Important updates to businesses, nonprofits, independent contractors and our partner organizations
July 17, 2020

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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.

During the last week, the fluidity of what business activity was allowed by County Health Orders created a challenging landscape for business owners. We acknowledge the confusion and frustration this created and strive to share the latest information from Alameda County and the State of California so business owners may make informed decisions on their daily operations.

With hospitalizations on the rise in Alameda County, we remain focused on the shared goal of ensuring that we re-open in a manner that is safe and sustainable for businesses, their employees, and our community as a whole.

Please note there will not be a weekly business update on Friday, July 24.

Alameda County Receives Variance Approval, Placed on State’s Monitoring List
On Wednesday, July 15, Alameda County’s variance was approved by the California Department of Public Health. This action allows for the resumption of outdoor dining and enables restaurants that have recently added outdoor dining to apply to the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) for a temporary expansion of where they can serve alcohol via a Temporary Catering Authorization. Once approved, the restaurant will receive an email from ABC with the catering authorization approval attached. Once that approval email is received, restaurants may start serving alcohol outdoors.

If a restaurant already had been licensed to serve alcohol on their outdoor patio, then no Temporary Catering Authorization is required. A Temporary Catering Authorization is only required when a restaurant wants to extend their ability to serve to a location (i.e., sidewalk, parking lane, parking lot, etc.) that was not already licensed.

For additional information, visit ABC’s website:

Additionally, following three days of being on the State’s Monitoring List, on July 15, Alameda County became subject to State Health Officer Orders that require:
1.     Places of worship can hold outdoor services only and will not be able to hold indoor services
2.     Indoor malls will be required to close, or move their operations outdoors and/or provide pick up. This does not impact other indoor retail at this time.

Clarification on Operation of Bars
Bars, brewpubs, breweries and pubs that have an existing food facility (kitchen) can offer sit-down, outdoor meals. If bars, brewpubs, breweries, pubs do not have an existing food facility, they can contract with another vendor to provide meals. For example, a bar without a kitchen can partner with a food truck, provide outdoor dining. Whether using their own kitchen or a partner vendor, the alcohol must be sold in the same transaction as the meal. If a bar does not serve sit-down meals outdoors, the business may not operate per State Order issued on July 13.
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.
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 State and local planning guidance, information on cleaning/disinfecting and workplace safety, a printable face covering sign for businesses in eight languages and the newly created ReOpening Guide signs by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Oaklandish and the Economic Recovery Advisory Council, 11” x 17” signs for download in four languages. Pick up hard copies from any Oakland Chamber, Business Improvement District or City Council office.
Flex Streets Applications May Resume for Streamlined Permits for Outdoor Retail, Dining
With the recent variance approval and confirmation from the County and State that outdoor dining may resume, the City is again accepting applications through the Flex Streets Initiative for streamlined permits for sidewalk and roadway encroachments. The goal is to spur equitable economic recovery by making it easier for retailers, restaurants and other allowed businesses to use larger portions of the sidewalk, parking lanes and streets.

Under the Flex Streets initiative, 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

Use the public right-of-way for extra seating, expanded merchandise displays or customer queuing. We’re also waiving permit fees. The important step is to apply for the permit before you start, even for privately owned or leased outdoor spaces – including parking lots.

See instructions for each of the five particular uses at:

Help us gather community input on the Flex Streets Initiative. Print out and post a flyer for the text-based survey at:
Grant Opportunities
The East Bay Community Energy’s (EBCE) COVID-19 Community Grant offers grants of up to $10,000 to for-profit or nonprofit organizations that offer support in at least one of the following areas:
   ·  Assistance in Energy or Utility Bills
   ·  Food Security
   ·  Rent Support
   ·  Physical and Mental Health Services

EBCE will prioritize organizations serving the areas with the highest COVID-19 infection rates, but will still consider and award organizations serving vulnerable populations outside of the highest-risk areas. They plan to holistically select organizations that support various demographics and communities. The application can be found at If you have difficulties submitting the application, email your questions to Applications are due by Tuesday, July 21.

TMC Community Capital is accepting community nominations for their SmallBizBigHeart grant program. Community members can nominate a small business for a grant by sharing on TMC’s Facebook or LinkedIn why they matter to the community and adding #TMCSmallBizBigHeart. Through Friday, August 14, 10 business names will be selected by lottery every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until funds run out. In general, eligible businesses have revenue under $1 million; less than 30 employees; founded by March 1, 2019; physical location open to the public; adversely impacted by COVID-19 or recent civil unrest. Sole proprietors are welcome, however nonprofits, cannabis-related businesses, adult entertainment businesses and religious organizations are not eligible. The grant amount is $2,000 per full-time employee plus reimbursements for physical property damages and loss of inventory of up to $10,000. Nominations are due by Friday, August 14.
Survey for Residential Tenants, Property Owners
The Housing & Community Development Department’s Rent Adjustment Program (RAP) is interested in understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our community of residential tenants and property owners. RAP wants to learn how the residential rent increase/eviction moratorium, adopted by City Council in March and extended in May, has affected residential tenants and property owners. The survey also serves to introduce RAP resources to those tenants and property owners who are not familiar, as well as reiterate for those who are, their commitment to assistance. The online survey is available in English, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese.
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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