Resources and Information for Business Owners and Workers
Guidelines on Temporary Tents & Canopies for Outdoor Dining & Business Operations
The Sonoma County Department of Health Services, the Sonoma County Fire Chiefs Association and Sonoma County Fire Prevention Officers Association have released guidelines for outdoor dining structures for meeting fire protection requirements and addressing COVID-19 safety needs. The guidelines were developed to clarify and supplement the general requirements within the State Blueprint for a Safer Economy for outdoor dining, bars, pubs, brewpubs, and breweries that operate outdoors in counties in the second least-restrictive orange tier. To see the Guidelines for Temporary Tents, Canopies and Membrane Structures for Outdoor Business Operations, CLICK HERE.
Current Allowable Activities
California has a 4-tier method for reducing COVID-19 in the state that can loosen or tighten restrictions on activities depending on the spread of the virus. Every county in California is assigned to one of four tiers based on its test positivity and adjusted case rate for tier assignment including metrics from the last three weeks, as well as overall vaccine distribution across the state. Placement in a given tier will determine what's closed and what's open, and the level of modifications required for open businesses and activities. The current risk level for the County of Sonoma is:
|Moderate indicates the second-lowest level of restrictions for allowable activities and business openings in the County.|
Expanded Sidewalk and Parklet Seating Programs for Santa Rosa Restaurants
The City of Santa Rosa has launched the Open & Out business program to activate additional outdoor seating in the public right-of-way. The Open & Out program allows for additional outdoor space and the creation of parklets for dining and seating following safe social distancing guidelines. Local restaurateurs may expand their outdoor seating by applying online for a permit. The new parklet program is modeled after similar programs in cities such as San Francisco and San Jose and allows businesses to expand their service area into the parking area of the street following the guidelines in the City’s Parklet policy. Read More & Apply
Social Distancing Protocol Signage for Posting in Business Facilities (for downloading)
The Sonoma County Public Health Officer’s amended Heath Order, which went into effect on June 19, now requires businesses to limit the number of people in the facility at any one time, require distancing in lines and face coverings inside, and provide multiple sanitizing measures. Additionally, businesses that are allowed to operate are required to prepare and post “Social Distancing Protocol” signage at or near their entrances. The City of Santa Rosa has prepared the following sign to help essential businesses meet this new signage requirement.
Parking and Curbside Pickup
To promote fast and easy curbside pickup for customers, short term parking spaces may be designated. If your business is offering retail or restaurant pickup in Downtown Santa Rosa or Railroad Square, you may request a parking space be designated as a 15-minute curbside pickup parking space by going here:
Government and Industry Resources
This list contains federal, state, local, and industry-specific resources for Santa Rosa business owners and their employees. These suggested resources may offer assistance to local businesses and employees during the current public health emergency.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT (2020 CARES ACT & 2021 AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN)
For Small Businesses
- U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDLs). Resumption of EIDL and Advance applications are being processed for businesses who received no or only a partial distribution. Applications still being reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Note that as of March 11, the SBA announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including Covid-19 EIDL program until 2022. For more information on EIDLs, go here.
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The SBA is accepting PPP applications from participating lenders. In addition, the program has expanded to include 501(c) and larger non-profits, 503(c)(3), and Internet-only news publishers or periodical publishers that all meet certain criteria. To apply and learn more, go here.
- Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant Program (Save Our Stages) The SBA has posted preliminary information about the Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant Program (Save Our Stages) on its website. SBA is not yet accepting applications, but any potential applicants should review and monitor this website for updates.
- Community Navigator Pilot Program. SBA is expanding its network and engaging with states, local governments, SBA resource partners, and other organizations for targeted outreach for small businesses in underserved communities. To ensure the Community Navigator Pilot Program reaches communities across the country in the coming months, SBA will soon be announcing a new grant funding opportunity that will be open to proposals from SBA resource partners, states, tribes, units of local governments, and other nonprofit organizations. For more information, go here.
- U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship
- Taxation Information
- The Employee Retention Credit under the CARES Act encourages businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.
- Under the CARES Act, loans obtained by employers under the PPP are eligible to be forgiven, in whole or in part, in an amount equal to certain qualifying expenditures made by the employer during the 8-week “covered period." The CARES Act provides that the amount of a PPP loan that is forgiven is excluded from an employer’s gross income, and therefore is not subject to income tax.
- The IRS addressed in Notice 2020-32 the topic of an employer claiming a tax deduction for the corresponding qualifying expenditures . The notice concludes that where an employer obtains forgiveness of an amount of a PPP loan, the employer may not claim a tax deduction for the eligible expenditures resulting in such forgiveness.
- Additional Resources For Small Businesses:
- CA Governor's Office and Business and Economic Development
- The $500 million COVID Relief Grant administered by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development for small businesses that have been impacted by COVID and the health and safety restrictions. Funds would 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 the first half of 2021. Non-profits would also be eligible for these grants. CalOSBA is establishing the program and will make it available to small businesses as soon as possible. For updates on availability visit here.
- CA Rebuilding Fund
- The California Rebuilding Fund is a public-private partnership that aggregates funding from private, philanthropic, and public sector sources to address the capital and advisory needs of California’s small businesses as they reopen and recover from the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. This program is built to serve the smallest of small businesses that make up an essential part of the California economy, and will focus on historically under-resourced communities.
- CA Department of Tax and Fee Administration
- From December 1, 2020, to January 15, 2021, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) accepted applications for tentative small business hiring credit reservation amounts through an online reservation system. Qualified small business employers must apply with the CDTFA for a credit reservation. The credit reservations will be allocated to qualified small business employers on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note, this credit only applies to California small businesses that meet the following qualifications: (1) Employed 100 or fewer employees as of December 31, 2019, and (2) suffered a 50 percent decrease or more in income tax gross receipts (generally, all income less returns and allowances), when comparing second quarter 2020 to second quarter 2019.
- CA Employment Development Department (EDD)
- Overview of Resources and Services
- Unemployment Insurance: How to File for Unemployment Insurance
- Disability Insurance: How to File a Disability Claim
- Paid Family Leave: How To File a Family Leave Claim
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program
- On April 28, the EDD began accepting online applications for this program. As part of the federal CARES Act, the new 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 UI benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic.
- CA Department of Labor and Workforce Development has a comprehensive list of links including:
- CA Department of Industrial Relations:
- CA Department of Public Health
- CA Public Utilities Commission
California Best Management Practices by Sector
Since every industry presents different challenges and circumstances for preventing the spread of COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health has created a series of guidance documents for select industry sectors to support a safe, clean environment for their workers. Click on a link below for more information about an industry sector. Refer to California’s Resilience Roadmap for more information.
|Hotels and Lodging||Guidance||Checklist|
|Logistics and Warehousing||Guidance||Checklist|
|Private Venues and Events||Guidance|
Indoor Seated Live Events and Performances
Outdoor Seated Live Events and Performances
|Real Estate Interactions||Guidance||Checklist|
- City of Santa Rosa Temporary Paid Sick Leave Ordinance in response to COVID-19
- Santa Rosa Metro Chamber Small Business Emergency Grants
- Northern California Small Business Development Center
- The local SBDC launched new phone and email services for businesses to get quick answers to financial questions, such as business loan options, filling out forms, and more:
- Napa-Sonoma SBDC is now offering a weekly live stream on the topic of Overcoming the Economic Shock due to COVID-19. These are LIVE Episodes for Small Businesses and provide Questions and Answers. Join the Live Stream on Facebook every Tuesday at 10 a.m. PST episodes in English and at 11 a.m. for episodes in Spanish.
- Napa-Sonoma SBDC is offering a series of FREE webinars during the months of July and August. Webinars in Spanish are also listed. Please check its calendar for current webinars.
- Sonoma County Economic Development Board Business Recovery Tools and Resources
- Requirements for Reopening / Requerido Para La Reapertura. This document outlines the five steps for business to reopen, self-certify with Sonoma Safe, and comply with state and local ordinances, health orders, and guidelines to create a Social Distancing Protocol & COVID-19 Site-Specific Plan in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- The EDB has recently contracted Dr. Robert Eyler, principal of Economic Forensics and Analytics, to conduct a thorough analysis of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sonoma County. The weekly survey is to hear from local business owners, executives and nonprofit organizations. Each of these surveys will be open for seven days. The data collected will be crucial in determining impacts, assessing resources needed, and creating policy for future events. The survey has 11 questions and takes about 5 minutes to complete.
- SoCo Launch: An online portal featuring all of the resources business owners need to safely and successfully reopen their businesses in accordance with the latest Public Health Order. It is aimed to help business owners understand at what point they may be able to reopen for consumers amidst the four phases outlined by the State of California.
- Sonama County Department of Health Services
- Sonoma County Job Link Resources
- For Businesses: For assistance with layoffs and layoff mitigation, the Sonoma County Job Link Business Services hotline number is (707) 565-8079. The Job Link Business Services email is firstname.lastname@example.org. This hotline and e-mail are staffed during the Shelter in Place. Be aware that due to call volume, you may need to leave a message. All calls Monday-Friday will be returned within 24 hours.
- For Employees: Sonoma County Job Link offers job seekers 18 years of age and up access to job search tools, career development services, labor market information and job referrals. Inquire about FREE, PAID job training and individualized job search assistance. During the Shelter in Place, Job Link staff can answer questions by phone about how to apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits. The phone number is (707) 565-5550.
- Creative Sonoma
SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCES
The Northern California Small Business Development Centers (SBDC’s) has implemented a new initiative as part of a continued effort to provide support to small businesses during these challenging times. ASKSBDC.com provides the most up-to-date, accurate information concerning COVID-19 and Cares Act resources for small businesses. Call the 833-ASK-SBDC (833-275-7232) toll-free hotline to speak with a dedicated call center staff ready to help your business get answers to questions and connected to the right resources.
- EIDL and PPP Updates
- Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:30 AM, join Scott Rogalski and Sunita Maharaj with the NorCal SBDC Finance Center Team as they discuss EIDL and PPP updates and information specific to reopening businesses in Northern California. Register at: NorCaSBDC.Zoom.us
- Ask an Attorney
- Bring your questions and learn key updates from experienced professionals and attorneys covering topics including PPP and unemployment, practical advice on borrowing, payroll issues and more. Thursdays at 4 PM via Zoom. Visit Ask an Attorney for more information.
PRIVATE SECTOR RESOURCES AND GRANT PROGRAMS
- Small Business Relief Initiative
- Intuit Quickbooks teamed up with GoFundMe and Yelp to launch the Small Business Relief Initiative to provide small business owners with the financial support and resources needed to continue running their businesses during and after the coronavirus crisis. Each company has donated $500,000 to start the fund, which will provide grants to small businesses across the United States, starting with the hardest hit areas. The fund will also issue $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 on GoFundMe.
- To be eligible, businesses cannot be national in scope or part of a chain or franchise, must be independently owned, and must meet GoFundMe’s terms of service.
- Yelp created a $25 million fund to provide relief to independently owned restaurant and nightlife businesses and franchisees with fewer than five locations in the form of waived advertising fees and free advertising, products, and services during this period.