Businesses & Employees

 

Shelter in Place Order’s Effects On Workers and Businesses:

  • Essential business grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and hospitals, as well as public transportation including BART will remain open. Restaurants will remain open, but only for takeout and delivery.
  • Non-essential business All non-essential gatherings of any size are now banned, along with any non-essential travel.
  • Essential/Non-Essential Workers: Everyone is being asked to work from home or stop work unless their work is an essential service such as healthcare workers, public safety, utility providers and sanitation workers. Day care centers may remain open (with certain restrictions).

Contra Costa County has provided a Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet on its webpage and opened a hotline for those with questions about the order: 1-844-729-8410

Alameda County has also provided a Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet.

Governor Newsom has released a guideline for what constitutes an essential business or employee at https://covid19.ca.gov/img/EssentialCriticalInfrastructureWorkers.pdf

Contra Costa has opened a small business hotline to help businesses navigate state/federal/local resources available to help them through the pandemic. Call 1-833-320-1919  M-F 8:30-5

Unemployment Insurance

Federal CARES Act: The bill expands unemployment insurance benefits by 13 weeks and includes a four-month enhancement of benefits. Those eligible will receive an additional $600 per week from the federal government, in addition to any CA unemployment insurance benefits they receive. Notably, the bill makes these benefits available to independent contractors and the self-employed.  

 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program: This is a newly available emergency unemployment assistance program under the federal CARES Act.  PUA provides assistance for unemployed or partially unemployed individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance and who are unable or unavailable to work due to COVID-19 related circumstances. Covered individuals include: Independent contractors, self-employed, those without sufficient work history, those who have exhausted their regualr UI benefits. 

 

EDD will be accepting on-line applications for this program beginning on Tuesday, April 28. 

 

Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order which waives the one-week waiting period for people who are unemployed and/or disabled as a result of COVID-19.

The California Employment Development Department announced support services to individuals affected by COVID-19 in California who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19.  Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 can file a Disability Insurance claim. Californians who are unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 can file a Paid Family Leave claim.

Employment Development Department (EDD) will launch a new call center on April 20 that will operate seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Unemployment Insurance Branch will be upstaffed with 1,340 employees, including 740 EDD employees and 600 employees from across state government.

The State of California has launched Onward CA  a one-stop resource for people impacted by job loss during the COVID-19 pandemic. I encourage you to see what opportunities might be available to you! 

 

Work Sharing Program

Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services because of the coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the UI Work Sharing Program. 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 UI benefit amount based on the percentage of hours and wages reduced, not to exceed 60 percent.

Visit the EDD’s Work Sharing Program website to learn more about its benefits for employers and employees, and how to apply.

 

Tax Relief

Note: If you believe you are owed money from either the State or Federal government, I encourage you to file as soon as you can to receive your refund. July 15, 2020. Both State and Federal tax deadlines have moved to

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced updated special tax relief for all California taxpayers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit its webpage

until July 15, 2020, for up to $1 million of their 2019 tax due. This payment relief applies to all individual returns, including self-employed individuals, and all entities other than C-Corporations, such as trusts or estates. IRS will automatically provide this relief to taxpayers. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this relief.are being automatically extended. Individuals: Income tax payment deadlines for individual returns, with a due date of April 15, 2020,

 

IRS has temporarily closed all Taxpayer Assistance Centers and discontinued face-to-face service throughout the country until further notice. The IRS is continuing to process tax returns, issue refunds and help taxpayers to the greatest extent possible. For more information, visit the IRS

webpage.

 

Worker Safety Guidance

The California Labor Commissioner has provided a comprehensive website for resources related to COVID-19. 

The California Department of Industrial Relations has provided guidance on requirements on how to protect workers.

 

Small Business Loan Programs

 

Federal Government Small Business Relief

The Federal Government, through the CARES Stimulus Bills, has made money available to small business through SBA grants, loans, credits, and deferred taxes. The stimulus bill includes but is not limited to: SBA forgivable loans up to $10,000,000, SBA emergency grants up to $10,000, retirement withdrawals without penalty up to $100,000, SBA disaster loans up to $2,000,000, employee retention credits up to $10,000/employee, and some deferred taxes. See the below links for details and remember to contact your lender:

SBA Disaster Loan

SBA Forgivable Payroll Loan

SBA Local Assistance

 

California Government Small Business Relief

Governor Newsom announced that the state is allocating $50 million to the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank for loan guarantees to small businesses to help eliminate barriers to capital for individuals who do not qualify for federal funds, including low wealth and undocumented immigrant communities. The state is also allowing small businesses to defer payment of sales and use taxes of up to $50,000, for up to 12 months.

Apply for CA's $50 million in Small Business Loans

 

Small Business Administration Information

Contra Costa County and Alameda County have both been approved by the federal government for U.S. Small Business Administration loans  .

  •      Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications by visiting their website.
  •     Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

Visit the Alameda County Small Business Development Center website 

Visit the Contra Costa County Small Business Development Center website 

 

The California State Treasurer has also compiled a comprehensive list of resources for small businesses.

 

Local Chambers of Commerce Resources

  • Moraga: http://www.moragachamber.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=256:small-business-disaster-loan&catid=1:info
  • Orinda: https://orindachamber.org/item/138-covid-19-resources
  • Lafayette: https://lafayettechamber.org/coronavirus-update-business-could-take-a-real-hit/
  • Walnut Creek: https://walnut-creek.com/covid-19-resources
  • Danville: https://danvilleareachamber.com/
  • San Ramon: https://sanramon.org/
  • Dublin: http://www.dublinchamberofcommerce.org/
  • Pleasanton: https://www.pleasanton.org/
  • Livermore: https://livermoreupdates.com/ 

Questions about Insurance   

For businesses or consumers with insurance-related questions, the CA Department of Insurance’s consumer hotline at 1-800-927-4357 continues to be available from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM to help California consumers and businesses with their urgent insurance issues and answer questions you may have.

The Department’s new site is being updated continually: http://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/140-catastrophes/Coronavirus.cfm   

Covered California Enrollment Extension

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic Covered California is expanding its Special Enrollment Period.  Effective immediately, anyone who is uninsured and meets eligibility requirements for health care coverage through Covered California can sign up through June 30, 2020.  Financial assistance is available with more financial help through new state subsidies available for qualified low- and middle-income consumers. Visit their website for more information: https://apply.coveredca.com/lw-shopandcompare/ 

State Actions to Protect and Support Employees

  • March 20thCovered California announced it will extend the open enrollment deadline to June 30, effective immediately. Those who recently lost coverage can check its website to determine their eligibility for subsidies and Medi-Cal.

  • March 18th The State Controller announced it has postponed the deadline for filing state tax returns until JULY 15, 2020.  [Please note that the deadline had previously been extended by the Franchise Tax Board to June 15, 2020.]

  • March 16th The Small Business Administration approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration for California, which makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of the state (including Alameda and Contra Costa County) to help alleviate economic injury caused by COVID-19.

  • March 11th Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order which waives the one-week waiting period for people who are unemployed and/or disabled as a result of COVID-19.

  • March 5th The California Employment Development Department announced support services for individuals affected by COVID-19 in California who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19.  Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 can file a Disability Insurance claim. Californians who are unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 can file a Paid Family Leave claim.

 

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