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Resources for Businesses

Federal, state and local assistance programs are available to small business owners, employers, employees and residents. The County is organizing the information and will continue to provide updates as new programs and policies are announced.

As the spread and impact of COVID-19 is still an unknown, it is recommended that employers and self-employed individuals to take the following action steps:

  1. CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER – Do you have business interruption insurance? If so, you may have coverage that supplements any income or sales loss during this time.
  2. TRACK LOSSES – During moments of disruption it is important to track any loss your business may have incurred as programs designed to assist cash flow needs and access to capital depend on accurate counts of economic injury or production loss.
  3. DO YOU HAVE PERFORMANCE-BASED CONTRACTS WITH YOUR SUPPLIERS OR CUSTOMERS? – reviewing your current contracts and obligations will clarify limitations of liability and force majeure.
  4. HAS YOUR BUSINESS EXPERIENCED DISRUPTION OR CONCERN IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS?
  • Supply chain disruption and liability
  • Questions or concerns about the implications of tariffs
  • Technology plans for setting up remote work stations for employees
  • Concerns about cash flow during disruption
  • Concerns about credit and finance issues
  • Concerns about force majeure
  1. BUSINESS SUPPORT AVAILABLE

For businesses that have experienced the following concerns or disruptions, you can contact us for assistance at COVIDbiz@countyofsb.org.

Visit and register (when applicable) with the following websites to keep up to date with the latest news and information related to COVID-19.

County of Santa Barbara – www.countyofsb.org
Santa Barbara County Public Health – publichealthsbc.org
California Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development- business.ca.gov/coronavirus-2019
California Department of Public Health  – www.cdph.ca.gov
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov
Santa Barbara County ReadySBC for businesses and affected workers – www.readysbc.org/economicrecovery/

If you are a business owner or Human Resources representative for an employer considering work stoppages, layoffs or furloughs, we encourage you to email the County’s Workforce Development Board (WDB) Business Services Strategist, Alma Janabajab at alma@sbcwdb.org. WDB will get back to you within one business day to discuss information and services that may assist impacted employees, including Unemployment Insurance information, tax assistance, Work Sharing program to avoid layoffs, financial planning, remote career services and more.

WDB can offer your affected workers a webinar full of information and resources on how to file for unemployment insurance, how to get re-employed as soon as possible, and options regarding retirement assets and health insurance.

On March 4, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-31-20 to ease the regulatory burden on employers who had to close before being able to provide employees advanced notice related to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN).

Labor Code sections pertaining mass layoff, relocation and termination, which normally requires a 60 day notice, have been temporarily suspended due to this emergency and now only require as much notice as is practicable is provided, and when the notice is given, a brief statement regarding the basis for reducing the notification period is included.

Work Share Program
Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the Coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the UI Work Sharing Program through the EDD. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs – retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with UI benefits.

Workers of employers who are approved to participate in the Work Sharing Program receive the percentage of their weekly Unemployment Insurance benefit amount based on the percentage of hours and wages reduced, not to exceed 60 percent.

Visit the Work Sharing Program to learn more about its benefits for employers and employees, and how to apply. As of May 12, 2020 a new online Work Sharing Plan Application system is available for employers to submit an online Work Sharing (WS) Unemployment Insurance Plan Application, DE 8686 application.  Submitting a WS application online is faster and more convenient way to submit the DE 8686.

 

Extension Filing Payroll Tax
Employers statewide directly affected by the new coronavirus (COVID-19) may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return.  For more information about how to request an extension and other employer assistance available, visit Emergency and Disaster Assistance for Employers.  You can also learn about assistance available through the Internal Revenue Service’s Help During Disasters web page.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

As of March 27, 2020 the SBA no longer is using the online application system and instead requires you to download the forms, complete and upload on their website (see link for more info) https://disasterloan.sba.gov/apply-for-disaster-loan/index.html

It appears there are now three primary forms required, with the others being based on the loan officer’s discretion for your case.

  1. Business Loan Application (Form 5) (en Español)
  2. Home or Sole Proprietor Loan Application (SBA Form 5C) (en Español)
  3. Economic Injury Disaster Loan Supporting Information (Form P-019)

As of April 16, 2020 the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Emergency Advance loan has exhausted its resources as well as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  Additional resources is being considered and this website will be updated once information is received.

 

Economic Development Collaborative (EDC) Disaster Loan Fund

Economic Development Collaborative (EDC) is offering low interest micro loans from $5,000­-$50,000 through our Disaster Loan Fund to give a cash flow boost to businesses impacted by reduced sales, supply chain disruption or other challenges related to COVI D-19. Contact Marvin Boateng, Lending Manager to apply or for additional assistance navigating access to capital. Email marvin@edcollaborative.com or call (805) 409-9158. EDC also offers no cost business consulting for businesses affected by COVID-19.  EDC Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Advisors can assist by providing guidance during this time.  Contact the EDC office at 805.409.9159 to request an appointment.  You can also visit the EDC website at edcollaborative.com.

 

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV)

WEV is offering a Quick Response Loan Program to provide financial support of up to $10,000 and assistance to businesses experiencing economic hardship as a result of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. For WEV existing loans, you can apply for a WEV Quick Response Loan to request deferment for up to three payments. Please visit the WEV website for more information. Contact Marni Brook at mbrook@wevonline.org or Marta Quintero at mquintero@wevonline.org for more information.

 

Santa Barbara Foundation, Hutton Parker Foundation, and United Way

The Santa Barbara Foundation and Hutton Parker Foundation will provide grants up to $25,000 to nonprofit organizations serving all regions of Santa Barbara County. United Way of Santa Barbara County will be providing grants to individuals for those disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of the pandemic. The Santa Barbara Foundation, United Way of Santa Barbara County and Hutton Parker Foundation are leading a countywide collaborative with members of the Foundation Roundtable to provide assistance to individuals as well as organizations actively engaged in assistance efforts for members of the community affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Government-Backed Loan Programs

Government-backed loan programs are available, including special disaster assistance at the state and federal levels:

  • Small Business Finance Center partners with Financial Development Corporations to provide loan guarantees and direct loans for small businesses that experience capital access barriers. Below are two programs:
    • Jump Start Loan Program: California IBank has a Small Business Loan Guarantee Program for loans up to $1 million and a JumpStart micro lending program for loans up to $10,000 with accommodations for disasters.  The program is run through local mission based lenders, the Financial Development Corporations:
    • Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program (DRLGP): Loan guarantees up to 95% of the loan for small business borrowers impacted by disasters who need term loans or lines of credit for working capital.
  • California Capital Access Program (CalCAP): California Treasurers Office has a small business loan program with special disaster assistance that is used extensively by the CDFI community: CalCAP

California’s network of small business support centers help businesses figure out which loans are best for them, develop resiliency strategies, and find other resources. These centers are deployed to respond in disasters (PDF here).

CA Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development COVID-19 Business Resources

The California’s Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development has released information on their website for employees and employers impacted by COVID-19. Visit their website for more information.

Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) Guidance for Employers and Workers

The LWDA has a guidance to make it easier and spread awareness through this centralized source of information on the LWDA website to help determine what is best for the businesses, their employees, and their family.

California Employment Development Department (EDD) COVID-19 Online Resources

The State of California EDD provides a variety of support services affected by COVID-19 in California.  The EDD website offers many services online for businesses and employees.

SBA COVID-19 Business Guide

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has released a comprehensive guide to help businesses plan and respond to the current COVID-19 threat. Visit the SBA website for more information.

CDC COVID-19 Business Guide

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have created an interim guide based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For access to the full guide and more information, please visit the CDC website.

U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has information to help employers address the coronavirus pandemic.

America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network’s website is jam-packed with information and resources and they also have a booklet of business resources. SBDC represents America’s nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) – the most comprehensive small business assistance network in the United States and its territories.

SBDCs are hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners, and funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Additional SBDC resources available are:

SCORE

SCORE Santa Barbara County is a federally funded arm of the Small Business Association created to mentor entrepreneurs, small businesses and create new jobs in our community. SCORE offers free business mentorship, workshops and interactive sessions to entrepreneurs and small businesses in Santa Barbara County. Areas of expertise includes marketing, sales guidance, taxes, bookkeeping, social media, digital marketing, tax help, legal support, online entrepreneurship, the start-up process, wholesale development, retail mentoring, warehousing, supply chain management, franchising and much more. SCORE mentors local businesses at no cost.  To learn more about SCORE, request  mentor, or volunteer to be a mentor please visit the SCORE website at santabarbara.score.org or our national website score.org.

Local Chambers of Commerce

Stay connected with your local Chamber of Commerce.  Chambers of Commerce are well connected with the business community and legislative and they all are collecting additional resources to assist businesses.    You can also subscribe to their newsletter for free to stay up-to-date on local information.

Buellton Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, www.buellton.org, 805.688.7829

Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce, www.carpinteriachamber.org, 805.684.5479

Goleta Chamber of Commerce, goletachamber.com, 805.967.2500

Lompoc Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, www.lompoc.com, 805.736.4567

Los Olivos Chamber of Commerce, www.losolivosca.com/about/lochamber/, 805.688.9049

Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, www.sbchamber.org, 805.965.3023

Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, santamaria.com, 805.925.2403

Solvang Chamber of Commerce, www.solvangcc.com, 805.688.0701

Open for Business

Businesses that are open during the Stay-at-Home orders, can reach out to the following to try to include their business with the list of those publicized:

Recorded COVID-19 Related Webinars

  • March 17, 2020 10 AM Funding Updates for California Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 webinar.  At Small Business Majority wants to provide helpresources and actions that business owners and entrepreneurs can be taking to handle the impact of COVID-19 on their business. Click here for presentation slides or for recorded webinar.
  • March 17 2020 4 PM “Understanding the SBA Disaster Loan Program” webinar.  California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO) Network has several resources posted on their website plus slides from their webinar.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic. The provisions of the program once operational include:

  • Up to 39 weeks of benefits starting with weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020, through the week ending December 31, 2020, depending on when you became directly impacted by the pandemic.
  • An additional $600 to each PUA weekly benefit amount you may be eligible to receive, as part of the separate CARES Act Pandemic Additional Compensation program. Only the weeks of a claim between March 29 and July 31 are eligible for the extra $600 payments.

As of April 16, the website now indicates the EDD will be accepting online applications for this program on Tuesday, April 28.  The EDD PUA website will be updated with instructions for filing a claim for PUA benefits when details become available.

Santa Barbara County Labor Market (unemployment) Data

On Friday, April 17 2020 the County released the Santa Barbara County Labor Market Data received from the State.  This report reflects the workforce numbers from March which is when we started to see the COVID-19 impact.  To read the report, click on 2020 March SBC Labor Market Data.

Waivers

California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has extended all driver licenses that expire between March and May 2020.  Click here for more detailed information.

Note: This information is not intended to be used as medical advice. Please contact your local health professional or visit the CDC website for further information.

President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America:  30 Days to Slow the Spread

The president recently released these simple guidelines to encourage all of us to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Actively encourage sick employees to stay home

Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.

Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.

Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non- punitive leave policies.

Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.

Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.

Separate sick employees

CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).

Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees

Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.

Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.

Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.

Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.

Visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.

Perform routine environmental cleaning

Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.

No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.

Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps

Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website. Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.

Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.

If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.

  • Is Santa Barbara now on the U.S. Small Business Administration List?
    • Yes, as of March 19 Santa Barbara County is now on the list.  Please choose Economic Injury Program
  • Southern California Edison (SCE) Has SCE decided to waive our monthly bill if we don’t have the money to pay for it?
    • On the SCE website, it states “We’re temporarily suspending service disconnections for nonpayment and waiving late fees by request.”  SCE encourages customers to contact the SCE Customer Contact Center and obtain information on their website or call 1-800-950-2356.
  • Assistance with Rent How do I get assistance with my rent?
    • You might want to explain your situation with your landlord and request to defer your payment
    • The County of Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance on March 24, 2020 to temporarily prohibit and suspend evictions until May 31, 2020.  Click here for more details.
  • Statewide Stay-at-Home Order
  • Property Tax
    • Property Tax Collection the California Association of County Treasurers and Tax Collectors (CACTTC) cannot change the April 10 deadline for the Second Installment of Property Taxes because critical county services, school and local financial obligations are dependent on those scheduled revenues although they can waive penalties, costs or other charges resulting from tax delinquency due to reasonable cause and circumstances due to COVID-19.  Payments must be made/postmarked before April 10.  Visit the local Treasurer and Tax Collectors website for more information at www.countyofsb.org/ttcpapg.
  • Independent Contractor/Self-Employed/Business Owner If I am an independent contractor, self-employed or a business owner, can I apply for unemployment due to COVID-19?
    • As an independent contractor or if you are self-employed you may have benefits from the California State Employment Development Department (EDD) employment insurance programs.  Visit the EDD website for more information.
    • The program is called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).  Because PUA is brand new, the State is still creating the system, forms, process, and procedures.  EDD just announced on their PUA website that it will be accepting applications for this program on Tuesday, April 28.  Please continue to visit the EDD PUA website often for updates.
    • If you’ve already applied and have been denied or continually see a zero balance, continue to check back to the EDD PUA website for updates.
  • Immediate Funding Relief How can I get immediate funding to help my business?
    • Small business owners are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Emergency Advance loan of up to $10,000 to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.  Funds will be available following a successful application and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
    • On April 16 the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website is indicating that they are currently unable to accept new applications for the PPP based on available appropriations funding.  In addition, they are also unable to enroll new PPP lenders at this time.

DOWNLOADABLE INFO GRAPHICS AND SIGNAGE FOR COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has made health and safety guidance and signage available for businesses seeking to reopen. These PDFs can be downloaded and printed. Signage can be placed in your place of business to alert customers of your efforts to secure the environment while ensuring the health and safety of your staff.

INFO GRAPHICS:

Signage:

Expanding Outdoor Dining, Bars and Barriers FAQs

Expanded outdoor dining can help provide extra seating while still maintaining social distancing requirements.

Ensure approval from your local jurisdiction before using sidewalks, parking spaces, parking lots or other areas as additional seating. You may require approval from your local Zoning, Planning, Public Works or other governing agency to use additional outdoor space.

Ensure the space you intend to use is contiguous with and immediately adjacent to your restaurant. Space you use for dining must be under your facility’s direct control and observation, and your staff should be able to easily monitor it and proactively ensure proper social distancing of your customers and the public. Outdoor dining that is separated from your restaurant by a road, additional open space, or other similar distance is not approved.

Outdoor dining areas must follow all the same social distancing, disinfection and COVID-19 risk reduction measures as indoor dining areas. You must follow your business plan for COVID-19 reduction and the State Guidance, as well as California Retail Food Code, in all of your outdoor dining areas.

Do not use outdoor areas that are located on unpaved surfaces where dust can be generated (dirt, gravel, etc.) or adjacent tothese areas (fields, dirt or gravel lots). Areas that are fully grassed, landscaped with low-dust ground cover (such as mulch or decomposed granite) or that are paved are appropriate for outdoor dining. For areas that are in the public right of way when not in use for dining, such as sidewalks, parking lots or roads, clean the area prior to,and after dining hours of operation to remove trash and to keep dust down.

Prevent and/or avoid flies and other vermin. Outdoor dining areas should not be used if there are significant numbers of flies, or near locations where flies are common (stables, livestock pens, etc.) If flies are an issue, close the outdoor space.

Keep server’s stations and all food preparation and storage inside. Server’s stations with water pitchers, utensils, dishes, condiments, complimentary appetizers such as bread or chips shall be kept inside the fully enclosed food facility at all times. These items may not be stored outdoors.

No. Bars and/or other establishments that serve only alcohol will reopen in Stage 3 in accordance with the Governor’s guidelines.

Restaurants and other food facilities that serve both food and alcohol may serve alcohol only when served with a meal and during the same transaction (No individual may consume alcohol on-site without also being served a meal for on-site consumption in the same transaction). Restaurants are permitted to serve alcohol for off-site consumption (growlers, to-go cocktails) with an ABC license that allows it, and also must be ordered with a meal. Breweries or wineries that have ABC licenses to sell of premise can continue to sell cans,bottles or growlers for take away without selling food.

No seating at the bar itself is allowed, as this is also a food preparation area.

Yes. If a facility serves only alcohol, they may contract with a food provider to provide meals to guests, so long as the meal and the alcohol provided are sold in the same transaction. These food providers may be either: o

  • A mobile food facility with a current health permit from Santa Barbara County
  • A caterer with a current health permit from Santa Barbara County IF the alcohol-selling facility has a Host Kitchen health permit from Santa Barbara County.
  • Please keep in mind that all foodservice, including food that is given away, must have a health permit from Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services.

No music or other entertainment may take place in a food facility,baror tasting room with food service arrangements at this time. Activities are restricted to food service only

Barriers should only be used when tables or chairs cannot be moved in order to provide the required social distancing of 6’ between diners (ie: for built-in booths or banquettes). Increasing the number of people in a space increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Restaurants should make every possible effort to space parties of people dining together at least 6’ away from other parties of diners, either by moving chairs / tables OR by leaving tables / chair unoccupied.

  • Smooth, durable, and easily cleanable.
  • Barriers must end no less than18 inches from the ceiling, or as otherwise required by the Fire Marshal, so that they do not interfere with fire-suppression sprinklers.
  • Safe for use, and anchored so that they do not pose hazards to those near them (such as during an earthquake, or by tipping over if bumped against)

The installation of any barriers may require a permit from the Building Department or the Health Department, depending on location; contact those agencies for review prior to installing. For example, if installation of barriers involves alterations of load bearing walls, plumbing or wiring may require a building permit.