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February 11, 2022


اللغة العربیة       中文       Español       Tiếng Việt

This is an update from the City of Oakland’s Economic & Workforce Development Department (EWDD) for businesses, nonprofits, independent contractors and our partner organizations who support them. These are just highlights of available resources. For information about worker benefits, grants, loans and support services available, please visit our Business & Worker Resource web page. The site is updated regularly as more information becomes available, so please check it often.

Vaccinations and boosters remain the best protection against COVID-19, preventing most related hospitalizations and deaths. Alameda County has posted an Employer Vaccination Toolkit for businesses interested in supporting their employees in getting vaccinated.
State Mask Mandate Update
The State’s indoor masking requirement will expire after February 15 reverting to the previous guidance which requires masking for unvaccinated individuals in all indoor public settings and for all individuals regardless of vaccination status in higher risk settings like public transit and congregate living. Workplaces will continue to follow the COVID-19 prevention standards set by CalOSHA.

The State’s definitions for indoor and outdoor mega events will return to pre-surge guidance (from 500 to 1,000 attendees for indoor events, and 5,000 to 10,000 attendees for outdoor events) after February 15.

Indoor masking is still required by the State for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in public transportation; health care settings; congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters; long-term care facilities; and in K-12 schools and childcare settings.

Unvaccinated individuals over age 2 will continue to be required to wear masks in all indoor public settings. Businesses, venue operators and hosts may determine their own paths forward to protect staff and patrons and may choose to require all patrons to wear masks.

Alameda County and most other Bay Area counties will align with the State and lift universal mask requirements for most indoor public settings beginning Wednesday, February 16. Bay Area health officers continue to strongly recommend that masks be used as an effective tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19 – especially when case rates are high. Continuing to mask in indoor public settings, especially crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, remains the safest choice for an individual and protects those who are medically vulnerable or are not able to get vaccinated, like our youngest children.
Launch of Neighborhood Business Assistance
Following a four-month pilot program, the City’s Economic & Workforce Development Department has rebranded and officially launched a permanent business support program in Oakland’s neighborhoods. The newly named Neighborhood Business Assistance program has added a sixth location and opened appointment dates through June 2022. Appointments can be booked online at oaklandca.gov/BizHelp or by calling (510) 238-7398.

The six locations for the Neighborhood Business Assistance program are:
  • 81st Avenue Library (every other Tuesday evening)
  • César E. Chávez Library (every other Wednesday evening)
  • Downtown’s Dalziel Building (every other Wednesday morning)
  • Eastmont Library (every other Friday afternoon)
  • Golden Gate Library (every other Thursday morning)
  • West Oakland Library (every other Monday morning)

Neighborhood Business Assistance appointments continue to be by reservation only at oaklandca.gov/BizHelp. Just click the “Visit the scheduling page” link and select a location to view available times. Non-English speakers, those without Internet access, or anyone who needs assistance can also make an appointment by calling (510) 238-7398.
New Loan Product Available
Zero-interest loans for low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs and businesses in low- to moderate-income areas of Oakland are available through Main Street Launch. Loan amounts up to $50,000 with terms up to 5 years may be used to buy furniture and equipment, to purchase inventory, for working capital, to refinance high-interest business debt and to pay startup expenses. No minimum credit score requirement. Complete the loan inquiry form to start the process.
Register for Oakland Restaurant Week Promotion
Oakland Restaurant Week (ORW), hosted by Visit Oakland, will run from March 18 to 27 and restaurants are invited to join. Whether your restaurant has a special offer, custom menu or unique dish, Visit Oakland wants to hear from you. Send an email by Tuesday, March 8, to Jaymee Rayford (jaymee@visitoakland.com) with your contact name, email, restaurant name and address, a photo of your food or restaurant, and details on your offer, menu or dish for ORW.
The Town Love Social Media Contest runs through February
Show your love for Oakland’s food, culture and community by celebrating Valentine’s Day all month long at participating Dining for Justice restaurants and help feed Oakland’s most vulnerable residents. Be sure to upload a selfie to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter by February 28 for a chance to win a pair of Southwest Airlines tickets through The Town Love Contest sponsored by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. See Rules and Conditions. Oakland restaurants can join more than 30 businesses already participating in Community Kitchen’s Dining For Justice by committing to the restaurant pledge.
Oakland Proof of Vaccination Requirements
Starting February 1, people 12 and older are required to show proof that they have been vaccinated to enter many indoor facilities in Oakland, like:
  • Establishments or events where food or drink is served including restaurants, bars, coffee houses, clubs, and banquet halls
  • Entertainment venues including theaters, concert venues, museums, and recreation facilities
  • Gyms, fitness centers and yoga studios
  • Senior adult care facilities and City senior programs
  • Large indoor events at City- and privately-owned facilities

For those 18 and older, the vaccination card must be cross-checked with the individual’s photo ID. Business were required to post a notice by January 15, 2022.

The emergency ordinance adopted by City Council, FAQs, the protocol template for businesses and other details are at: www.oaklandca.gov/VaxOrdinance.
Franchise Funds Cohort Application Live
The Golden State Warriors and United Airlines are partnering to support Bay Area minority-owned small businesses by helping them become officially certified as Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs).

Official certification as an MBE generates incremental business exposure and significant revenue-generating opportunities. However, understanding how to achieve and retain certification amidst other obstacles like cost and support prevents many businesses from pursuing this accreditation.

Businesses are encouraged to apply by Saturday, March 5 for training, funds, and resources. Through this initiative, a cohort of 25 minority-owned businesses will receive the necessary support to complete official MBE certification and “Corporate Ready” designation. For a video explaining Franchise Funds, click here. Learn more and apply at nba.com/warriors/franchisefund.
Get Involved in the General Plan Update
Help shape the City of Oakland’s General Plan Update by participating in upcoming community meetings. This once-in-a-generation opportunity for all Oaklanders to create a visionary blueprint together that will inform policy priorities through 2045. Visit the General Plan Update web page for a roster of events and meetings and don’t forget to sign up for updates.
Take the Oakland Chamber’s Small Business Survey & Receive FREE limited Chamber membership for 2022
To better serve Oakland’s small businesses during this crucial time of COVID recovery, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is gathering data about the current challenges and ongoing impacts of COVID on Oakland's small business community. Please fill out this survey (only 10 short questions!) to help ensure that programming and resources offered align with the needs of Oakland small businesses.

*BONUS*: All small (under 20 employees) brick-and-mortar businesses who complete this survey will receive a FREE limited membership to the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce for the remainder of 2022, with benefits of an online listing, promotion, access to other Chamber members, invitations to Chamber events and programming, and updates on public policy.

For questions or inquiries, please email Shifra de Benedictis-Kessner, the Oakland Chamber’s Director of Small Business and Workforce.
Commercial Electric Kitchen Rebate
To support the state’s and City’s ambitious climate goals, East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) is offering rebates of up to $17,500 to its customers who upgrade to an electric kitchen. Available on a first-come, first-served basis, the rebates cover induction and electrical materials and equipment. See the Rebate Fact Sheet and apply at https://ebce.org/commercial-kitchens/.
Waste Prevention Grants – Apply by February 25
StopWaste is offering grants with a total of $700,000 available in funding, for projects that focus on preventing waste in Alameda County and supporting local communities in these categories:
  • Reuse & Repair (up to $20,000)
  • Food Waste Prevention & Recovery (up to $20,000)
  • Reusable Foodware Pilot Projects ($5,000 to $50,000)
  • Surplus Food Donation Equipment (nonprofits only, up to $10,000)
  • Reusable Transport Packaging (up to $10,000)

Businesses, nonprofits and institutions are eligible for funding, unless noted otherwise. For details visit www.StopWaste.org/Grants. Application deadline is February 25, 2022.
Resources for Re-Opening
Upcoming Online Workshops & Webinars
Below is a sampling of upcoming workshops and webinars. See additional listings and check for last-minute additions at: https://www.oaklandca.gov/resources/webinars-for-businesses-nonprofits-and-independent-contractors

Virtual Lawyers in the Library
Tuesday evenings, Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons
Oakland Public Library
Free

Future-Proof your Partnerships: Navigating the New World of Business–Nonprofit Alliances
Tuesday, February 15, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
Free

Economic Incentives/Tax Credits for California Manufacturers
Tuesday, February 15, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.
CMTC and the CA Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)
Free

Marketing for your Small Business
Tuesday, February 15, 10:30 a.m. – Noon
NorCal SBDC
Free

Financial Bootcamp Part 3
Wednesday, February 16, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
NorCal SBDC
Free

Virtual Legal Clinic
Thursday, February 17, 4 – 6 p.m.
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
Free

Digital Marketing on a Budget: An Overview for Small Businesses
Tuesday, February 22, 10 – 11 a.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Free

Using Crowdfunding to Fund New Innovations or Small Businesses
Tuesday, February 22, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
NorCal SBDC
Free

Is NOT Having a Website Costing You Money? Create One Yourself! (Part 1)
Tuesday, February 22, 2 – 3 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Free

Supporting Black-Owned Businesses in the Bay Area
Wednesday, February 23, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Working Solutions
Free

Is NOT having a Website Costing You Money? Create One Yourself! (PART2)
Wednesday, February 23, 10:30 a.m. – Noon
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Free

COVID Impacted Businesses! Still Looking for Money?
Wednesday, February 23, 3 – 4 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Free

ADA Compliance (in multiple languages)
Wednesday, February 23, 3 – 4 p.m.
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
Free

Build Generational Wealth
Thursday, February 24, 6 p.m.
Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce
Free

Digital Marketing on a Budget: An Overview for Small Businesses
Thursday, February 24, 6 – 7 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Free

Global Diversity and Investment Summit
Friday, February 25, 10 a.m. – Noon
NorCal SBDC
Free

Is NOT having a Website Costing You Money? Create One Yourself! (PART2)
Friday, February 25, Noon – 1:30 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Free

Digital Marketing on a Budget: An Overview for Small Businesses
Monday, February 28,  2 – 3 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Free

How to Sell at a Farmers’ Market
Monday, February 28, 2 – 4 p.m.
NorCal SBDC
Free

Bankruptcy Webinar (English & Spanish)
Tuesday, March 8, 3 – 4 p.m.
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
Free
 
 

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