.
Eligible entities who have experienced pandemic-related revenue loss include:
- Food stands, food trucks, food carts
- Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
- Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
- Bakeries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Breweries and/or microbreweries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Wineries and distilleries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Inns (onsite sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products
For more information on the program and to apply, visit the SBA website.
County Moves into Orange Tier Starting Tomorrow, April 7
Life in San Bernardino County is getting back to normal, with officials reporting the County has moved from the Red Tier into the less restrictive Orange Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Beginning tomorrow, April 7, a variety of institutions and businesses may now open to 50% capacity — a notable increase from the Red Tier’s limit of 25%. And some businesses, like bars and bowling alleys, can now reopen for the first time in over a year.
Any bar in San Bernardino County may now open for outdoor service. Movie theaters, museums, and restaurants may double the number of guests allowed inside. Wineries and breweries can allow patrons to enjoy their beverages indoors. And outdoor stadiums can open at 33% capacity.
The Orange Tier means the spread of COVID-19 has now reduced to a moderate level, as the number of cases continues to decline. As of Monday, the County’s daily adjusted rate was 3.4 per 100,000.
The following is allowed under the new Orange Tier, all with modifications. For a complete listing of what can open in the tier and with specific capacity and modifications, see this updated activity tier from the California Department of Public Health.
- Retailers, malls, and grocery stores can operate at 100% capacity with modifications
- Museums, zoos and aquariums can open indoors at 50% capacity
- Movie theaters can now open with 50% capacity or 100 people
- Hotels can now open their indoor pools, and fitness centers at 25% capacity
- Gyms can now be at 25% capacity, including climbing walls and indoor pools
- Restaurants can open indoors at 50% capacity or 200 people (whichever is fewer)
- Wineries, breweries and distilleries can open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
- Bars may serve customers outdoors (regardless if serving food)
- Family entertainment centers can open indoors at 25% capacity for naturally distanced activities like bowling and rock-climbing walls
- While telework is still encouraged for non-essential offices, they can reopen in-person staffing
- Outdoor professional sports stadiums can have audiences up to 33% capacity (up from 20%)
- Theme parks may reopen at 25% capacity
SBA to Increase Lending Limit for COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration is increasing the maximum amount small businesses and non-profit organizations can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Starting the week of April 6, 2021, the SBA is raising the loan limit for the COVID-19 EIDL program from 6-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $150,000 to up to 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.
Businesses that receive a loan subject to the current limits do not need to submit a request for an increase at this time. SBA will reach out directly via email and provide more details about how businesses can request an increase closer to the April 6 implementation date. Any new loan applications and any loans in process when the new loan limits are implemented will automatically be considered for loans covering 24 months of economic injury up to a maximum of $500,000.
This new relief builds on SBA’s previous March 12, 2021 announcement that the agency would extend deferment periods for all disaster loans, including COVID-19 EIDLs, until 2022 to offer more time for businesses to build back. In order to shift all EIDL payments to 2022, SBA will extend the first payment due date for disaster loans made in 2020 to 24-months from the date of the note and to 18-months from the date of the note for all loans made in the calendar year 2021.
County Moves into Less-Restrictive Red Tier on Sunday, March 14
County officials are reporting welcome news: with vaccination rates rising and COVID-19 cases declining, San Bernardino County will transition from the State’s most restrictive Purple Tier, where it has been since last August, to the more open Red Tier on Sunday, March 14.
“People throughout our county have worked relentlessly over the past year to protect each other’s health and safety,” said Board of Supervisor’s Chairman Curt Hagman. “This has been a community-wide effort involving everyone from healthcare professionals and essential workers to businesses and residents following strict public health protocols. Our diligence is now beginning to pay off.”
Corwin Porter, the County’s public health director, noted that the county saw 47 new positive cases on March 9, compared to 5,421 new cases on January 4 — a 99% decrease. The County’s current case rate is 5.2 cases per 100,000 residents, its positivity rate is 2.8% and its equity positivity rate is 3.2%.
“We have seen a steady decline in all the key metrics, including hospitalizations, and that decline should persist as we continue vaccinating more and more residents every week,” Porter said.
The move into the Red Tier means numerous local businesses, including gyms, restaurants, movie theaters and museums, can open for indoor services with modifications. Further details on activity and business tiers can be found here.
- Gyms will be allowed to open indoors at 10% capacity
- Retailers and malls can operate at 50% capacity
- Hair and nail salons can continue to operate indoors with modifications
- Restaurants can operate indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
- Movie theaters can reopen at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
- Museums, zoos, and aquariums can reopen indoors at 25% capacity
- Libraries can open at 50% capacity
- Outdoor live events can resume at 20% capacity (effective April 1)
- Amusement parks can reopen at 15% capacity and small group restrictions (effective April 1)
- Schools may reopen fully for in-person instruction following re-opening guidance. Local school officials will decide whether and when that will occur.
Porter emphasized that, while improving numbers are allowing the County to proceed into the Red Tier, residents should not let up on the behaviors that have helped us achieve this success. “We encourage you to enjoy the additional opportunities created by our move to the red tier, but please remember to keep wearing face coverings, washing your hands, maintaining physical distance from others, and avoiding large social gatherings,” he said. “We’ve made huge progress but we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Other new guidelines announced
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has also updated public health guidance in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy to allow for additional safe and sustainable reopening activities in the state.
Specifically there are new guidelines governing breweries, wineries and distilleries, allowing these businesses that do not serve meals to open outdoors with conditions. Also, it was announced sleep-away camps will be allowed to open for counties in the orange tier
New Funding Rounds Announced for the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program
Four new rounds to address ongoing need
Funding will support small businesses and non-profits that have struggled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA), part of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), announced today four new funding rounds for the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program following Governor Gavin Newsom signing into law a comprehensive package of immediate actions that speeds much-needed relief to individuals, families, and businesses suffering the most significant economic hardship due to COVID-19.
Guided by a principle of equity, the Program provides a crucial financial lifeline to traditionally underserved small businesses and non-profits. In its first two funding rounds, the Program selected just over 40,000 small businesses and non-profits to receive approximately $500 million in grant funding. More than 350,000 small businesses and non-profits applied in a competitive process, with funding requests totaling more than $4.5 billion. Additional preliminary data can be found here.
The recently signed package provides $2.075 billion – a four-fold increase to that initial $500 million – for grants up to $25,000 for small businesses impacted by the pandemic. The new package also includes a $50 million allocation for non-profit cultural institutions. Four competitive funding rounds will be conducted by CalOSBA’s selected intermediary, Lendistry. Additional information can be found at CAReliefGrant.com and below:
• Round 3 (waitlisted applicants from Rounds 1 and 2): Friday, March 5th through Thursday, March 11th, 2021
- Eligible applicants: This is a closed round and only available to eligible applicants who were waitlisted in Rounds 1 and 2 – only existing applicants will be selected. If you were waitlisted, you do not need to reapply. New applications will not be accepted in this round.
- Eligible grant award: $5,000 to $25,000
- Details: This is a closed funding round; no new applications will be accepted
• Round 4 (non-profit cultural institutions only): Tuesday, March 16th through Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021
- Eligible applicants: Only non-profit cultural institutions with any revenue size that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com
- Eligible grant award: $5,000 - $25,000
- Details: Eligible non-profit cultural institutions must complete a new application even if they already applied in Rounds 1 and 2; grants will only be available to non-profits cultural institutions that did not receive funding in Rounds 1, 2 or 3; grants will be prioritized based on the documented percentage revenue declines based on a reporting period comparing Q2 and Q3 of 2020 versus Q2 and Q3 of 2019
• Round 5: Thursday, March 25th through Wednesday, March 31st
- Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and non-profits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, or 3 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com
- Eligible grant award: $5,000 - $25,000
- Details: Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, & 3 do not need to reapply as they will be automatically moved into Round 5. New applicants will need to apply at CAReliefGrant.com
• Round 6: Wednesday, April 28th through Tuesday, May 4th
- Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and/or non-profits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com
- Eligible grant award: $5,000 - $25,000
- Details: Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, 3 & 5 do not need to re-apply and will be automatically moved into Round 6. New applicants will need to apply at CAReliefGrant.com
The California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program is administered by CalOSBA through a competitive bid award to its intermediary, Lendistry, and its statewide network of community-based lenders and partners. Many of the state-supported small business centers, which prioritize the expansion of technical assistance to underserved business groups, are also available to help small businesses with the application process in multiple languages and formats.
For more information on grant requirements and eligibility, along with links to application tips and webinars, visit CAReliefGrant.com.
Biden Administration takes steps to promote equitable access to SBA relief
President Biden announced the following changes to SBA's coronavirus relief programs to ensure equity:
Specifically, on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9 am ET, SBA will establish a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees. This will give lenders and community partners more time to work with the smallest businesses to submit their applications, while also ensuring that larger PPP-eligible businesses will still have plenty of time to apply for and receive support before the program expires on March 31, 2021.
SBA also announced four additional changes to open the PPP to more underserved small businesses than ever before. While these changes are being implemented, SBA will work with community partners to improve the emergency relief “digital front door” and conduct extensive stakeholder outreach. And, SBA will strengthen its relationships with lender partners to advance equity goals, deliver funding efficiently, and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. SBA will:
- Allow sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP’s funding formula for these categories of applicants;
- Eliminate an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions, consistent with a bipartisan congressional proposal;
- Eliminate PPP access restrictions on small business owners who have struggled to make student loan payments by eliminating student loan debt delinquency as a disqualifier to participating in the PPP; and
- Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for the PPP.
A critical goal from Congress for the latest round of PPP was to reach small and low- and moderate-income (LMI) businesses who have not received the needed relief a forgivable PPP loan provides. Congress set a $15B set-aside for small and LMI first draw borrowers. With existing policies, the current round has only deployed $2.4B to small LMI borrowers, in part because a disproportionate amount of funding in both wealthy and LMI areas is going to firms with more than 20 employees. The less than 20 exclusivity period combined with the changes to expand access for sole proprietors, ITINs, returning citizens, and student loan debt will help us achieve Congressional goals.
State Lifts Stay-at-Home Orders for All Counties
Governor Gavin Newsom lifted the strict Regional Stay at Home Order issued in December. This action allows all counties statewide to return to the rules and framework of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and color-coded tiers that indicate which activities and businesses are open based on local case rates and test positivity. San Bernardino County remains in the Purple Tier.
As a result, local restaurants will be allowed to open for outdoor service, personal care services (such as hair and nail salons) may reopen with modifications, retailers may allow more customers into their stores and campgrounds may resume operations, among other changes.
“This is great news for businesses and county residents who have been struggling financially since March 2020, but most especially since December when the State imposed the Regional Stay-at-Home Order,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “This is a huge step forward in our recovery. With the vaccine being rolled out throughout the state, I am cautiously optimistic about the year ahead and encourage residents to get vaccinated as soon as they are able.”
As a result of the announcement, the following guidelines will be implemented immediately:
- In-person gatherings, which were previously prohibited, are now permitted for up to members of three households.
- Restaurants, which previously were limited to take-out and delivery, may now provide outdoor dining. (Limited indoor dining remains prohibited until the County reaches the red tier.)
- Hair and nail salons, barbershops, and other personal services may now reopen with limited capacity.
- Grocery stores may expand capacity to 50%, compared to 35% under the prior restrictions. Other retailers may increase capacity from 20% to 25% capacity.
- Hotels and other short-term rental lodging can serve non-essential patrons with restrictions.
- Museums and zoos can resume outside operations.
For a complete list of business and recreation allowances, visit www.covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy
To view Industry Guidance, visit www.covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance
SBA Re-Opens PPP to Community Financial Institutions First
The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, re-opened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal Monday, January 11, 2020 at 9 am ET. SBA is continuing its dedicated commitment to underserved small businesses and to addressing potential access to capital barriers by initially granting PPP access exclusively to community financial institutions (CFIs) that typically serve these concerns.
When the PPP loan portal re-opened today, it initially accepted First Draw PPP loan applications from participating CFIs, which include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs) and Microloan Intermediaries. These lenders made up approximately 10% of all PPP participating lenders in 2020. A First Draw PPP loan is for those borrowers who have yet to receive a PPP loan before the program closed in August 2020.
On Jan. 13, 2021, participating CFIs may begin submitting application information to SBA for Second Draw PPP loans. A Second Draw PPP loan is for certain eligible borrowers that previously received a PPP loan, generally have 300 employees or less, and has suffered a 25% reduction in gross receipts. At least $15 billion is set aside for additional PPP lending by CFIs.
A few days later, additional lenders will be able to submit First and Second draw PPP loan applications. SBA will continue to provide updates on systems operations during the week of Jan. 11, 2021. Additionally, SBA plans to dedicate specific times to process and assist the smallest PPP lenders with loan applications from eligible small businesses.
The opening of the SBA loan system is designed to efficiently and effectively implement the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act and to ensure increased access to the PPP for minority-, underserved-, veteran- and women-owned small business concerns. SBA also is calling upon its lending partners to redouble their efforts to assist eligible borrowers in underserved and disadvantaged communities.
Updated PPP Lender forms, guidance, and resources are available at www.sba.gov/ppp.
Deadline Extended for First Round of Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program Applications
California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA), part of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), announced that the deadline for the first round of applications for the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program will be extended until January 13, 2021.
The program, which officially opened December 30, experienced high traffic – receiving thousands of completed applications. However, due to the high traffic, some businesses may have had trouble accessing the application. Adjustments to the program’s website have been made and the application period has been extended to ensure that all interested applicants have the opportunity to apply. The Round 1 application deadline has been extended from January 8 to January 13, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.
This grant program is not first come, first served, nor a rolling approval process. All applications will be reviewed following the now extended application deadline. The funds will then be disbursed as originally planned to avoid any possible delay to small business owners receiving their grants.
The State’s selected intermediary, Lendistry, a Community Development Financial Institution, is working with other mission-based lenders and small business advisory and technical assistance providers to help small businesses with the application process in multiple languages and formats. Many of the State-supported small business centers, which prioritize the expansion of technical assistance to underserved business groups, are also available to help. For more information on grant requirements and eligibility, as well as to find a local partner, please visit careliefgrant.com.
Applications for $500 Million in Grant Funding for Small Businesses Now Available
The first round of applications for the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program is now open. On November 30, 2020, Governor Newsom and the State Legislature announced the allocation of $500 million available to small businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is administered by California's Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA), part of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).
Grants will not be issued on a first-come, first-served basis and will be awarded after the close of each application round. This first round of applications ends January 8, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Details for the second round will be announced shortly.
The California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. Lendistry has been designated by the State to act as the intermediary for the Program to disburse the grant funds.
For more information on grant requirements and eligibility, please visit careliefgrant.com.
Governor Newsom Announces Immediate Assistance for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Including Temporary Tax Relief and $500 Million in Grants
On Monday, November 30, 2020, Governor Newsom announced several new financial assistance programs for businesses and nonprofits in California. Use this link to learn more about these programs, launch dates and application requirements.
- Immediate Tax Relief for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
- Program administered by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA)
- Provides an automatic three-month extension for taxpayers filing less than $1 million in sales tax on the return
- Extends the availability of existing interest and penalty-free payment agreements to larger companies with up to $5 million in sales tax
- Provides expanded interest-free payment options for larger businesses particularly affected by significant restrictions on operations based on COVID-19 transmissions
- For more information, please click here
- $500 Million for New COVID Relief Grant for Small Business
- Program will be administered by the CA Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) for businesses impacted by COVID and the health and safety restrictions.
- Funds will be awarded to selected intermediaries with established networks of Community Development Financial institutions to distribute relief through grants of up to $25,000 to underserved micro and small businesses throughout the state by early 2021.
- Non-profits would also be eligible for these grants.
- Program is currently underway and will be made available soon. To check for updates and to sign up to receive an alert when program is launched, please click here
- Increase Funding for the CA Rebuilding Fund by $12.5 Million
- Program consists of $25 million to help impacted small businesses rebuild from the economic crisis and keep local economies strong.
- The Governor has increased funding by $12.5 million which will help the third party administrator of the fund raise $125 million to make more low-interest loans to small businesses with less access to loans from traditional banking institutions.
- For more information, please click here
- All interested small business owners can apply for a loan at www.CALoanFund.org
Cal/OSHA Emergency Regulations to Protect Workers from COVID-19 in Effect
Cal/OSHA’s emergency regulations requiring employers to protect workers from hazards related to COVID-19 are now in effect, following their approval on Monday, November 30, 2020 by the Office of Administrative Law.
The emergency standards apply to most workers in California not covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard. The regulations require that employers implement a site-specific written COVID-19 prevention program to address COVID-19 health hazards, correct unsafe or unhealthy conditions and provide face coverings. When there are multiple COVID-19 infections or outbreaks at the worksite, employers must provide COVID-19 testing and notify public health departments. The regulations also require accurate recordkeeping and reporting of COVID-19 cases.
As emergency standards, these regulations become effective immediately.
Cal/OSHA has posted FAQs and a one-page fact sheet on the regulation, as well as a model COVID-19 prevention program. Employers are invited to participate in training webinars held by Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services branch.
New Form Designed to Help Businesses Control COVID-19 Outbreaks
San Bernardino County officials and local business owners have consistently shared a mission to reassure customers and employees that their health and wellbeing is of paramount concern. Heavy participation in programs such as the COVID-Compliant Business Partnership has demonstrated to County and State officials how serious we are about reopening our businesses.
The County has now introduced another tool to assist businesses in their efforts to keep employees and others safe: the COVID-19 Facility Outbreak/Cluster Reporting form.
The form’s purpose is simple: to make it easy to notify the County Department of Public Health when a business suspects a potential COVID-19 outbreak at a specific facility or workplace. Quickly sharing such concerns with DPH gives the department the information needed to immediately respond with steps that can help prevent further spread, minimizing the impacts on business operations.
Employers or their employees can use the form to alert DPH when it appears a facility is experiencing an unusual number of COVID-19 cases — with all information kept strictly confidential and used exclusively to help control the further spread of the virus.
Temporary Outdoor Dining Program for Restaurants Program
The City of Ontario has developed a program to allow restaurants to have temporary outdoor dining services in response to COVID-compliant dining requirements. To ensure and promote public safety, all temporary outdoor dining spaces for restaurants shall require a permit. Click on the links below to learn more about the program, review the guidelines and procedures and download the application.
- Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit Guidelines and Procedures
- Application - Temporary Outdoor Dining and Personal Care Services Permit
Supporting a Safer Environment for Workers and Customers
As California businesses work to reopen, a new Employer Playbook was released by the State to guide them on how to provide a clean environment for workers and customers to reduce risk.
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 COVID-19 spread in the workplace.
Wearing a mask or face covering is required statewide in public or common spaces. Employers must provide face coverings to workers, or must reimburse workers for the reasonable cost of obtaining them.
Click here to view the COVID-19 Employer Playbook.
Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace
This checklist is intended for use by employers experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 in their workplace. Employers should be proactive and keep in mind that identification of even a single positive case among employees may quickly develop into an outbreak. As outbreak circumstances and work practices vary, employers may need assistance from their local health department (LHD) to plan and coordinate a response to the outbreak that meets the needs of the workplace.
This guidance is not intended for use in managing or preventing outbreaks in healthcare, congregate living settings, or other workplaces where the California Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) standard applies.
Employers should also consult:
- CDC guidance for businesses and small businesses for information on preventing outbreaks;
- Cal/OSHA guidance to ensure that they are complying with legal requirements for worker protection; and
- the California statewide industry-specific guidance to reduce risk during and after reopening of businesses.
Click here to see information provided by the California Department of Public Health.
New Employer Tax Credits
The Employee Retention Credit
The Employee Retention Credit is designed to encourage employers to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in qualified wages paid to an employee by an eligible employer experiencing economic hardship related to COVID-19. This credit is for wages paid from March 13, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
The paid sick leave credit and paid family leave credit are available for eligible employers who pay qualified sick leave wages and/or qualified family leave wages from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, and who have fewer than 500 employees.
City Hall Appointments
City Hall is open to the public. Face coverings & social distancing are required. Telephone contact is encouraged.
- Building Permit
- Building: Plan Plan Check Submittal / Pick-Up
- Business License Application
- City Clerk / Records Management
- Engineering: Encroachment Permit
- Engineering: Plan Check Submittal / Pick-Up
- Fire: Plan Check Submittal / Pick-Up
- Planning: Plan Check Submittal / Pick-Up
County of San Bernardino Business Reopening Plan Template
In order to support the safety of employees and customers as the local economy begins to recover with the reopening of businesses from the COVID-19 pandemic, each business shall establish a risk mitigation “Business Operation Plan” (Plan) and shall maintain each plan at their business location.
The Business Reopening Plan template is a checklist intended to provide businesses with the most up-to-date information and guidance as they reopen.
Businesses are encouraged to complete the Reopening Plan, for each business location if applicable. Utilize the Reopening Plan as a guide for staff training and education. It's encouraged that businesses post the Reopening Plan onsite near the front entryway in a location that is visible and accessible to both staff and customers as a way to demonstrate compliance with State and County safety guidelines. Lastly, all businesses should review the plan on a regular basis to ensure that it remains current as guidance is adjusted by the State and County.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Guide to PPP Loan Forgiveness
Under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by the CARES Act, loans may be forgiven if borrowers use the proceeds to maintain their payrolls and pay other specified expenses.
Congress recently changed the rules regarding loan forgiveness. The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration are responsible for updating the application form and instructions for loan forgiveness. You can find the most up-to-date information here.
PPP borrowers must apply for loan forgiveness with the lender that processed the loan.
This guide is designed to help borrowers understand the process by which their loan forgiveness amount will be calculated and the overall approach of the loan forgiveness process.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Coronavirus Emergency Loans, Small Business Guide and Checklist
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses.
Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.
The administration’s PPP program guidelines can be found at www.treasury.gov, and the U.S. Small Business Administration's search tool to find a bank that offers PPP loans can be found at www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection/find.
Small Business Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.
- For a top-line overview of the program CLICK HERE
- If you’re a lender, more information can be found HERE
- If you’re a borrower, more information can be found HERE
- The application for borrowers can be found HERE
Small Business Development Center COVID-19 Resources for Your Business
Because of vastly changing concerns regarding coronavirus, small businesses across America have been facing extreme adversity for the past few weeks. That is why the mission at the Orange County Inland Empire Small Business Development Center is to ensure the success of small business that have been negatively impacted by this disease and the regulations that have come along with it. Take a look at the Services and Resources to see what you can do to help your business prosper.
- COVID-19 Resources Download the The Latest News and Resources - This resource guide provides information and FAQs about Employment Development Department (EDD) resources, SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, their SBDC Finance Center and how they can help your business – and so much more! Download Now
- Restaurant Opening Resource Guide - Read our guide to see what steps you need to take before and after opening your restaurant in order to comply with regulations and maintain your customers and employees safe. Download Now
- How to Keep Your Restaurant Running and Successful Resource Guide - This guide for restaurateurs will go over some practices that can be implemented to streamline operations given the new reality we’re currently facing. Download Now
- 5 Strategies to Keep Your Business Healthy During Interruptions Resource Guide - Take a look at five tips you can implement to keep your business running and healthy during interruptions. Download Now
- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Resource Guide - The U.S Small Business Administration now has the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) available to business owners. This guide will take you through the most frequently asked questions regarding the loan. Download Now
- COVID-19 Video Guides - Watch the SBDC's step by step video guides on how to complete various SBA forms needed for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and other topics like driving sales online. Watch them here.
San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board COVID-19 Resources
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB) is instituting proactive measures to protect the health and safety of its employees, job seekers, and the businesses it serves.
This resource guide provides links to critical resources and services available to businesses and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The WDB is working closely with its business and economic development partners to gauge specific needs within the county, and will update this information as it becomes available. Click here for the Resource Guide.
California Coronavirus Response Resilience Roadmap
Californians have been staying home and saving lives since the start of our statewide stay-at-home order issued on March 19, 2020. These efforts have allowed the state to move forward on our roadmap for modifying the statewide order.
California moved into Stage 2 of modifying the state’s Stay-at-Home order on May 8, 2020. Our progress in achieving key public health metrics will allow a gradual re-opening of California’s economy.
We recognize the impact of economic hardship. We must get our economy roaring once again and put paychecks in people’s pockets. But the risk of COVID-19 infection is still real for all Californians and continues to be fatal.
That is why every business should take every step humanly possible to reduce the risk of infection:
- Plan and prepare for re-opening
- Make radical changes within the workplace
- Adjust practices by employees and help educate customers
Below are Guidelines for businesses to follow, if they’re permitted to open. The goal is a safer, environment for workers and customers. Businesses may use effective alternative or innovative methods to build upon the Guidelines.
Review the guidance that is relevant to your workplace, prepare a plan based on the guidance for your industry, and put it into action.
When complete, you can post the industry-specific checklist (below) in your workplace to show your customers and your employees that you’ve reduced the risk and are open for business.
Before reopening, all facilities must:
- Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan
- Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them
- Implement individual control measures and screenings
- Implement disinfecting protocols
- Implement physical distancing guidelines
Before re-opening, all facilities must first perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan. Adaptations need to be made before Stage 2 workplaces can open – currently that includes modifications like curbside pickup at retail locations.
Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) COVID-19 Resources
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development has compiled helpful information for employers, employees and all Californians as it relates to the cornonavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Click here to access this site which includes links on how to support employers and employees who are susceptible to the virus’ disruption.
California State Treasurer Fiona Ma's COVID-19 Small Biz Resource List
California State Treasurer Ma has prepared a resources list for small businesses in light of the evolving COVID-19 situation. Click here for the COVID-19 Resources Page.
Additional Employee/Employer Resources
Below are links to a variety of sources that may be of assistance to you. We encourage you to review each one. There's a brief description of what you will find before clicking through.
Employment Development Department
Employment-related Q&A for both Workers and EmployersVisit Page
Labor & Workforce Development Agency
Guidance for Employers and Workers, Paid Sick Leave, Family Leave, UnemploymentVisit Page
Internal Revenue Service
Tax Relief and GuidanceVisit Page
Small Business Administration
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, SBA Products and ResourcesVisit Page
Southern California Edison
Tools & Resources for BusinessesVisit Page
Centers for Disease Control
What You Need to Know, How to Protect YourselfVisit Page
California Department of Public Health
Public Health and GuidanceVisit Page
City of Ontario
Local actions regarding COVID-19 CoronavirusVisit Page
San Bernardino County
County actions regarding COVID-19 CoronavirusVisit Page
CalChamber News, Federal, State and Local ResourcesVisit Page
US Chamber of Commerce
Resources & Guidelines for Business, Business Preparedness ChecklistVisit Page
Greater Ontario Business Council
Information & ResourcesVisit Page