Business Resources

Please see the links below for information about a variety of state, local and federal programs that may help businesses with the potential economic impacts of COVID-19.

Updated 5/21/20

Current Alameda County Health Orders

On May 18, the Alameda County Health Officer issued a new health order that is now in effect until amended, superseded or rescinded.  The new health order (please click here to download the complete order, or click here to download a summary) allows additional Alameda businesses to resume operations, including:

  • 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
  • Businesses and activities authorized under previous orders may continue. 

These businesses must implement Site Specific Protection Plans, as required by California’s Resilience Roadmap, as well as any local guidance issued by the Alameda County Department of Public Health, to include the following elements:

  • Physical distancing 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

For more information, download the shelter in place health order here, download a summary of the orders here, read the County press release here, and read a joint statement by Bay Area health officers here.

Preparing for Re-Opening

As part of their Resilience Roadmap, the State of California has prepared industry guidance to help Californians prepare for the re-opening of our economy.  This website includes general guidance for businesses preparing to re-open, as well as specific guidance for a variety of industries.

Please note: The State of California is at a more advanced phase of re-opening than Alameda County. Not all of the businesses listed in the Resilience Roadmap are currently permitted to operate in Alameda County. Alameda County is moving in a measured and incremental way to protect people in our community at high risk for severe illness.  Where there are differences between the local Health Officer’s order and the State’s order, the stricter restrictions apply.

Even if not yet permitted to operate in Alameda County, many businesses may find the industry guidelines provided by the State of California helpful as they plan for re-opening. General guidelines include that, before reopening, all facilities must:

  • Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan
  • Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them
  • Implement individual control measures and screenings
  • Implement disinfecting protocols
  • Implement physical distancing guidelines

Please click here for more information, including specific guidance for industries such as retail, childcare, manufacturing, life sciences, and many others.

Please click here for specific guidance for restaurants and bars.

GRANT PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

**This grant program is no longer accepting applications**

The City of Alameda established a COVID-19 business relief grant program to assist small businesses in Alameda with relief from the COVID-19 economic disaster. Businesses can receive a one-time grant of $7,500. The total amount available for small business relief grants will be $600,000 (or 80 grants). Applications will be accepted from 4:00 PM, Monday, April 27, 2020 at through 11:59 PM on Thursday, May 7, 2020. Click here to learn more.

Upcoming

The following webinars are open to the entire Alameda business community.  Thank you to our partners at the Downtown Alameda Business Association, West Alameda Business Association, Greater Alameda Business Association, and Alameda Chamber of Commerce.

  • Small Business Development Center Live Q&A, Friday, May 22 at 10:30am: The SBDC is hosting a series of live Q&A at 10:30am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to address questions related to COVID-19, with a focus on SBA loans such as the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan.  Please click here to to register in advance, and here to review recordings of previous webinars.
  •  Helping to Define "The New Norm" What Does RE-OPENING Look Like: Friday, May 22 at 11am: In this webinar, hosted by the Alameda Chamber of Commerce, community business leasers will share ideas on what they are doing to move forward and how they are pivoting and adapting to the "new norm." Please click here for more information and to register. 

  • Small Business Development Center Live Q&A, Wednesday, May 27 at 10:30am: The SBDC is hosting a series of live Q&A at 10:30am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to address questions related to COVID-19, with a focus on SBA loans such as the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan.  Please click here to to register in advance, and here to review recordings of previous webinars. 

  • Best Practices in Retail and Restaurant Re-opening, Wednesday, May 27 at 1pm: In partnership with the Alameda Chamber of Commerce, the City of Alameda is hosting a new webinar to help retailers and restauranteurs plan for re-opening. Representatives from the California Retail Association and California Restaurant Association will provide information and best practices from across the state, followed by a question and answer session.  Please click here to register in advance.

  • Small Business COVID-19 Credit Repair Workshop, Thursday, May 28 from 11am-2pm: The Alameda County SBDC is hosting a three-hour workshop to help small businesses understand their credit, fix their credit, and settle any debt.  Please click here for more information and to register in advance.

  • Small Business Development Center Live Q&A, Friday, May 29 at 10:30am: The SBDC is hosting a series of live Q&A at 10:30am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to address questions related to COVID-19, with a focus on SBA loans such as the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan.  Please click here to to register in advance, and here to review recordings of previous webinars. 

Previous

  • Next Steps for SBA Loan Recipients: On May 21, 2020 the City of Alameda hosted a webinar for recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) gave a presentation on the rules and regulations associated with the PPP and EIDL programs, and answered participant questions.

 

  •  Preparing for the New Normal: On May 6, the City of Alameda hosted a webinar to assist small businesses in preparing for the future in the midst of uncertainty.

  

  • Navigating Human Resources During COVID-19.  On April 17, 2020, the City of Alameda hosted a webinar to assist businesses in navigating questions around human resources related to COVID-19. 
  • SBA Disaster Loans and Grant Funding: Please click here to watch the March 30 webinar hosted by the West Alameda Business Association, on the topic of SBA Disaster Loans and Grant funding. 

Paycheck Protection Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration is providing federally guaranteed, forgivable loans of up to $10 million to small businesses, with the goal of incentivizing businesses to keep their employees on the payroll.  Loans will be forgiven if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.  Please click here for more information, and please click here for a recently released FAQ on the program.

Please click here for a list of Alameda banks which are processing Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Technical Assistance for SBA Loan Applications: There are two local organizations which can provide you with technical support in filling out SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications:

  • EAST Bay Score is open Monday through Friday, 9:30am to 2:30pm, and can be reached at 510-273-6611 or info@eastbayscore.orgPlease click here for more information.
  • Alameda SBDC provides one-on-one counselling for small businesses and assistance with the SBA Disaster Assistance Loan Program.  Please click here for more information. 

Information about the Paycheck Protection Program is now available in 17 additional languages:

 

Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Emergency Loan Advances

**note: the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is not currently taking loan applications due to a lapse in appropriations.  If you have already submitted a grant application, it will continue to be processed on a first come, first served basis.**

 Alameda businesses are eligible for disaster assistance loans of up to $2 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Eligible businesses may also qualify for a forgivable, emergency advance of up to $10,000.  This loan advance will not have to be repaid, and funds will be available within three days of a successful application. Businesses may be eligible for the funds even if their loan application is declined or pending.

Please click here for more information about EIDL loans, and here for more information about emergency loan advances. You may also contact the SBA disaster customer service center via phone at 1-800-659-2955 or e-mail at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

     

    California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program

    The State of California has allocated $50 million for loan guarantees to small businesses to help eliminate barriers to capital for individuals who do not qualify for federal funds, including low wealth and undocumented immigrant communities. Please click here for more information.

     

    California Capital Access Program for Small Businesses (CalCAP)

    The CalCAP  program encourages banks to make loans to small businesses that may otherwise have difficulty obtaining financing. If you own a small business and need a loan for working capital, start-up costs, or expansion, you maybe eligible for this program. Loans are available up to $5 million. Please click here for more information.

    Private/Non-profit Grant Opportunities

    • Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund: Verizon and LISC are teaming up to provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of Covid-19—especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically underserved communities who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital.  Please click here for more information. 
    • Hello Alice COVID-19 Business for All Emergency Grant: Hello Alice is offering $10,000 grants to small business owners impacted by COVID-19. Please click here for more information.
    • Facebook Small Business Grants Program: Facebook is offering $100 million in small grants and ad credits to up to 30,000 businesses.  Please click here for more information.
    • Kiva Zero-Interest Loans: Kiva offers zero-interest loans of up to $15,000 to small businesses.  Please click here for more information.
    • San Francisco Foundation Grants for Non-Profits: The San Francisco Foundation will make grants of $3,000 – $25,000 to nonprofits addressing the following four issue areas: racial bias, worker protection, homelessness and renter protection/housing security, and food security. Please click here for more information

    City of Alameda Taxes, Fees and Licenses 

    Business License and Business Improvement Area fees: Payment of Business License and Business Improvement Area fees is deferred for sixty (60) days - from July 1 to September 1, 2020.

    Transient Occupancy Tax: Payment of Transient Occupancy Tax is deferred for sixty (60) days, for the months of March, April, and May 2020, for local hotels and other businesses that require TOT collection.

    State of California Taxes

    State Payroll Tax Extension

    Employers may request up to a 60-day extension from the EDD to file state payroll reports and/or deposit payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return.  Employers may call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center for more information at 1-888-745-3886/TTY: 1-800-547-9565.

    Deferred Payment of Sales Tax

    Effective April 2, 2020, small businesses with less than $5 million in taxable annual sales can take advantage of a 12-month, interest-free, payment plan for up to $50,000 of sales and use tax liability. Please click here for more information.

    California State Tax Extension

    The State of California has extended their tax filing and payment deadlines to July 15th, 2020 in many cases. Please click here for more information.

    Federal Taxes

    Employee Retention Tax Credit

    Fully refundable tax credits are available for equal to 50 percent of qualified wages that eligible employers pay their employees. This Employee Retention Credit applies to qualified wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021.  Please click here for more information.

    Federal Tax Extension

    The IRS has extended the deadlines to file and pay federal income taxes to July 15, 2020. Please click here for more information.

     

    The Alameda City Council has taken action to protect residential and commercial tenants from being evicted for non-payment of rent due to a substantial loss of income/revenue because of COVID-19. In addition, the Council has prohibited landlords from shutting off utilities except in case of an emergency or as part of an “essential activity” as defined in the Alameda County shelter in place order (and then, only the shortest time as possible to conduct the essential activity).

    These protections are in place as of March 1, 2020, and will remain in place for 30 days after the declared state of emergency is over. Both residential and commercial tenants will then have 180 days to catch up on any deferred rent that was not paid from March 1, 2020 to 30 days following the end of the local emergency declaration.

    For residents, a substantial loss of income is defined as a reduction in income of 20 percent or more, due to loss of employment or a reduction in work hours, extraordinary medical costs, or extraordinary childcare needs.

    For businesses, a substantial loss of revenue equates to a 20 percent reduction in revenues, for example, from paying employees to remain off work or reducing business operations to comply with the shelter in place order, or shutting a business down completely.

    For households of a certain income, you may receive free legal services and more information on how the Urgency Ordinance protects you by contacting Centro Legal De Le Raza at 510-437-1554. 

    The Alameda City Attorney Office’s Prosecution Unit represents the People of the State of California in misdemeanor criminal matters referred by law enforcement agencies, such as the Alameda Police Department or Code Enforcement Division. City Prosecutors are further charged with bringing affirmative litigation, in coordination with the District Attorney’s Office, in response to violations of consumer protection and fair housing laws, and protecting consumers against fraud and unfair business practices.  If you have additional questions, please contact the City Attorney’s Office’s Prosecution Unit at (510)-747-4772, or email to cityprosecutor@alamedacityattorney.org.

    Please click here to view the press release.

    Please click here(PDF, 7MB) to download and read the complete Ordinance.

    Unemployment Benefits for Business Owners, Independent Contractors, and the Self-Employed

    The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program provides financial benefits to unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, or otherwise not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance. Please click here for more information. 

    Business Counselling

    • EAST Bay Score offers business counselling services, including help to businesses applying, or considering applying, for a loan from the SBA Disaster Assistance Loan program.  Temporarily, because of COVID-19, all counseling sessions by East Bay SCORE will be conducted by telephone, video or email, rather than face-to-face. They are open Monday through Friday, 9:30am to 2:30pm, and can be reached at 510-273-6611 or info@eastbayscore.orgPlease click here for more information.
    • The Alameda SBDC provides one-on-one counselling for small businesses, and a wealth of information about resources and programs, including this Small Business Survival GuidePlease click here for more information. 

    Reduced Work Hours

    Employers can apply for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Work Sharing Program if reduced production, services, or other conditions cause them to seek an alternative to layoffs.  The Work Sharing Program helps employers and employees:

    • Minimize or eliminate the need for layoffs
    • Keep trained employees and quickly prepare when business conditions improve
    • Avoid the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees
    • Receive Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits
    • Keep their current job
    • Avoid financial hardships
    • Please click here for more information.

    Potential Closure or Layoffs

    Employers planning a closure or major layoffs as a result of COVID-19 can get help through the Rapid Response program. Rapid Response teams will meet with you to discuss your needs, help avert potential layoffs, and provide immediate on-site services to assist workers facing job losses. For more information, refer to the Rapid Response Services for Businesses Fact Sheet (DE 87144RRB) (PDF) or contact Alameda’s One Stop Career Center 510-748-2208.  Please click here for more information.

    Tools for Remote Work

    The Open for Business Hub provides a summary of tech business which are providing free tools to assist businesses with remote work.  Please click here for more information.

    Protect Your Workers

     Please click here for the latest Cal/OSHA Interim Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from COVID-19. 

    Plan, Prepare and Respond to COVID-19

     Please click here for the latest CDC guidance on how to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19.

    During the current shelter-in-place, the City of Alameda's Planning, Building and Transportation services will continue to be available by phone, email, and on-line. In-person inspections will be available.

    • For service by email, please send your request to: permits@alamedaca.gov.   
    • By phone, please call:
    • 510-747-6800 for building permits or information
    • 510-747-6805 for planning permits or information, or
    • 510-747-6854 if you are having problems or do not know what to do
    • If you are ready to submit an application, you may do so, online by clicking on the following link: Submit Application Online 
    • Inspection procedures are unchanged. Please call the inspection line between 7:30 and 8:30 at 510-747-6830 to schedule an inspection.
    • If you would like to speak with the Department Director Andrew Thomas, call him at 510-747-6881 or email athomas@alamedaca.gov

    Please click here for more information.

    Emergency Zoning Changes: The City of Alameda has implemented emergency zoning changes to extend business hours for food related services and to make curbside pickup easier. The changes allow food-related businesses to sell to-go alcoholic beverages and to stay open until 2am.  The changes also allows commercial establishments to temporarily sell food and other essential goods.  Any business intending to implement these changes must notify the Planning, Building and Transportation Department by email at permits@alamedaca.gov 

    COVID-19 Guidance: Please click here for guidance to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in food and beverage venues (April 22, 2020).

    Alameda Restaurants Take Out and Delivery List: The City of Alameda is maintaining a list of restaurants that are currently offering take-out and delivery services.  Please email us at econdev@alamedaca.gov to be added to the list.

    Alcoholic Beverages Allowed for Delivery and To-Go: The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has issued a notice of regulatory relief allowing licensed bars and restaurants to provide alcoholic beverages for pick-up or delivery under specific circumstance. Please click here for more information, including important details about eligible license types, packaging, and other requirements.

    Resources for the Restaurant Industry:

    • The James Beard Foundation has a number of resources for restaurant professionals related to COVID-19, including a webinar series and grant program. Please click here for more information.
    • The National Restaurant Association has launched the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, providing grants of $500 to restaurant workers impacted by COVID-19.  Please click here for more information.
    • The California Restaurant Association has launched Restaurants Care, a website with resources for restaurants impacted by COVID-19, and a grant program for their workers. Please click here for more information.
    • The Restaurant Strong Fund is providing grants to restaurant, bar, cafe and nightclub workers. Please click here for more information.