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New Grants for Small Businesses & Venues, County Masking Requirements, Mega Event Guidance Updated, Free HR Hotline, Business Support Services at Neighborhood Libraries and other Business Resources - November 5, 2021
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November 5, 2021


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This is an update from the City of Oakland’s Economic & Workforce Development Department (EWDD) for businesses, nonprofits, independent contractors and our partner organizations who support them. These are just highlights of available resources. For information about worker benefits, grants, loans and support services available, please visit our Business & Worker Resource web page. The site is updated regularly as more information becomes available, so please check it often.

All individuals within Alameda County are required to wear face coverings – regardless of vaccination status – when indoors in workplaces and public settings, with limited exceptions detailed below. The county’s FAQs for face covering indoors and in workplaces provides guidance on business responsibilities, including signage requirements. The county issued criteria for Lifting Indoor Masking Requirements in the future if certain conditions are met.

Note that lifting a local indoor mask mandate would not prevent businesses, nonprofits, churches, or others with public indoor spaces from imposing their own face covering requirements. The county also recommends that businesses make face coverings available to individuals entering the business.

Vaccinations remain the best protection against COVID-19, preventing most related hospitalizations and deaths. Alameda County has posted an Employer Vaccination Toolkit for businesses interested in supporting their employees in getting vaccinated.
Please note there will be no update on November 12.
County Eases Masking Requirement in Certain Indoor Settings
Effective November 1, Alameda County eased masking requirements in certain indoor settings where everyone is fully vaccinated. Eligible settings are in controlled spaces not open to the general public, including offices, gyms and fitness centers, employee commuter vehicles, and organized gatherings in other indoor settings where a group gathers on a regular basis, like religious gatherings. Under the Health Officer Order, participating businesses, organizations, or hosts must verify that all patrons, employees and attendees are fully vaccinated before allowing people to participate without face coverings inside their facilities. There can be no more than 100 persons present at these facilities. Those present must also not have COVID-19 symptoms.
Mega Event Guidance Updated
The California Department of Public Health updated its Mega Events guidance (indoor events with more than 1,000 attendees or outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees) in late October. Beginning December 1, 2021, all attendees aged 18 and older must provide identification to confirm the individual presenting proof of vaccination or negative test is the attendee entering the facility or venue. This guidance is required for indoor mega events and recommended for outdoor mega events.
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready
Verizon has developed free, online curriculum to give small businesses personalized tools to succeed in today’s online marketplace. Learning modules, expert coaching, peer networking and more are being offered to help one million small businesses thrive in the digital economy. Complete two courses or coaching events to be eligible to apply for a Verizon Small Business Digital Ready $10,000 grant – the application period is now open. Register for the free curriculum here.
California Venues Grant Program
The $150 million California Venues Grant Program will support continued operation of eligible independent live events venues that have been affected by COVID-19. Eligible independent live events venues must have a physical address and operate in California, which will be validated through submitted business tax returns. Both non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses may apply. Grants amounts can be up to $250,000 or 20 percent of the applicant’s gross earned revenue in California for the 2019 taxable year. The application period is now open and runs through Friday, November 19, 2021.
Get Business Support Services at Neighborhood Libraries
Whether you’re starting a new business, expanding your business or just need business support, City staff are here to help. Through the Remote Business Assistance Center (BAC) pilot program, Business Development staff will be available for 30-minute appointments at five library locations:
  • West Oakland (every other Monday morning)
  • 81st Avenue (every other Tuesday evening)
  • César E. Chávez (every other Wednesday evening)
  • Golden Gate (every other Thursday morning)
  • Eastmont (every other Friday afternoon)

Appointments through December are by reservation only. To schedule an appointment, visit www.oaklandca.gov/RemoteBAC. For help scheduling an appointment, call (510) 238-7398. If you can’t make it to one of the neighborhood locations, fill out our online request form and a staff member will call or email you within two business days.
Commercial Eviction Protection for Nonpayment of Rent Expired September 30
The Oakland City Ordinances on the local commercial eviction moratorium conformed with the Governor’s most recent Executive Order, which expired on Thursday, September 30, 2021. The protections that prevented commercial evictions of small businesses and non-profit organizations for nonpayment of rent ended on that date. Back rent may be due in full depending on the payment plan or other agreement negotiated between the tenant and landlord. The moratorium on residential evictions remains in effect until the end of the Local Emergency as declared by the Oakland City Council.

Through grants from the City of Oakland, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) continues to provide commercial lease negotiation assistance to small business owners.

Tenants seeking additional information and support as the commercial eviction moratorium ends, should visit: https://www.oaklandca.gov/resources/coronavirus-2019-covid-19-business-and-worker-resources#eviction-moratorium
Prepare for Wet Winter Weather
As winter arrives, the City of Oakland encourages businesses to prepare for stormy winter weather. Before bad weather arrives, consider these steps.

To report a storm-related emergency (e.g., flooding, manholes overflowing, mudslides, etc.) on public property or the public right-of-way, contact OAK311 by dialing 311 from any phone within Oakland. For non-emergency reporting, use the online report form or SeeClickFix app available for Apple and Android devices. For life-threatening emergencies,  call 9-1-1 from a landline or (510) 777-3211 from a cell phone.

For additional information, read the media release.
Free Human Resources Hotline for COVID-19 Questions
The Alameda County Workforce Development Board, in partnership with the California Employers Association, provides Alameda County businesses with a free Human Resources Hotline at (888) 202-5668. Human resources experts provide guidance on:
  • Hiring & Firing Processes
  • Paid Sick Leave Laws & FMLA
  • Breaks, Lunches, & Overtime
  • Employee Handbooks
  • Harassment Prevention
  • COVID-19 Questions

The hotline operates Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
PPP Loan Forgiveness Portal
The SBA reminds small businesses that it launched a streamlined application portal to allow borrowers with Paycheck Protection Program loans of up to $150,000 to apply for forgiveness directly through the SBA. A borrower can apply for PPP loan forgiveness once all loan proceeds for which the borrower is requesting forgiveness have been used. Borrowers must apply for forgiveness within 10 months of the end of the covered period under which they had to spend the money, otherwise the PPP loans will automatically convert to a standard loan at 1% interest.

Check to see if your lender is participating in direct forgiveness through the SBA and use the SBA’s portal to apply. The questions in the portal correspond to those asked on SBA form 3508S. After submission, be sure to monitor your application for forgiveness.

If your lender is not participating in SBA’s portal, you must apply for forgiveness through your lender. Your lender can provide you with either the SBA Form 3508, SBA Form 3508EZ, SBA Form 3508S or a lender equivalent. Your lender can provide further guidance on how to submit the application and may follow up to request additional documentation.

Borrowers who need assistance with direct forgiveness can contact SBA’s dedicated forgiveness call center at (877) 552-2692, Monday to Friday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. The call center can only assist direct forgiveness applicants; All other borrowers should contact their PPP lender directly.

Please see the workshop and webinar listings below or online for upcoming sessions offering assistance on PPP Loan Forgiveness.
Resources for Re-Opening
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

Coming Back Stronger: A Leadership Workshop development by Women for Women
Saturday, November 6, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Women’s Global Leadership Initiative & Comerica
Free

SBA Overview and Access to Capital
Monday, November 8, 10 – 11 a.m.
Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Free

Agencia Federal de Pequenos Negocios y Acceso a Capital
Tuesday, November 9, 1 – 2 p.m.
Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Free

Payroll Protection Program: Get Your Forgiveness App. Ready! (In-Person)
Tuesday, November 9, 6 – 7 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center, 401 Roland Way, Suite 215
Free

How to Manage and Forecast Cash Flow for Small Businesses
Thursday, November 11, Noon – 2 p.m. 
Alameda County SBDC
Free

COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Are They Right for You?! (In-Person)
Thursday, November 11, 1 – 2 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center, 401 Roland Way, Suite 215
Free

Payroll Protection Program: Get Your Forgiveness App. Ready! (In-Person)
Thursday, November 11, 4 – 5 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center, 401 Roland Way, Suite 215
Free

Virtual Legal Services Clinic
Thursday, November 11, 4 – 6 p.m.
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
Free

Is NOT Having a Website Costing You Money? Create One Yourself! (Part 1)
Friday, November 12, 6 – 7 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Free

Important Year-End Money Moves Before the New Year Kicks In
Monday, November 15, 5 – 7 p.m.
Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Free

Remote Work: Can It Work For Your Business?
Tuesday, November 16, 10 – 11 a.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Free

Beneficios de Préstamos de Daños Económicos por Covid EIDL (en persona)   
Martes, 16 de noviembre, 10 – 11 a.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center, 401 Roland Way, Suite 215
Gratis

іYa es hora de solicitar el perdón de su préstamo PPP! (en persona)
Martes, 16 de noviembre, 1 – 2 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center, 401 Roland Way, Suite 215
Gratis

Tuesday, November 16, 1 – 3 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC
Free

Beneficios de Préstamos de Daños Económicos por Covid EIDL (en persona)   
Martes, 16 de noviembre, 4 – 5 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center, 401 Roland Way, Suite 215
Gratis

Análisis de Costo y Margen de Ganancia
Tuesday, November 16, 6 – 9 p.m.
NorCal SBDC
Free

Is NOT Having a Website Costing You Money? Create One Yourself! (Part 1)
Wednesday, November 17, 4 – 5 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Free

Inside Oakland: Mayor Libby Schaaf
Thursday, November 18, 9 – 10 a.m.
Oakland Metro Chamber
$15

Trabajar Remotamente: ¿Puede Funcionar en Su Negocio?
Jueves, 18 de noviembre, 11 a.m. – Noon
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Gratis

Trabajar Remotamente: ¿Puede Funcionar en Su Negocio?
Jueves, 18 de noviembre, 2 – 3 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Gratis

Remote Work: Can It Work For Your Business?
Thursday, November 18, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Free

Know Your Rights: Commercial Evictions for Small Business Tenants (English, Spanish and Mandarin)
Thursday, November 18, 3 – 4 p.m.
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
Free

Beneficios de Préstamos de Daños Económicos por Covid EIDL (en persona)   
Jueves, 18 de noviembre, 6 – 7 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center, 401 Roland Way, Suite 215
Gratis

Is NOT Having a Website Costing You Money? Create One Yourself! (Part 1)
Friday, November 19, Noon – 1 p.m.
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center
Free

Effective Marketing Strategies to Manage Customer Pitfalls and Boost Loyalty
Tuesday, November 30, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Alameda County SBDC
Free

 
 

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