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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Planning for Re-Opening of Businesses
The seven Bay Area Health Officers are tracking progress on the five key indicators announced with the May 4th order, to determine when our community is safe to move to the next stage of relaxing shelter-in-place restrictions. It takes approximately two weeks to see the effects of recently allowed activities on the indicators. Ongoing favorable results will be the deciding factors to further relaxation.

The Bay Area started with a higher disease burden than the rest of the state, which may mean tighter restrictions than other regions for some time. As the Governor noted, his announcement doesn’t preempt local Orders where they are stricter. Oakland remains under the restrictions detailed in the revised and extended Alameda County Order that took effect May 4, 2020. The Bay Area orders do not currently permit curbside pickup from non-essential, non-outdoor businesses, and that is not allowed to begin on Friday, May 8.

In anticipation of measured openings that could be allowed within the coming weeks, the City has posted planning resources at: One of the listed resources is State of California industry guidelines to help businesses reduce risk and establish a safe, clean environment for workers and customers. Read the guidelines, find industry-specific checklists and learn more at:
Grant Opportunities of the Week
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. This application period closes on May 11.

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 Verizon/LISC Small Business Recovery Fund offers grants of up to $10,000 to help small businesses, especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises that don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital in historically underserved communities. The grants are meant to fill urgent financial gaps until they can resume normal operations or until more permanent financing becomes available. The next round of applications will be accepted starting on May 14.
Update on Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has advised the City that businesses who applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) prior to March 30, should re-apply now using the online portal at: The EIDL program includes an emergency advance of up to $10,000 (the advance total is based on pre-disaster employee count; $1,000 per employee). Even if you decide not to take the loan or are declined, you still keep the cash advance as a grant.
CARES Act Tax Provisions Help Preserve Cash Flow
The federal CARES Act included new tax provisions for businesses that will help preserve cash flow. New Frequently Asked Questions by the IRS on three of the tax measures provide insight on how to claim them.
· Employee Retention Credit - The Employee Retention Credit encourages businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages per employee paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. This Employee Retention Credit applies to qualified wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. For more information, visit

· Payroll Tax Payments Deferral The CARES Act allows employers to defer the deposit and payment of the employer's share of Social Security taxes and self-employed individuals to defer payment of certain self-employment taxes incurred to December 31, 2020. The amount owed can be paid over the following two years. For more information, visit:

· Net Operating Losses (NOLs) – Tax relief is provided under the CARES Act for taxpayers with net operating losses. Any business that claimed a loss in tax year 2018, 2019, or 2020, may be able to carry that loss back five years. Amending your tax returns could generate immediate refunds. Consult with your tax preparer. For more information, visit
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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