Important updates to businesses, nonprofits, independent contractors and our partner organizations
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August 7, 2020

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Periodically, the City of Oakland’s Economic & Workforce Development Department will send important updates to businesses, nonprofits, independent contractors and our partner organizations who support them. These are just highlights of available resources. For information on all of the support programs available, please visit our Business & Worker Resource web page.

While the Governor announced plans for opening of outdoor salons last week, the current Alameda County Health Order does not allow salons, barbershops and personal services (nails, tattoos and massage) to operate. Local orders prevail in areas where they are more restrictive than the State order. See the Health Order’s Appendix C for permitted businesses and activities. 

With hospitalizations on the rise in Alameda County, we remain focused on the shared goal of ensuring that we re-open in a manner that is safe and sustainable for businesses, their employees, and our community as a whole.

Resources for Re-Opening
Visit the City’s Planning Resources for Business Re-Opening website for the latest information on resources to support re-opening, including County screening guidance for employers in multiple languages, information on cleaning/disinfecting, a printable face covering sign for businesses in eight languages and the newly created ReOpening Guide signs by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Oaklandish and the Economic Recovery Advisory Council, 11” x 17” signs for download in four languages.

To help the City gauge COVID-19 impacts to your business and what resources would help, please take our brief Business Re-opening and Recovery Survey.

Low-Interest Loans for Businesses Damaged during Protests
Low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are now available to businesses and nonprofits that were damaged during protests since May 26, 2020.

For businesses of any size and private nonprofits that suffered uninsured damage to their building, inventory, supplies or equipment, a Physical Disaster Loan of up to $2 million can help repair windows and doors and replace stolen merchandise. The deadline to apply for Physical Disaster Loans is September 16, 2020.

Working capital loans in the form of Economic Injury Disaster Loans help small businesses and most private nonprofits meet ordinary and necessary financial obligations (i.e., rent, utilities, payroll, etc.) that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. The deadline to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is March 17, 2021.

Interest rates can be as low as 3% for businesses and 2.75% for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Fact sheets in multiple languages have details on interest rates, loan terms, and application requirements and are posted on the City’s website at:

Need help applying? The SBA has established a virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center that operates from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Assistance is available in multiple languages. Contact the Outreach Center at:
  ·  (916) 735-1500

The Disaster Loan Outreach Center and the two loan products are only available to businesses impacted by the civil unrest that began May 26, 2020, and not for COVID-19 related assistance.

Application Deadline for Payroll Protection Program is August 8
The deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan is Saturday, August 8, 2020. SBA data shows that more than 6,700 Oakland businesses were approved for PPP loans. If you have not yet applied, please do so today through a participating lender. If you’ve been turned down by one lender, please reach out to another participating lender today. 
·         Use the SBA’s find-a-lender tool at
·         Check out this roster of local partners
·         Call the Business Assistance Center at (510) 238-7398
These are forgivable loans to keep employees on payroll and maintain salary levels. If you’ve already laid off your employees, this loan provides the opportunity to hire them back. Sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed may qualify for PPP loans.

City Streamlines Permitting for Use of Outdoor Retail, Dining
Since launch, about 180 businesses have applied for sidewalk and roadway encroachments using Flex Streets’ streamlined permitting process. The initiative’s goal is to spur equitable economic recovery by making it easier for retailers, restaurants and other allowed businesses to use larger portions of the sidewalk, parking lanes and streets by streamlining permitting requirements for five particular uses:
  ·  The Sidewalk or Parking Lane
  ·  A Traffic Lane
  ·  Private Parking Lots or Other Private Outdoor Areas
  ·  A Food Truck, Trailer or Pushcart
  · City-owned Outdoor Property

Use the public right-of-way for extra seating, expanded merchandise displays or customer queuing. We’re also waiving permit fees. The important step is to apply for the permit before you start, even for privately owned or leased outdoor spaces – including parking lots.

See instructions for each of the five particular uses at:

Help us gather community input on the Flex Streets Initiative. Print out and post a flyer for the text-based survey at:
Ongoing Business Support
A list of up-to-date resources, including information about worker benefits, grants, loans and support services for small businesses, nonprofits and independent contractors, can be found on the City of Oakland’s Business & Worker Resource web page. The site is updated regularly as more information becomes available, so please check it often. You are encouraged to: 
  ·  Take the COVID-19 Business Impact Data Survey, which services as the City’s intake pathway to request one-on-one business assistance

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