Grant Application Deadline Extended, Free Legal Advice for Commercial Leaseholders, New County Health Order

October 15, 2020

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Periodically, the City of Oakland’s Economic & Workforce Development Department (EWDD) 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.

Please note there will not be a weekly business update email on October 23.

Grant Application Deadlines Extended for Small Businesses, Individual Artists and Nonprofits
The Oakland CARES Act Small Business Grant Program will accept applications until 5 p.m. on Friday, October 23, 2020. This program will provide $10,000 grants to qualifying Oakland small businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and have gross revenues under $2 million. Online applications and eligibility requirements in four languages are available at:

The application deadline for the Oakland CARES Nonprofit Grant Fund has been extended to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 28, 2020. This program will award grants of up to $25,000 to qualifying community-serving nonprofits with annual budgets of less than $1 million that address the impact of COVID-19 and the needs of low-income residents and businesses in the following areas: Health & Human Services; Economic & Workforce Development; Legal Support; Food Security; Homeless and Renter Support Services; and Education. Online applications and eligibility requirements are available at:

Finally, the Oakland CARES Fund for Artists and Arts Nonprofits, which will disburse $1.425 million to support individual artists and arts nonprofit organizations that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been extended to 1 p.m. on Friday, October 23, 2020. The program will award grants of up to $20,000 to arts nonprofits with annual budgets of less than $2.5 million, while supporting individual artists with grants of up to $3,000 each. With the extension, due to undersubscription in the program, there has also been an adjustment to the eligibility requirements for arts nonprofits to make the program’s Paycheck Protection Program threshold of $20,000 a selection preference rather than an exclusionary criterion. The online applications in four languages are available at:
Beginning Friday, October 16, Alameda County will permit additional outdoor activities, including playgrounds, that follow the State’s guidance.

Additionally, Alameda County is preparing to update the local Health Officer Orders to permit additional activities during the week of October 26. These activities will include:
  · Indoor dining up to 25% capacity or less than 100 people, whichever is less
  · Indoor worship services up to 25% capacity or less than 100 people, whichever is less
  · Indoor theaters up to 25% capacity or less than 100 people, whichever is less
  · Expansion of indoor retail and malls at up to 50% of capacity and permitting limited food courts

The County notes, “We have collectively slowed the spread of COVID-19, and need to continue wearing face coverings, staying six feet away from each other, washing hands frequently and staying home when sick.”

For the list of activities that are currently open and not open in Alameda County, visit:
New Alameda County Health Orders Allow Additional Business Operations
Effective October 9, 2020, Alameda County will allow:
    Hotels & lodging for tourism: fitness centers and indoor pools restricted
Museums, zoos, & aquariums: indoors < 25% capacity
Personal care services: indoors with modification; services requiring
     removal of face covering prohibited
yms and fitness centers: indoors < 10% capacity; restrictions on
     aerobic exercise and classes
    Outdoor film production per local guidance

While the Health Order allows for the partial reopening of libraries, the Oakland Public Library locations will remain closed for indoor services until plans are in place for safely reopening the buildings. Sixteen OPL sites continue to offer sidewalk service during limited hours.

Review Alameda County’s list of Approved Open & Closed Businesses at:
Guidance and resources to support safe opening are available at:

New Grant Program for Home-Based Businesses Announced
The Oakland CARES Act Home-Based Business Grant Program will distribute $500,000 in grants of $2,000 to $4,000 to home-based, for-profit businesses in Oakland. Working Solutions, a Bay Area nonprofit, is administering the application and grant-making process. The grant application period closes at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, November 2. Online applications in four languages are available at:

Priority will be given to home-based businesses representing a broad geographic diversity in Oakland, especially those located in low-income areas or otherwise historically vulnerable communities; those who have received $4,000 or less in funding from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); and those with annual gross business revenue under $150,000. The grant amounts of $2,000 to $4,000 will be based on gross revenue of the home-based business.

To be eligible for this grant program, the business must:
  · Be verified as a for-profit, home-based business in Oakland;
  · Have a valid Oakland business license;
  · Have been in operation prior to March 1, 2019;
  · Be able to demonstrate negative impacts to the business from the COVID-19 pandemic;
  · Certify that the home-based business income represents the majority (>50%) of the applicant’s total individual income; and
  · Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (due to restrictions associated with federal CARES Act funding sources).

Business owners who previously received a grant from the Oakland Small Business Emergency Grant Program (between April and July 2020) are eligible to apply for this grant program.

Grant funds may be used for COVID-19-related costs and losses, such as payroll; rent or mortgage payments; utilities or other operating expenses; or fixtures, supplies, and other non-construction site modifications needed to satisfy COVID-19 distancing and mitigation requirements. Funds may not be used for new construction or building improvements.

Free Legal Advice and Assistance for Commercial Leaseholders
Through a City of Oakland CARES Act-funded grant, the nonprofit Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF) will provide legal advice and assistance on lease negotiations to small businesses that have suffered revenue losses due to COVID-19. Many Oakland small businesses have struggled to pay rent and require legal advice to help negotiate lease terms with commercial landlords. LCCRSF will provide legal assistance through commercial leasing webinars, one-hour consultations, and longer-term legal assistance. Business owners can access these free legal services at

LCCRSF will hold webinars on commercial lease negotiations during COVID-19 through the end of 2020. While the 60- to 75-minute webinars are free, advance registration is required. Presented by volunteer attorneys from local law firms, the webinars will be offered in various languages as noted below.

Webinars are scheduled for:

·   Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 5 p.m. (English)

·   Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 5 p.m. (English)

·   Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 2 p.m. (Spanish)

·   Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at Noon (English)

·   Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 5 p.m. (Vietnamese-Tentative)

·   Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 3 p.m. (English)

·   Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 5 p.m. (Cantonese-Tentative)

·   Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at Noon (English)

Webinar recordings in several languages will also be posted to LCCRSF’s and the City’s websites.

For more individualized legal advice, Oakland small business owners will be able to request hour-long, one-on-one consultations with an attorney. To access this free service, business owners complete an online application at LCCRSF staff will then contact the client to schedule a 30-minute intake call. The intake call facilitates client/attorney matching. Participation in a webinar prior to the one-on-one consultations is encouraged, but not required. The one-on-one consultation includes review of client's lease and related documents before the consultation.

Longer-term legal assistance, which may include lease negotiation, pre-litigation and settlement negotiations or representation in a court proceeding, will be available for up to 16 Oakland low-income small business owners who cannot afford to hire an attorney on their own. Participation in a one-hour consultation is not required prior to the request longer-term assistance, which is capped at $5,000 per client for payment of attorneys’ legal fees. Small business owners who wish to receive additional legal assistance will be responsible for attorney’s fees above $5,000.
Upcoming Online Workshops & Webinars
Serie de 12 Tallaeres para Emprendedores Hispanos
Jueves hasta el 17 de diciembre
California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Entrepreneurs Workshop Series
Thursdays through December 17
Mandela Partners
Sliding Scale: $25 - $100

How to Bring Your Business and Brand Online with Square
Friday, October 16, Noon – 1 p.m.
Oakland Metropolitan Chamber

Search Marketing: They Are Looking for You!
Tuesday, October 20, 1 – 4 p.m.
East Bay SCORE
Regular Price: $40; Discounted Price: $15

Loan Readiness: How Ready are You to Apply for a Loan?
Tuesday, October 20, 2 – 3 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women's Business Center and Working Solutions

Street Sense: Re-Open Readiness Restaurants & Bars with Downloadable Guide
Wednesday, October 21, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC

Virtual Job Fair – Transportation, Distribution & Logistics, and Advanced Manufacturing
Thursday, October 22, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
City of Oakland Workforce Development Board

PortLabs: Manufacturing Pandemic Readiness With Readiness Guide
Thursday, October 22, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC

Street Sense: Re-Open Retail with Downloadable Guide
Friday, October 23, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC

Loan Readiness: How Ready are You to Apply for a Loan?
Tuesday, October 27, 2 – 3 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women's Business Center and Working Solutions

Small Business Technical Assistance Bootcamp Workshop: Access to Capital
Wednesday, October 28, 5 – 7 p.m.
Peralta Community College

Re-Opening Personal Care Business
Friday, October 30, 3 – 5 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC
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:
·       Alameda County Public Health Department’s Mask Required for Entry Posters
·       County screening guidance for employers in multiple languages
·       Self-assessment guidance for workers in multiple languages
·       Information on cleaning/disinfecting businesses
·       Workplace Safety
·       ReOpening Guide signs by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Oaklandish and the Economic Recovery Advisory Council, in four languages.

If one of your employees tests positive, please contact Alameda County’s COVID Workplace team at or call (510) 268-2101 to submit a case report and for guidance and next steps. Businesses are required to notify the Alameda County Public Health Department of all positive COVID-19 cases. To learn about COVID-19 testing sites in Oakland, visit

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.
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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