Bookmark this Page: COVID-19 Updates for Businesses
As of June 29, Alameda County has paused its reopening timeline. A revised and extended Shelter In Place Order is in effect in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. We're committed to keeping businesses up-to-date with relevant information; bookmark this page and check back for regular updates.
Alameda County provides a summary of Businesses Allowed to Operate (updated July 19).
Join Us! Share Ideas! Learn from Others!
Virtual Mixer Mondays
Grab your favorite libation and socialize online with your Downtown neighbors. This is an opportunity to have casual discussions about how we can help each other. Occurs every other week, starting at 5:30pm.
Next session: Aug 10
Town Hall: Tuesdays @ 2
Learn what is being done to support our local business community and get questions answered. This webinar series is in partnership with the City of Alameda and is open to all Alameda businesses. Occurs weekly.
Next session: Aug 11
Coffee Talk Thursdays
Relax with a morning beverage while we share insights & updates about the district and discuss operating a business during this unprecedented economic time... and beyond. Occurs every other week starting at 10am.
Next session: Aug 20
Recent Page Updates
8/6/20 added - Park Street Closure Survey (Google Form)
8/4/20 updated - Upcoming Webinars & Town Halls (Webinars)
7/20/20 added - Commercial Streets Program: Parklet How-To Video (Streets)
7/15/20 added - County Variance Info & Data Monitoring (Safety)
7/11/20 updated - Statewide Industry-Specific Guidelines (Safety)
6/22/20 added - City of Alameda Business Reopening Guide (Alameda)
6/18/20 updated - "the reopen guide" for Downtown Alameda Businesses (Safety)
6/1/20 added - What's Open Alameda? Directory (Alameda)
5/27/20 added - Alameda Strong Community Fund (Alameda)
UPCOMING WEBINARS & TOWN HALLS
The City of Alameda, West Alameda Business Association, and Alameda Chamber host special guests to discuss resources available for small businesses. Click on webinar titles to register.
- Monday, July 27, 5:30pm - Virtual Mixer Monday (hosted by Downtown Alameda Business Association)
- Tuesday, July 28, 2:00pm - Town Hall: Tuesdays @ 2 (hosted by Downtown Alameda Business Association)
- Wednesday, July 29, 11:00am - Grow Your Business Online (hosted by Alameda Chamber)
- Wednesday, July 29, 5:00-6:30pm - Active Transportation Plan Virtual Open House (hosted by City of Alameda)
Past Online Discussions - click on titles to view
- Parklets How-To Webinar (July 9, 2020)
- Park Street Reuse (June 14, 2020)
- Best Practices in Retail and Restaurant Re-opening (May 28, 2020)
- Panel Discussion: Helping to Define "The New Norm" (May 22, 2020)
- Legal Insights with Robert Matz (May 1, 2020)
Featured Video: Be Alameda Strong, please donate today.
REOPENING BUSINESSES SAFELY
Employers can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring that they follow the state and local guidelines in implementing Site-Specific Protection Plans, and supporting employees’ decisions to stay home.
In following California's Roadmap, all businesses need to take steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 by creating a safe environment for both workers and customers. Before reopening, businesses are required to:
- Perform a risk assessment of your business practices and implement a Site-Specific Protection Plan (SPP)
- 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 regular cleaning and disinfecting protocols (EPA approved list of disinfectants)
- Implement physical distancing guidelines
Signage should be posted at each public entrance to remind workers and customers of face coverings, social distancing, and other health protocols you have in place.
Note: Alameda County is on a delayed schedule compared to California. Where there are differences between the local Health Officer’s order and the State’s order, the stricter restrictions apply.
Required: Site-Specific Protection Plan
A revised and extended Shelter in Place Order requires all businesses and organizations allowed to operate under the Order to develop and comply with the elements of a Site Specific Protection Plan (SPP). The purpose of the document is to provide each business with clear guidance for reopening in a manner that provides a safe, clean environment for employees and customers.
The Site-Specific Protection Plan (SPP) template provided by the County combines state-level guidance published in the California State Resilience Roadmap and guidance from the Alameda County Public Health Department to help businesses meet requirements for reopening. View Here
Required: Face Coverings
The updated Order requires Face Coverings to be worn when around others outside the home. All businesses must take reasonable measures, such as posting signs, to remind customers, clients, visitors, staff, and others of the requirement that they wear a Face Covering while inside or waiting in line to enter the business. A sample sign to be posted at your entrance can be found at the Department of Public Health website: Download Here
Need a large format sign for posting at your entrance? Pick up a FREE sign at Island Print Express (1422 Park Street) Mon-Fri between 10am and 2pm.
Key Documents for Reopening:
- Required: Alameda County Site Protection Plan
- Required: Face Coverings (includes sign template)
- California Reopening Guidelines & Checklists (by industry type)
- CDC Reopening Decision Tool
- County Variance Info & Data Monitoring (new***)
- Alameda County Reopening Plan
- Alameda County Resources & Reopening Guidance for Businesses
COMMERCIAL STREETS PROGRAM
The Downtown Association has been working closely with City staff to develop a new program to support the health of our businesses and the community. As a result, the City is launching a multi-pronged Commercial Streets Program. The program streamlines the permit approval process for expanding dining and retail to parklets (using parking spaces) and sidewalks. The program also reconfigures a portion of Park Street to greatly increase the area available for pedestrian passage, along with outdoor dining, retail, and other commercial uses.
Parklet Webinar (July 9)
Commercial Use on Sidewalks
Businesses are allowed to set up outdoor dining and retail on the sidewalks -- no permits are needed. A minimum of eight feet of clear space must be maintained along Park Street, and six feet on the side streets. Additional information and detailed parameters can be found on the Commercial Streets web page.
Businesses that would like to have existing on-street parking converted to curbside pick-up or short-term parking can make a request to the city. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, business name and address, and request. The City will review requests as they are submitted and make these changes, as feasible.
Private Parking Lots & Outdoor Spaces
Businesses can use their privately-owned outdoor space and parking lots for outdoor dining, retail, and other commercial uses. ADA parking spaces and access needs to be maintained at all times. In most cases, plans and permit applications do not need to be submitted to the City, although permits are required for canopies larger than 10x10. Additional information and detailed parameters can be found on the Commercial Streets web page.
With a parklet, your business can convert the parking space(s) in front of and/or near your business into an area for outdoor dining, retail, or other commercial uses. The City has streamlined the parklet permit process and permits will be issued as quickly as possible. The Parklet Encroachment Permit Application, the Parklet Conditions, and the Parklet Design Guidelines can be found on the Commercial Streets web page.
Park Street Repurposing -- Restriping Completed
Park Street between Lincoln Ave and Encinal Ave was reduced to two lanes of traffic to greatly increase the outdoor area available for safe passage of people walking and shopping downtown. Businesses will be allowed to use the former curbside parking spaces next to the curb for outdoor dining, parklets (customer seating), and other commercial activities. The former outside traffic lane is strictly for pickup/dropoff (maximum 15-minutes parking). This configuration is expected to be in place through early-November, or longer if necessary. (City Bulletin, July 8)
CITY OF ALAMEDA UPDATES
The City of Alameda committed to keeping businesses up-to-date with relevant information. Regular updates and information that may help business owners with the economic impacts of COVID-19 are being posted on the city's website:
- Preparing to Reopen
- Webinars + Town Halls
- Business Loans & Grants
- Tax Extensions, Deferments, and Credits
- Eviction Relief for Businesses
- Unemployment Assistance and Work Sharing
- Other Resources for Businesses
What's Open Alameda? Directory: Over 240 businesses are listed on this new, user-friendly directory for all Alameda businesses open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Registration only takes a few minutes, and allows you to add information on specials, COVID-19 safety measures, curbside/delivery info, or anything else you would like to share with your customers. Add your business here
Alameda Strong Community Fund: In partnership with our local business associations, the City has launched a new "Alameda Strong" campaign to raise money for Alameda businesses, residents, and non-profits adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the grant awards, small businesses and non-profits could receive up to $7,500; sole proprietor businesses could receive $3,750. The goal is to raise over $1 million for grants that can help our most vulnerable small businesses. Help get the word out about this new program! More info: www.alamedastrong.org
Please Note: The grant application for businesses is not available yet. Sign up to be notified when the application process will open.
Temporary Zoning Changes
The City of Alameda has implemented emergency zoning changes. Businesses must notify the City via email (email@example.com) if they would like to make any of these changes.
- Businesses can use A-frame signs and temporary banners to advertise extended hours, additional food sales, and availability of other essential goods.
- Commercial businesses are allowed to temporarily sell food and other essential goods.
- Food-related businesses may stay open until 2am.
- Restaurants may sell to-go alcoholic beverages.
ECONOMIC RELIEF PROGRAMS
Payroll Protection Program (PPP) - Deadline extended to August 8
PPP is a forgivable loan from your business’s banking institution or other commercial lender for an amount equal to your business’ typical 2-1/2 months payroll. Small businesses, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons are eligible.
The loan may only to be used to pay payroll, business rent/mortgage interest, or utilities. You have 24 weeks to use the loan funds. After the 24 weeks you can apply to your lender for loan forgiveness. If you can show that at least 60% of the loan was used for payroll and not more than 40% was used for the other authorized purposes, the loan can be forgiven by the lender.
Learn more about the PPP and the information that will be requested when you apply with a lender: www.sba.gov/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program
Pandemic Unemployed Assistance
As part of the federal CARES Act, the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance as a direct result of limited business operation during the pandemic.
The EDD is currently accepting online applications for this program. More Info
Eviction Relief & Deferred Rent for Businesses
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. These protections will remain in place for 30 days after the declared state of emergency is over. 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. Read More
Business Tax Extensions, Deferments, and Credits
State and federal governments are assisting businesses experiencing economic hardship related to COVID-19:
- Business License and Business Improvement Area fees: Payment of Business License and Business Improvement Area fees is deferred for sixty (60) days -- penalties apply after September 1, 2020.
- State Income Tax Extension: Most small businesses now have until July 31, 2020 to file first quarter returns. If you qualify, the extension is automatic and you do not need to submit a request. More info: www.cdtfa.ca.gov#relief
- 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. More Info: www.edd.ca.gov/payroll_taxes
- Deferred Payment of Sales & Use Tax: Effective April 2, 2020, small businesses can take advantage of a 12-month, no-interest payment plan for up to $50,000 in sales and use tax liability. It’s essentially an interest-free loan. Payment plan requests can be made through the state's online services system. More Info: www.cdtfa.ca.gov#small-business-payment
- Employee Retention Tax Credit: Refundable payroll tax credits are available for 50% of qualified wages that eligible employers pay their employees. The credit applies to qualified wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. More Info: www.irs.gov
- Federal Tax Extension: The IRS has extended the deadlines to file and pay federal income taxes to July 15, 2020. More info: www.irs.gov/coronavirus-tax-relief
LOCAL BUSINESS GUIDANCE & RESOURCES
Local organizations are available to help equip you with tools and guide you through the economic difficulties posed by COVID-19:
- EAST Bay Score offers business counselling services, including help with applying for a SBA Disaster Assistance Loan. All counseling sessions are conducted by telephone, video, or email. East Bay Score can be reached at 510-273-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Alameda County SBDC provides one-on-one counselling for small businesses and has a wealth of information about resources and programs. Free online webinars are available featuring interviews with experts in capital resource, e-commerce, and more.
Small Business Survival Guide and Resources
California SBDC has compiled the latest news and resources in a Small Business Survival Guide that helps employers and employees get through the economic hardship of COVID-19 and prepare for a stronger reopen: www.californiasbdc.org/covid19
Other COVID-19 Resources for Businesses:
- Alameda County Health Care Agency: FAQs for Businesses
- Alameda County Public Health Dept: Health Officer Orders
- Alameda County Public Health Dept: Resources for Businesses and Employers
- California Department of Public Health COVID-19 Guidance for Specific Industries
- California GO-Biz: COVID-19 Small Business Resources
- California Labor & Workforce: COVID-19 Resources for Businesses and Workers
- California EDD: COVID-19 Support Services for Employers and Workers
- US Chamber: A Guide to Reopening Your Business
- Restore Your Economy - Reopening Guidance from Industry Associations
- Back To Work Safely - Industry-Specific Guidance for Smaller Businesses
- SBDC: Coping with COVID-19 Webinars, Small Business Guides, and other Resources
- Small Business Administration: COVID-19 Small Business Guide & Loan Resources
- East Bay Economic Development Alliance: COVID-19 Business Resources
- IRS: Coronavirus Tax Relief
- California Department of Tax and Fee Administration: COVID-19 Relief
- California Department of Insurance
- California State Treasurer Fiona Ma's Small Business Resource List
- CDC: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for Businesses & Employers
- EPA: Approved Disinfectants For Use Against COVID-19
The Reopen Guide
Our team has reviewed available COVID-19 resources to define best practices with actionable steps to help you transition into the next phase of reopening your business.
COVID-19 Business Relief Grant
The City of Alameda plans to offer another source of small business emergency funding to help our local businesses. This one will be funded by community donations.
Social Media 101
Learned how to grow your presence on Facebook and Instagram using best practices. Topics include: creating content, engaging with followers, and using hashtags.
About the Downtown Alameda Business Association
Mission & Purpose
The Downtown Alameda Business Association serves as a support network for the businesses located in Alameda's Park Street Business District. The Downtown Association's goal is to develop an economically prosperous business district through a united effort of its members.
Board & Committees
All meetings are held online. Contact the office for access.
Outreach Committee - Develops and maintains relationships with stakeholders and important entities including local businesses, property owners, City staff, and various government agencies.
First Tuesdays, 8:30am.
Operations Committee - Plans and executes key programs that are vital to the Downtown Association including managing the L&L Assessment and operational functions for street maintenance, event execution, and volunteers.
Second Tuesdays, 8:30am.
Marketing Committee - Develops the Downtown Association’s long-term marketing plan, creating a consistent brand and key messaging strategy to bring visitors to the downtown; plans and implements public events.
Third Mondays, 10:00am.
Board of Directors - Provides oversight and governance of the association, determines the annual budget, and represents the membership on issues that affect the District. Board members are elected by the membership.
Meets last Wednesday of the month, 8:00am.
Things To Know
The Downtown Alameda Business Association's staff are available to answer any questions you may have about our Downtown community -- send us an email, call, or schedule a meeting. In the meantime, our Member Portal is full of information you will find to be beneficial.
Downtown business mixers provide an opportunity for our members to network and receive district updates.
Next Downtown Mixer:
MONDAY VIRTUAL MIXER
- Monday, July 27
Mark your calendar... Downtown Mixers are usually held the third Wednesday of the month.