Immediate Assistance for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Including Temporary Tax Relief and $500 Million in Grants Announced by State of California
On November 30, Governor Newsom announced a program providing immediate assistance for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
The program provides tax relief for businesses impacted by COVID-19 though the following actions:
The program also announced $500 million for new COVID relief grant for small businesses administered by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate for small businesses that have been impacted by COVID and the health and safety restrictions. Funds would be awarded to selected intermediaries with established networks of Community Development Financial Institutions to distribute relief through grants of up to $25,000 to underserved micro and small businesses throughout the state by early 2021. Non-profits would also be eligible for these grants. CalOSBA is establishing the program and will make it available as soon as possible -- for updates on availability, sign up HERE.
The California Rebuilding Fund, announced last week, made available $25 million to help impacted small businesses rebuild from the economic crisis and keep local economies strong. This program is built to be a resource in the market for the next year as businesses pivot and recover. This program will increase funding for the California Rebuilding Fund by $12.5 million. The additional funding will help the 3rd party administrator of the fund raise $125 million to make more low-interest loans to small businesses with less access to loans from traditional banking institutions. Sign up for updates on the California Rebuilding Fund programs HERE.
To read the full press release from the office of the Governor, click here.
To view updates for businesses and employers from the State, click here.
Effective November 16, the California Department of Public Health issued an updated guidance for the use of face coverings, mandating that a face covering is required at all times when outside of the home, with some exceptions.
Some exemptions include:
The following individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings at all times:
Read more here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/guidance-for-face-coverings.aspx
California voters had an opportunity to vote on 14 ballot measures during the 2020 General Presidential Election. An overview with the results of these ballot measures are outlined below:
Prop 14: Stem Cell Research Institute Bond Initiative
Proposition 14 was approved by voters with a 51.1% YES vote. This measure will issue $5.5 billion in general obligation funds for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which was established to fund stem cell research. The bond funds, less 7.5 percent for operational costs, would be spent on grants to entities that conduct research, trials, and programs related to stem cells, as well as start-up costs for facilities.
Proposition 15: Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government
Proposition 15 was not approved by voters with a 52% NO vote. This measure would have increased funding for K-12 public schools, community colleges, and local governments by requiring that commercial and industrial real estate property be taxed on current market value.
Proposition 16: Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment
Proposition 16 was not approved by voters with a 57.1% NO vote. This measure would have repealed Prop. 209, passed in 1996, from the California Constitution. Proposition 209 stated that discrimination and preferential treatment were prohibited in public employment, public education, and public contracting on account of a person's or group's race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. Proposition 209 banned the use of affirmative action involving race-based or sex-based preferences in California.
Proposition 17: Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment
Proposition 17 was approved by voters with a 58.6% YES vote. This measure will amend the California constitution to allow people on parole for felony convictions to vote in California.
Proposition 18: Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment
Proposition 18 was not approved by voters with a 56% NO vote. This measure would have allowed 17-year-olds who will be 18 at the time of the next general election to vote in primary elections and special elections.
Proposition 19: Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment
Proposition 19 was approved by voters with a 51.1% YES vote. This measure will permit homeowners who are 55, severely disabled, or whose homes were destroyed by wildfire or disaster, to transfer their primary residence's property tax base value to a replacement residence of any value, anywhere in the state.
Proposition 20: Criminal Sentencing, Parole and DNA Collection Initiative
Proposition 20 was not approved by voters with a 61.8% NO vote. This measure would have limited access to parole programs established for non violent offenders who have completed the full term of their primary offense by eliminating eligibility for certain offenses. It would authorize felony charges for specified theft crimes currently chargeable only as misdemeanors, including some theft crimes where the value is between $250 and $500.
Proposition 21: Local Rent Control Initiative
Proposition 21 was not approved by voters with a 59.8% NO vote. This measure would have amended state law to allow local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old and allows local limits on annual rent increases to differ from current statewide limit. It would have allowed rent increases in rent-controlled properties of up to 15 percent over three years at the start of new tenancy.
Proposition 22: App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative
Proposition 22 was approved by voters with a 58.6% YES vote. This measure will consider app-based drivers to be independent contractors and not employees or agents. This will override AB5 on the question of whether app-based drivers are employees or independent contractors.
Proposition 23: Dialysis Clinic Requirements Initiative
Proposition 23 was not approved by voters with a 63.6% NO vote. This measure would have required at least one licensed physician on site during treatment at outpatient kidney dialysis clinics; authorized CDPH to exempt clinics from this requirement if there was a shortage of qualified licensed physicians.
Proposition 24: Consumer Personal Information Law and Agency Initiative
Proposition 24 was approved by voters with a 56.2% YES vote. This measure will permit consumers to prevent businesses from sharing personal information, correct inaccurate personal information, and limit businesses' use of "sensitive personal information." It will also establish the California Privacy Protection Agency to additionally enforce and implement consumer privacy law and impose fines.
Proposition 25: Replace Cash Bail with Risk Assessments Referendum
Proposition 25 was not approved by voters with a 56.4% NO vote. This measure would have replaced the money bail system (for obtaining release from jail before trial) with a system based on determination of public safety and flight risk, and limits detention of a person in jail before trial for most misdemeanors.
As more people work and learn from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to stay connected online is more important than ever. Unfortunately, sometimes power outages can happen because of weather conditions, unforeseen circumstances, public safety and critical work. Staying prepared for power outages and unexpected emergencies can help relieve some of the stress when it happens.
Here are ways to stay connected online when the power goes out:
For more information on preparing for outages, check out the SCE website here.
Last week, the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Governor Newsom advocating for the safe, efficient reopening of industries in our County. The letter urged the Governor to reexamine the metrics that determine where a county sits on the County Risk Level tier system, and specifically mentioned the number of positive cases being inflated by the cases from individuals who are in prison.
Read the full letter below:
Dear Governor Newsom:
The Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce, representing over 600 businesses and thousands of employees, fights to protect and promote business in Simi Valley. More than 80% of the businesses represented employ fewer than 10 employees, and 95% of these businesses have been forced to alter their business practices, reduce their operations, or forced to close entirely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We appreciate your efforts to protect the health and safety of Californians to slow the spread of the COVID-19. However, the related shutdowns and the dimmer switch approach have many small businesses hanging by a thread, if they have not already permanently shut their doors.
We were hopeful that the Blueprint for a Safe Economy and the four tiers announced in late August would provide some relief to these businesses, but the reality is that many of these businesses are struggling even more and feel as though there is no possibility of reopening their doors any time soon.
The metrics that are being assessed to determine a county’s risk level are inconsistent, at best. In Ventura County, our positivity rate has consistently been in the Moderate (Orange) level since the new evaluation metrics were released. However, our county continues to sit in the Widespread (purple) tier due to our adjusted cases sitting slightly above 7. One major factor adding to this higher number of adjusted cases is the number of positive cases among prisoners.
We don’t believe that positive cases among prisoners should be counted toward the adjusted positive cases that factor into the county risk level metrics. As we understand many of these individuals are not from Ventura County. Additionally, these individuals are isolated and not out in our communities spreading the virus. If this group could be removed from the numbers, we believe our County would be able to move closer towards safely reopening our businesses.
To add insult to injury, the smoke from the wildfires that have overwhelmed much of California combined with the extreme heat we have been experiencing has had an even more devastating impact on these business trying to survive and run their indoor business outdoors. It would be a healthier environment for individuals to exercise or enjoy a meal indoors while distanced than by sitting outside surrounded by excessive heat or wildfire smoke.
The affected businesses in Simi Valley have worked diligently to refit their indoor operations to meet California Department of Public Health (CDPH) industry guidance. Over these past seven months they have shown remarkable resilience and have complied with the countless regulations which comes with a huge financial and emotional price tag. Many of these small business owners have already lost or significantly reduced their revenue stream, while their expenses remain the same or higher in many cases.
The struggles that our businesses are experiencing are not a result of anything they have done. This is of no fault of their own; in fact, many of these businesses were thriving prior to the pandemic. They need assistance to keep their doors open, and they need their government to work for them.
In closing, we urge you to reevaluate the adjusted positive cases less the positive cases from prisoners when assessing the county’s risk level. Our small businesses have worked hard to provide a safe, clean indoor environment for customers. They are the backbone of our state and local economies and they deserve to reopen their doors as they strictly comply with state guidelines.
Kathi Van Etten
President & CEO
Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce
The Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce, the City of Simi Valley, and the Moorpark Chamber of Commerce have joined together to partner with Ventura County District 4 Supervisor Bob Huber's office in the Business Recovery Task Force. The Task Force was formed in late May 2020 and meets weekly to discuss areas of greatest need for business, and to determine the best course of action to help these businesses. Since its inception, the Task Force has made thousands of outreach calls to businesses in Simi Valley and Moorpark to hear the concerns and challenges they are facing and to collect information that can be provided to elected officials.
At the August 5 meeting, members of the State Delegation including Assembly Member Christy Smith, a district representative for Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, and a district representative for Senator Henry Stern joined in the meeting to learn about issues facing businesses in their districts. The Task Force shared stories about local businesses who have been forced to close or move outdoors, the impact that these closures have had on the local economy, and discussed the state metrics for a County to be on the watch list. The Task Force members pushed to reopen businesses by asking the state delegation to approach the Governor regarding the metrics that place a county on the "watch list," which has required additional industries to either close their business or move outdoors.
At the August 12 meeting, representatives from the Federal Government, including staff members from the offices of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congresswoman Julia Brownley, and Congressman Mike Garcia, as well as staff from the United States Chamber of Commerce, attended the Task Force meeting to learn more about local business struggles. The Task Force shared examples of our local businesses, and stressed the importance of additional federal funding desperately needed to keep our businesses open. With legislation being proposed in Congress regarding additional relief, the Task Force further emphasized the need to expand and re-fund the PPP and SBA programs.
The Task Force will continue to meet, outreach to local businesses, and fight to provide businesses with the resources and funds they need to reopen and stay open.
City Allows for Temporary Outdoor Business Expansion for Businesses No Longer Allowed to Operate Indoor by State or County Directive
The City is offering a Temporary Outdoor Business Expansion Permit (TUP - COVID19-B) to assist businesses that have been impacted by Governor Newsom’s July 13, 2020 order, which mandates the closure of indoor operations of many businesses. This permit will allow businesses to move outdoors into public spaces and other areas to accommodate business operations at pre-COVID-19 levels effective July 23, 2020. The following business sectors are eligible to apply for a Temporary Outdoor Business Expansion Permit:
• Gyms and Fitness Centers
• Places of Worship
• Indoor Protests
• Personal Care Services (including nail salons, and massage parlors
• Hair Salons and Barbershops
• Restaurants (allowed under previous order)
Outdoor areas may include sidewalks, parking lots, and unused patio areas. The allowable number of parking spaces to be utilized for outdoor areas will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Businesses that apply for a Temporary Outdoor Business Expansion Permit must be registered at www.vcreopens.com, in compliance with the County of Ventura Health Officer’s Order, the State’s Industry Sector guidelines, the County of Ventura Environmental Health regulations if applicable, and California’s Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) guidelines if applicable. The permit application can be downloaded from the City’s website at www.simivalley.org/covid19. Businesses can also call the Planning Division for assistance at (805) 583-6769.
For more information regarding COVID-19, please visit https://covid19.ca.gov/.
Update from Dr. Jason Peplinski, Superintendent of the Simi Valley Unified School District to Kick-Of Chamber’s Community Connections Virtual Speaker Series
July 20, 2020, Simi Valley, CA – The Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce is excited to launch the Community Connections
2020 Speaker Series on Thursday, July 30th with an update from Dr. Jason Peplinski, Superintendent of Simi Valley Unified School District.
Dr. Peplinski will provide an update to students, parents and community members on the Simi Valley Unified School District’s plan for the 2020 School Year in light of COVID-19.
“With all of the changes that have happened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want the community to hear decision makers first hand on how they are moving forward,” said Kathi Van Etten, President/CEO of the Simi Valley Chamber. “An update from Dr. Peplinski about the upcoming Simi Valley school year is incredibly relevant as it impacts a sizeable part of our population.”
This update is the first in a series designed to connect community leaders with community members to provide the most up to date information on areas and topics that impact Simi Valley.
This virtual event will be on Thursday, July 30th from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Registration is required to attend this free event. Interested individuals can register HERE
In a press conference on Monday July 13th, Governor Newsom issued an order mandating additional industry closures throughout the State.
Effective July 13, 2020, ALL counties must close indoor operations in these sectors:
Additionally, bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs must close all operations both indoor and outdoor statewide.
Counties that have remained on the County Monitoring List for 3 consecutive days are required to shut down the following industries unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pick-up. This order applies to Ventura County.
The Ventura County Public Health Officer may release guidance related to this order with additional restrictions. The most restrictive order issued must be followed by businesses.
Contact the Chamber if you have any questions at 805-526-3900.
Starting June 18, Californians must wear face coverings in common and public indoor spaces and outdoors when distancing is not possible.
The California Department of Public Health issued updated guidance regarding this order from the State of California. The guidance outlines situations when people in California must wear face coverings, including:
The following individuals are exempt from wearing a face covering:
For the full guidance, click here