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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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Take the Re-opening & Recovery Survey
To help the City gauge COVID-19 impacts to your business and what resources would help as you plan for re-opening and recovery, please take our brief Business Re-opening and Recovery Survey. The survey is available in English, as well as Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Planning for Re-Opening of Businesses
Every organization and business, regardless of when it will be permitted to open, should be working on re-opening plans that include physical distancing, training for employees on limiting spread of COVID-19, and disinfection protocols.

In anticipation of phased openings, the City posted planning resources, including federal, state and county guidelines at: https://www.oaklandca.gov/resources/re-opening-resources

To specifically support businesses with curbside or storefront pickup, and/or delivery, the City is taking the following steps:

1. Expediting White Curb Requests
To facilitate customer pick-up and delivery from Oakland businesses during the COVID-19 period, business owners can request a temporary white curb in front of their business. To request a temporary white curb, please contact Oak311 by dialing 311 or online at: https://www.oaklandca.gov/services/oak311

2. Business Use of Frontage Zones
The frontage zone is the first three feet of public space directly in front of a business.  For a limited time, the City will not require permits nor enforce penalties for the use of frontage space, provided that the use:
     ·  is consistent with social distancing;
     ·  respects the pedestrian path, so people may walk and roll freely; and
     ·  and does not create a safety hazard where one did not exist before.

Business owners can start using frontage spaces in front of their establishments today. Please contact the Oakland Department of Transportation’s permit office with any questions at (510) 238-3891.

3. Streamlining Sidewalk and Roadway Permitting
In anticipation of further updates to Alameda County’s Shelter-in-Place Order, City departments are working to streamline the permitting process for sidewalk and roadway encroachments to make it easier for retailers and restaurants to use larger portions of the sidewalk and roadway to support their businesses. The City is working to streamline permits for parklets, café seating and other uses to help businesses better meet physical distancing requirements and anticipates issuing updated guidelines by the end of May.
Updated Alameda County Health Orders Released
On Monday, May 18, the Alameda County Public Health Official issued an updated Shelter-in-Place Order that allows certain businesses to resume operations at this time, under specific conditions. The measured steps towards re-opening are designed to avoid a spike in new COVID-19 cases that could overwhelm our health care system. The Order allows the following businesses to operate:
· Retail stores for curbside or storefront pickup, and/or delivery only
· Manufacturing businesses permitted to operate under the state Resilience Roadmap
· Logistics and Warehousing permitted to operate under the state Resilience Roadmap

These businesses must implement Site-Specific Protection Plans, as required by California’s Resilience Roadmap, and informed by local guidance issued by the Alameda County Department of Public Health, to include the following elements:
· Social distancing protocol plans for employees and customers
· Administrative controls to stagger employees, breaks, and teleworking for those that can work remotely
· Training for employees on limiting spread of COVID-19 (temperature and/or symptoms screening, hand washing technique, and face covering requirements)
· Disinfection protocols for routine and deep cleaning
· Industry-specific best practices
· Notification of COVID-19 positive cases
· Compliance and documentation

To further clarify which businesses are currently allowed to operate and which are not, Alameda County published a roster at: http://www.acphd.org/media/577606/alameda-county-health-officer-shelter-in-place-order-businesses-english.pdf  

Businesses seeking guidance on Alameda County guidelines for re-opening should email covidrecovery@acgov.org.   

A second order by the Alameda County Health Officer allows highly regulated vehicle-based gatherings of up to 200 cars at a time, for no longer than 3 hours, with specific conditions, including by-invite only, onsite security if there are more than 10 cars, and more. For example, these gatherings might include drive-in movie theaters as well as in-car graduation ceremonies, worship services, or funerals.

Alameda County provided a helpful summary of both Orders issued on May 18 at: http://www.acphd.org/media/577609/alameda-county-health-officer-order-summary-20-11-and-20-12-english.pdf
Grant Opportunities of the Week
The East Bay/Oakland Relief Fund for Individuals in the Arts will distribute $625,000 to help artists, teaching artists, culture bearers, and nonprofit arts workers who comprise the various and diverse cultural communities of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, with $300,000 dedicated specifically to those in Oakland. The grants of up to $2,000 can be used in any way that alleviates financial hardship. The Fund will prioritize the financial needs of individuals who are particularly financially vulnerable –  Black, Indigenous, Latinx, foreign-born immigrant, trans, and people with disabilities. The COVID-19 crisis has had a disproportionate effect on these populations as well as the arts and culture community.

Through the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) Project, California is providing state-funded disaster relief assistance to undocumented adults who are ineligible for other forms of assistance, including assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and pandemic unemployment benefits, because of their immigration status. An undocumented adult who qualifies can receive $500 in direct assistance, with a maximum of $1,000 in assistance per household. Applications are only being accepted by phone at (415) 324-1011. Call volume is high, yet, with persistence, callers are getting through.
Eviction Moratorium Extended
On Tuesday, May 19, the Oakland City Council extended the eviction moratorium for residential renters, nonprofit organization renters, and small business renters (generally those with fewer than 100 employees) through August 31, 2020. This ordinance extends the eviction moratorium originally adopted by City Council on Friday, March 27, that prohibits most evictions.

Commercial tenants or landlords that need assistance, the following resources are available:

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.
Economic Recovery Advisory Council Holds Initial Meeting
On Monday, May 18, the kickoff meeting for the Economic Recovery Advisory Council was co-chaired by Mayor Libby Schaaf and Vice Mayor Larry Reid. Grounded in the guiding principle that equity is the best economic model, the Advisory Council is charged with identifying both short-term recommendations to facilitate the reopening and recovery of Oakland’s economic sectors from the COVID-19 crisis, and longer-term strategies for systemic change that creates a more equitable economy into the future.

Some of the highlights from the initial meeting, include:
  • Michael Bush’s keynote address on the urgent need to address commercial rents
  • Jeff Bellisario’s and Dr. Darcelle Lahr’s overviews on reducing existing racial wealth inequities through business employee growth
  • Michael McAfee’s call to action to use our radical imagination to work for the greater good
  • Many voices on the need to support cultural workers, both organizers of large concerts and events as well as makers and artisans
  • A collective desire to bring together workers and businesses, landlords and tenants to propose solutions together

Presentations and the meeting video, along with background materials on the Advisory Council are posted at: https://www.oaklandca.gov/topics/oakland-economic-recovery-advisory-council
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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