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.
  • To check what's open and what restrictions are in place, CLICK HERE.
  • For information from the state about testing, tiers, and industry guidelines, CLICK HERE.

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.

Business Prevent the Spread Poster thumbnail Opens in new window

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:

Request a Designated 15-Minute Curbside Pickup Parking Space

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.


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:

For Employees


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.

Auto DealershipsGuidanceChecklist
Delivery ServicesGuidance
Food PackingGuidanceChecklist
Hotels and LodgingGuidanceChecklist
Life SciencesGuidanceChecklist
Logistics and WarehousingGuidanceChecklist
Office WorkspaceGuidanceChecklist
Private Venues and EventsGuidance
Indoor Seated Live Events and Performances
Outdoor Seated Live Events and Performances
Real Estate InteractionsGuidance



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. 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:
  • 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.


  • 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
    • 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.