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Important updates to businesses, nonprofits, independent contractors and our partner organizations
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.

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Prepare for Additional Funding for Payroll Protection Program
The second round of funding for the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) opened on Monday, April 27, and we are encouraging every Oakland business to apply. If your bank isn’t participating or turned you down, find a lender using the SBA’s find-a-lender tool at www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection/find or check out this roster of local partners.

If you are a Square, PayPal, or Intuit customer, they are now authorized lenders and you can apply for a forgivable PPP loan through their websites.

The PPP offers forgivable loans up to $10 million to keep employees on payroll or quickly rehire employees and maintain salary levels. To be forgiven, 75% of the loan must be used for payroll. Demand has been high, so don’t delay in submitting your application.

Sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed may also qualify. Even if your business is closed as a result of the Shelter in Place order, you may be able to use the Payroll Protection Program to rehire and retain employees and keep them on your payroll.

Need assistance navigating the program and completing the application? Find local business support partners offering one-on-one assistance for this and other SBA products at: https://www.oaklandca.gov/resources/coronavirus-2019-covid-19-business-and-worker-resources.
Grant Opportunities of the Week
Salesforce Care Small Business Grants will provide $10,000 grants to eligible for-profit small businesses with between 2 and 50 employees and annual revenue between $250,000 and $2 million. The application period in California closes May 4.

The Facebook Small Business Grants Program offers both cash grants and Facebook ad credits. The application period closes on May 6.

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) within the U.S. Department of Commerce is offering grants to support inner city, minority-owned entrepreneurs and businesses, especially ones in technologically innovative sectors, via Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Inner City Innovation Hubs. Applications are due May 15.

The Red Backpack Fund, supported by the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation and overseen by GlobalGiving, will make 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. Majority women-owned businesses and nonprofits with annual revenues less than $5M, with at least 1 and less than 50 staff, and incorporated as a legal entity are eligible. The next round of applications will be accepted starting May 4.
Eviction Moratorium Reminder
With rents coming due, we wanted to remind businesses that the Oakland City Council passed an eviction moratorium for residential, nonprofit, and small business renters (generally those with fewer than 100 employees).

This moratorium will prohibit most evictions, effective immediately and continuing through May 31, 2020, unless the City Council extends that date. The moratorium also prohibits residential rent increases above 3.5% (the Consumer Price Index, or CPI) and prohibits any late fees related to COVID-19 issues in residential units. The moratorium does not relieve tenants of the obligation to pay unpaid back rent in the future.

Residential tenants and property owners may contact the Rent Adjustment Program with questions by calling (510) 238-3721 or sending an e-mail to RAP@oaklandca.gov. Rent Adjustment Program information is also online at http://www.oaklandca.gov/rap.

Commercial tenants seeking additional information and support can contact:

Commercial tenants and property owners who have questions not answered here should submit them to BusDev@oaklandca.gov and City staff will get in touch with you.
Revised and Extended Alameda County Public Health Order
On Wednesday, the Alameda County Health Office and six other health jurisdictions revised and extended the Shelter in Place Order through May 31, 2020, to ensure we do not lose the progress we have achieved in controlling the spread of COVID-19. The limited easing of specific rules takes effect May 4, 2020. Read their media release. Read Frequently Asked Questions.

This initial, measured easing of some restrictions is designed to set the stage for a gradual resumption of activity and prevent rapid, exponential growth of cases that could overwhelm hospitals for a particular jurisdiction or the region as a whole.

The following activities may resume as long as physical distancing and industry-specific requirements are followed:
  • All construction projects that follow the Construction Project Safety Protocols (Appendices B-1 and B-2) included with the order;
  • All real estate transactions, with restrictions on open houses and limited tours;
  • Childcare, camps and educational/recreational programs that provide care for children of people who are allowed to work outside of their homes;
  • Outdoor businesses such as nurseries, landscaping, and agriculture that normally operated outdoors prior to the shelter in place orders; and
  • Use of certain outdoor recreational facilities, such as skate parks and athletic fields. Golf courses are permitted under local orders, but prohibited under state orders.

Essential and minimum business operations, as defined in the order, may continue. See page 9 of the order for definitions of Essential Businesses.

Public or private gatherings of any size remain prohibited:
  • Playgrounds, picnic areas, gyms, dog parks, and other shared spaces that do not permit physical distancing or have high-touch equipment must remain closed.
  • Bars and restaurants continue to be restricted to take-out service only, even if they have outdoor seating.
  • Funerals are limited to 10 people.

All businesses operating in the County must update or create a Social Distancing Protocol to reflect new requirements specified in the order. See the fillable social distancing protocol at: http://www.acphd.org/media/572721/health-officer-order-20-10-appendix-a-social-distancing-protocol.docx

Where there are differences between the local Health Officer’s order and the State’s order, everyone must follow the stricter restrictions. Businesses should review both orders to determine compliance and business decisions.

Everyone should continue to stay and work at home as much as possible; and wear a face covering when outside their home. Non-essential travel remains prohibited.

The full order is here: http://www.acphd.org/media/572718/health-officer-order-20-10-shelter-in-place-20200429.pdf  Alameda County has also provided a summary of the orders: http://www.acphd.org/media/572777/health-officer-order-20-10-shelter-in-place-04.29.2020-summary.pdf

The City of Oakland is currently reviewing these new guidelines and will develop more specific guidance regarding construction projects, camps and educational/ recreational programs in Oakland in the coming days.

A list of City service impacts, including facility closures, service suspensions, and alternative service points (online, telephone, or by appointment) is available on the City’s website at:  https://www.oaklandca.gov/resources/city-of-oakland-service-modifications-suspensions-closures-in-response-to-alameda-county-public-health-order-to-shelter-in-place. This list will be updated and modified in accordance with the revised and extended order and ongoing guidance from the Alameda County Public Health Officer.
Steps to Preserve Cash Flow
Employers experiencing a hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the State of California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for an extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return. For questions, employers may call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center. Toll-free from the U.S. or Canada: 1-888-745-3886 Hearing-impaired (TTY): 1-800-547-9565

The Employee Retention Credit is a refundable federal tax credit against certain employment taxes equal to 50 percent of the qualified wages an eligible employer pays to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. Eligible employers can get immediate access to the credit by reducing employment tax deposits they are otherwise required to make. For each employee, wages (including certain health plan costs) up to $10,000 can be counted to determine the amount of the 50% credit. Because this credit can apply to wages already paid after March 12, 2020, many struggling employers can get access to this credit by reducing upcoming deposits or requesting an advance credit on Form 7200, Advance of Employer Credits Due To COVID-19.
East Bay Business Recovery Survey
The East Bay Economic Development Alliance is dedicated to serving as a resource to support economic relief and recovery as our region continues to grapple with COVID-19. As business owners and leaders in our region, East Bay EDA asks for your help in gathering crucial information about various impacts to your business so that they can effectively advocate for resources that can address your most important needs. Your participation will help our region effectively plan recovery efforts and advocate for high priority needs. Please take a moment to fill out the survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/eastbaybusinessrecovery.
Ongoing Business Support
A list of up-to-date resources, including information about worker benefits and public and private sources of funding 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:  
 
 

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