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Alameda County enters Purple Tier Allowing Certain Businesses to Re-Open, State Grant Application Opens February 2, SBA Paycheck Protection Program Prioritizes Small Businesses

January 29, 2021

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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.
In this email: Alameda County Returns to Purple Tier Allowing Certain Businesses to Re-Open | Round 2 of State Grant Program Opens Next Week | SBA Paycheck Protection Program Prioritizes Small Businesses | Resources for Re-Opening | Ongoing Business Support | Upcoming Online Workshops & Webinars
Alameda County Returns to Purple Tier Allowing Certain Businesses to Re-Open
On January 25, the California Department of Public Health announced the Bay Area region meets the criteria to exit the Regional Stay At Home Order. Alameda County has issued a new Health Officer Order to align with the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, and activities and businesses permitted in the Purple Tier may resume operation immediately. As of Wednesday, January 27, there were no additional local restrictions in place. Businesses and activities permitted to open include:

Outdoors only, with modifications
  • Campgrounds
  • Cardrooms and Racetracks
  • Family Entertainment Centers and Movie Theaters
  • Gyms
  • Museums
  • Places of Worship and Cultural Ceremonies
  • Restaurants, Wineries, and Tasting Rooms
  • Zoos and Aquariums

Indoors, with modifications
  • Hair Salons and Barbershops
  • Hotels and Lodging (indoor gyms and fitness studios remain closed)
  • Personal Care Services, including Massage, Nail Salons and Skin Care Services
  • Grocery Stores may increase capacity to 50 percent
  • Other Retail may increase capacity to 25 percent

Businesses and activities permitted to open under the State’s Purple Tier must comply with State’s Industry Guidance modifications posted at: https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/. Additional workplace resources can be found here https://covid-19.acgov.org/recovery and resources for Alameda County workers are available here https://covid-19.acgov.org/worker-resources.

Oakland businesses that need to expand operations outdoors to comply with the State’s guidance should look to the City’s Flex Streets Initiative. Under the Flex Streets initiative, a business can apply through a streamlined process to obtain a permit for five different uses:
  • The Sidewalk or Parking Lane
  • A Traffic Lane
  • Private Parking Lots or Other Private Outdoor Areas
  • A Food Truck, Trailer or Pushcart
  • City-owned Outdoor Property

In addition to permit streamlining, all fees have been waived. The important step is to apply for the permit before you start using the outdoor space. For more information, visit www.oaklandca.gov/flexstreets.

To ensure Alameda County can move forward through the State’s color-tiered framework and to allow more activities and businesses to reopen, residents are strongly encouraged to continue to stay home as much as possible and avoid gathering with other households.

Starting Tuesday, February 2, applications for Round 2 of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate’s small business grant program will be accepted through Monday, February 8. Prepare for Round 2 now by registering for a February webinar and gathering the necessary documents as outlined in the application guide. If you applied during Round 1, do not re-apply during Round 2 as qualified applications will be rolled over automatically.

The grant program is for eligible small businesses, small non-profits, independent contractors, and sole proprietors with gross revenue of $2.5 million or less. Grant awards range from $5,000 to $25,000 depending on annual revenue.

Through March 31, the Small Business Administration’s is accepting Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) First Draw and Second Draw loan applications. The program opened to all participating lenders on January 19.

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. For most borrowers, the maximum loan amount is 2.5 times their average monthly 2019 or 2020 payroll costs up to $2 million. For borrowers in the Accommodation and Food Services sector the maximum loan amount is 3.5 times their average monthly 2019 or 2020 payroll costs up to $2 million.

SBA will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses.

First Draw PPP loans are available to eligible small businesses (typically those with 500 or fewer employees), nonprofits, veterans’ organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors. Larger entities in certain sectors that meet SBA’s size standards for those particular industries can also apply.

  • The legislation sets aside $12 billion specifically for minority-owned businesses.
  • PPP loans – if there is an amount that is not forgiven – have an interest rate of 1%.
  • No collateral or personal guarantees are required.
  • Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

Check with your banking partner to see if they are participating in this new round of PPP loans or review a roster of participating local lenders.

Second Draw PPP loans are available for certain qualifying borrowers that have used all of their first loan amounts. Some of the eligibility qualifications include having fewer than 300 employees and being able to demonstrate at least a 25 percent year-over-year drop in sales in at least one quarter. At least $25 billion is being set aside for Second Draw PPP Loans to eligible borrowers with a maximum of 10 employees or for loans of $250,000 or less to eligible borrowers in low- or moderate-income neighborhoods.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service will allow businesses that got their Paycheck Protection Program loans forgiven to write off expenses paid for with that money, aligning their policy with legislation passed by Congress in December 2020.
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:
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.
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

Wednesday, February 3, 10:30 a.m. – Noon
NorCal SBDC
Free

Thursday, February 4, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC
Free

How to Get Free PR: Best Strategies for Small Business Owners
Monday, February 8, 3 – 5 p.m.
NorCal SBDC
Free

Tuesday, February 9, 9- 10 a.m.
NorCal SBDC
Free

Tuesday, February 9, Noon – 1:30 p.m.
NorCal SBDC
Free

Tuesday, February 9, 3 – 5 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC
Free

Wednesday, February 10, 10:30 a.m. – Noon
NorCal SBDC
Free

Wednesday, February 10, 1 – 2 p.m.
NorCal SBDC
Free

Thursday, February 11, 1 – 3 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC
Free

Tuesday, February 16, 1 - 3 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC
Free

Wednesday, February 17, 10:30 a.m. – Noon
NorCal SBDC
Free

Wednesday, February 17, 1 – 3 p.m.
NorCal SBDC
Free

Thursday, February 18, 1 – 3 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC
Free

Tax Prep for Small Business Owners: Get Prepared!
Tuesday, February 23, 11 a.m. – Noon
NorCal SBDC
Free

Disaster Relief Loan Updates: PPP & EIDL
Wednesday, February 24, 10:30 a.m. – Noon
NorCal SBDC
Free

Wednesday, February 24, 1 – 3 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC
Free

Thursday, February 25, 1 – 2 p.m.
NorCal SBDC
Free

Tuesday, March 9, 9 – 10 a.m.
NorCal SBDC
Free

Tuesday, March 9, 3 – 5 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC
Free
 
 

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