Alameda County Regresses to Purple Tier Prompting Changes in Allowed Activities, new County Grants for Small Businesses, Upcoming Webinars, Shop Local Holiday Campaign, New State Loan Program

November 20, 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.
Alameda County Regresses to Purple Tier Prompting Changes in Allowed Activities
On Monday, November 16, the California Department of Public Health announced that Alameda County is in the most restrictive tier in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy reopening framework. Per the State’s requirement, any activity that was only permitted in the Red or Orange Tiers were to close in Alameda County by 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, November 18. For the full roster of activities, visit

In the Purple Tier:
   · Indoor dining is not allowed
   · Retail store capacity is capped at 25%
   · Gyms and fitness centers may only operate outdoors
   · Hair salons, barbershops and personal care services may continue to operate indoors with modifications

Oakland businesses that need to expand operations outdoors to comply with the State’s guidance should look to the City’s Flex Street Initiative. All fees have been waived and permitting streamlined for business’ use of the public rights-of-way, including sidewalk, parking lane and roadway encroachments. Businesses expanding operations to private parking lots and other private outdoor areas will also benefit from streamlined permitting processes at: The City anticipates posting additional guidance on winterizing your Flex Street installations before Thanksgiving.

Alameda County updated their Restaurant Operating Procedures to include more detailed guidance related to canopies and covered sides based on additional information from the State: (English) (Spanish) (Chinese)
The Alameda County CARES grant program offers one-time $5,000 grants to eligible small businesses and self-employed individuals. Applications must be submitted by 11:30 p.m. on November 30. Eligibility requirements are:
   · Businesses physically located in Alameda County (excluding the unincorporated areas) that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19
    · Must agree to follow State of California & Alameda County Public Health Department COVID-19 guidelines to maintain a safe workplace
    · Employ between 1 and 25 employees (self-employed individuals are also eligible)
    · Valid business license for the location
    · Must upload a business IRS Form W-9
    ·  Business has been negatively impacted by one of these measures
o   Closure of any length due to COVID-19;
o   Layoff of one or more staff due to COVID-19

Chain businesses not headquartered in Alameda County, financial institutions, banks, landlords of residential or commercial businesses, publicly traded companies and nonprofits are excluded from this grant program.

Grant funds may be used for unreimbursed costs form March 17 to December 30 such as rent or mortgage for business facilities, utilities, payroll, operating expenses, Personal Protective Equipment, digital technology and interior and exterior physical adaptations to meet COVID-19 conditions.

Non-English versions of the application will be posted shortly. For additional information, please review the program’s Frequently Asked Questions at:
Financial Management Webinars for Nonprofits
Through a CARES Act-funded grant from the City of Oakland, Community Vision will host a free three-part series on financial management to help nonprofits recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

Wednesday, December 2, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Cash Indicators for Short-Term Planning

Wednesday, December 9, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Budgeting & Pivoting for Mid-Term Planning

Wednesday, December 16, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Stabilizing Assets for Long-Term Planning

If you have any questions, contact Sarah Schwid at or (415) 392-8215, ext. 369.

State Loan Program Announced
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new loan program built to support California’s small businesses as they adapt and navigate the effects of COVID-19. The California Rebuilding Fund is a partnership between public and private sector entities to provide California small businesses – particularly businesses in underbanked parts of the state – with access to responsible, affordable capital to help them survive and rebuild from this crisis.

The Fund, which includes an anchor commitment from the State of California’s Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (“IBank”), will offer loans that are flexible, transparent and designed to help sustain small businesses through these challenging economic times. The funds are being deployed by participating community lenders, and businesses with up to 50 full-time employees and gross revenues of less than $2.5 million or below in 2019 may be eligible to apply. Learn more and apply today at:
Shop Local Holiday Campaign
To encourage Oakland residents to put their money where their hearts are, Visit Oakland’s “Spend.Stay.Love.” Oakland campaign adds a shop local holiday spin. If you have an upcoming event, dining special or retail offer that you would like promoted through the holidays, please email and a Visit Oakland team member will be in touch. You can also update your business listing on the website (update your photos, change store hours, etc.) but logging into the Visit Oakland Partner Portal and update your listing.
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

Monday, November 23, 3 – 5 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC

Earn up to $5,000 OJT Funds for your Workforce: COVID-19 Support
Tuesday, November 24, 11 am. – 1 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC

Commercial Lease Negotiation Webinar (Cantonese and English)
Wednesday, December 2, 5 p.m.
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

COVID-19 Business Reopening-Understanding and Managing the Process
Thursday, December 3, 10 – 11 a.m.
AnewAmerica Women's Business Center

How to Manage and Forecast Cash Flow in a COVID World
Tuesday, December 8, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC

Women Business Owners Virtual Town Hall on Insurance Issues for Small Businesses during the COVID-19 Emergency
Wednesday, December 9, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
National Association of Women Business Owners California

COVID-19 Business Reopening-Understanding and Managing the Process
Thursday, December 10, 2 – 3 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women's Business Center

Oakland Structures
Friday, December 11, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
San Francisco Business Times

Wednesday, December 16, 8:30 a.m. – Noon
East Bay SCORE

Wednesday, December 16, Noon
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

Thursday, December 17, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
City of Oakland Workforce Development Board

Thursday, December 17, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC
Prepare for Winter’s Rainy Weather
To help prepare for winter weather, Oakland Public Works is providing businesses with emergency sandbags and plastic sheeting while supplies last. Business Preparedness Tips are:
·  Clear gutters and downspouts; ensure downspouts are working and pointing away from your business
·  Keep your curbs and sidewalk gutters clear of leaves and debris (and please dispose of in your green bins – do not sweep them into the gutter)
·  Check the storm drain near your business and use a rake to keep it clear of debris
·  Review your property insurance; if you don’t have flood insurance, consider getting it now – it takes 30 days to take effect
·  Review emergency procedures and evacuation plans for your business
·  In the event of flood conditions, please be careful and safe by avoiding walking, riding or driving across standing water

For pick-up locations for the sandbags and plastic sheeting as well as additional safety tips, visit:
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
   ·  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
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.
   · Take the COVID-19 Business Impact Data Survey, which serves as the City’s intake pathway to request one-on-one business assistance
   · Take our brief Business Re-opening and Recovery Survey to help the City gauge COVID-19 impacts to your business and what resources would help

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