Ventura County Public Health Department issues guidance for reopening additional sectors
Personal Services, Movies, Wedding Ceremonies permitted with restrictions
VENTURA, CA – As Ventura County’s hospitalized COVD-19 cases have stabilized, the Ventura County Public Health Officer has issued new guidance permitting the reopening of additional businesses that were previously closed. Sectors that may reopen with modifications, social distancing protocols, and completion of the attestation process include, but are not limited to:
2) Indoor wedding ceremonies with 25% capacity or up to 100 people, whichever is less.
3) No reception or party permitted.
These sectors may be open only while adhering to social distancing protocols provided by the Governor and the Health Officer and after completing the County’s attestation process at www.vcreopens.com.
For more information about COVID-19 and the local response, visit www.venturacountyrecovers.org.
The County of Ventura has launched its Business Assistance Grant Program to provide relief for small businesses and nonprofit organizations from the impacts of COVID-19.
The Business Assistance Grant Program includes grants of $5,000 each for small businesses to alleviate impacts from COVID-19 for allowed uses such as payroll support, lease and rent payments, costs for personal protective equipment, purchases related to the operation of their businesses, and extraordinary business expenses for adhering to compliance protocols for reopening.
Business Assistance Grants will be $5,000 awards to 1,000 recipients and will be available to those small businesses that meet the following criteria:
Business owners can apply for the grant at www.vcreopens.com from June 24 to July 8, 2020.
The County has also released its Rental Assistance Program, which may provide temporary rental assistance for Ventura County residents who owe past-due rent becuase of a hardship due to COVID-19. Priority will be given to eligible applicants with an annual household income of less than 50% area median income, followed by 80% AMI. The application process opens online at www.ventura.org/rent on June 17, 2020. Applications must be fully completed by July 1, 2020, including submission of information requested from each applicant's landlord to support the appliction. If more eligible households apply than total funding can support, a computerized lottery system will be used to fund eligible households at random.
Those who qualify could potentially receive rental assistance in the amount of $1,500 for a studio/1 bedroom and $2,500 for a 2 bedroom or larger, with a maximum of two months of rent owed. While the funding may not fully cover monthly rent, it will assist in reducing the amounts owed. Payments will be made directly to landlords.
The rental program is federally funded by the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and prioritizes rental assistance for those with very low incomes who have been unable to pay rent due to the impacts of COVID-19.
On Friday, June 5, the California Department of Public Health put out a news release that included new guidance in multiple areas effective June 12. The County of Ventura and our public health officials will be reviewing this guidance in the coming days and we will update you with the industries that are allowed to register and reopen in Ventura County. Please review the news release below to find additional details.
California Public Health Officials Provide COVID-19 Update
State Announces New County Monitoring List to Support Local COVID-19 Response and Allow Timely Response to Outbreaks
State Releases New Guidance to Help Counties Plan for Reopening Based on Decisions by Local Public Health Officials
State Announces Critical Supplies and Guidance to Support Re-Opening of Schools and Childcare Facilities
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health today announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19. California has 122,901 confirmed cases and 4,485 deaths. To date 2,238,463 tests conducted in California, with an increase of 55,792 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period. As testing capacity continues to increase across the state, an increase in the number of positive cases has been expected. However California remains in the range of stability for case positivity rate and COVID-19 related hospitalizations. Despite increased testing and the reopening of certain sectors of the economy, California’s case positivity rate is at 4.5 percent and the number of hospitalizations has decreased by 2.9 percent over the last 14 days.
As Californians will remain at risk for COVID-19 until there is an effective, widely available vaccine, CDPH today also released its first County Monitoring List to give Californians insight into how their county is performing and provide early indicators of developing areas of concern. As the state continues to advance through its Pandemic Resilience Roadmap, CDPH also released guidance for additional sectors of the economy. This guidance provides sectors with information on public health modifications they should implement prior to opening. Upon review of local data related to COVID-19 spread and county preparedness, the county public health officer will make a final decision about the timing for opening a sector.
"Just because some businesses are opening doesn't mean your risk for COVID-19 is gone. We all need to continue to keep physical distancing, wash our hands and wear face coverings in public," said Dr. Sonia Angell, State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health. "As we continue to release guidance on how different sections can reopen with modifications, it is important to remember guidance doesn't mean 'go.' Your local health officer will make the final decision about which sectors will open, guided by data specific to your community."
County Monitoring List
California is actively monitoring data on how COVID-19 is affecting individual communities. Today, the California Department of Public Health is publishing the County Monitoring List to give Californians insight into how their county is performing and provide early indication of developing areas of concern. The state will work closely with county health officials to more effectively target the public health response to local outbreaks. This will include identifying the drivers of increased transmission, reviewing strategies, discussing additional steps that can be taken (testing, contact tracing, infection control), discussing gaps in resources, and reviewing local containment measures. If a county is not able to address a localized outbreak it should consider reinstituting sector limitations or more general Stay-at-Home provisions. If the county makes insufficient or no progress, the State Public Health Officer may take action.
Given the state’s vast geographic diversity, many counties have attested to epidemiological readiness and overall preparedness and are able to move at their own pace into Stage 3 depending on local conditions. California provides guidance on how local jurisdictions should modify behavior and operations to reduce risk for infection should they decide to reopen a specific sector. If the state has not yet released guidance for a sector, then that sector cannot yet be reopened. Local officials in counties with attestations determine when specific sectors of their economy that have state guidance posted will reopen. It is up to the local jurisdiction to make decisions regarding reopening specific sectors based upon the epidemiology and readiness of the county.
Interim Statewide Guidance for Schools and Updated Guidance for Childcare
The California Department of Public Health today released interim guidance for schools and school–based programs to assist communities, school leaders, staff and parents to plan for the upcoming school year. The guidance is based on the best available public health data, international best practices currently employed, and the practical realities of managing school operations. As the science evolves and the school year draws closer, the guidance will be updated based on the most current information and the progress of the disease in California. In that spirit, the California Department of Public Health also released updated guidance for childcare programs and providers, including resources for parents and for employers supporting employees with childcare needs.
To support the safe reopening of schools and to protect public health, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services and the Department of General Services will assist public schools (traditional and charter), private schools and childcare facilities in procuring necessary PPE, supplies and equipment.
The following supplies will be distributed to meet the near-term needs of schools and childcare:
Implementation of the interim guidance should be tailored for each school site and the needs of students and families. School leaders should engage with families, staff, and public health authorities as they begin planning for the upcoming school year.
Guidance for Day Camps
This new guidance is intended to help day camps formulate and implement plans for safe re-opening. Implementation requires training and support for staff and adequate consideration of camper and family needs.
Guidance for Casinos Operated by Sovereign Tribal Nations
In working with California's sovereign tribal nations, California has released guidance on how to reopen casinos with reduced risk of transmission. Tribal governments should coordinate with local public health officials in the surrounding or neighboring jurisdictions to determine the readiness for reopening.
Guidance for Music, Film and Television Production
Music, TV and film production may resume in California, recommended no sooner than June 12, 2020 and subject to approval by county public health officers within the jurisdictions of operations following their review of local epidemiological data including cases per 100,000 population, rate of test positivity, and local preparedness to support a health care surge, vulnerable populations, contact tracing and testing. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, productions, cast, crew and other industry workers should abide by safety protocols agreed by labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers. Back office staff and management should adhere to Office Workspace guidelines published by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Industrial Relations, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Guidance for Professional Sports without Live Audiences
Professional sports in California may resume training and competition without live audiences, recommended no sooner than June 12, 2020 and subject to approval by county public health officers within the jurisdiction of operations following their review of local epidemiological data including cases per 100,000 population, rate of test positivity, and local preparedness to support a health care surge, vulnerable populations, contact tracing and testing. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, athletes, coaching staff, medical staff, broadcasting staff and others at sporting facilities or events should abide by COVID-19 protocols agreed by labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers. Back office staff and management should adhere to Office Workspace guidelines published by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Industrial Relations, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Retail staff should adhere to Retail guidelines published by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Industrial Relations, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
June 12 Planning Guidance for Counties with Attestations
The California Department of Public Health also released new guidance on how local jurisdictions with attestations to readiness should modify behavior and operations to reduce risk for infection. All guidance is effective as of June 12 and should only be implemented with local health official approval following their review of local epidemiological data including cases per 100,000 populations, rate of test positivity, and local preparedness to support a health care surge, vulnerable populations, contact tracing and testing.
More information about the state's COVID-19 guidance is on the California Department of Public Health's Guidance web page.
More information about reopening California and what individuals can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California.
A new Stay Well VC Order has been published and goes into effect tonight (May 29) at midnight. The revised order is attached and can be found at: https://www.vcemergency.com/staywellvc. This new order is set to expire on June 14th.
The Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce has launched the Simi Works Job Center, an all-in-one webpage for employers and employees to complete their job search needs. Employers in the Simi Valley area are able to promote any open jobs they have to the community at large, and search for qualified employees through the job center. Employees searching for a job are able to search through the job listings, upload their resumes, and apply directly through the website.
As our community moves further into the stages of reopening, many individuals will be searching for jobs, and many employers will be searching for qualified applicants to join their team. As the voice of business in Simi Valley, the Chamber launched the Simi Works Job Center to address this need and make it as easy as possible for our businesses and employees to keep our business community open and strong.
This service is completely free for those seeking jobs, and is a free member benefit for Chamber Members. Through the end of August 2020, it is free for any business to post their jobs using the code “COVID19”. Businesses can list their jobs and search through candidates in a couple simple steps, and individuals can search through open positions and post their resume just as easily.
Get started today by visiting https://simivalleychamber.mcjobboard.net/jobs.
For any questions, contact Samantha Shapiro at email@example.com or call the Chamber office at 805-526-3900.
New Order Issued by Ventura County Health Officer Offers Options for Businesses, Recreation, Gatherings
On April 18, the Ventura County Public Health Officer issued a new order for the County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This order outlines the activities permitted within the County limits and the restrictions ordered for persons who reside within Ventura County. This order will be in effect from April 19 through May 15th, 2020 unless updated, extended or amended by the Ventura County Health Officer. The Health Officer will continue to assess the quickly evolving situation, may issue additional orders related to COVID-19 and will review this Order within two weeks of its effective date.
The new Stay Well At Home order follows the same regulations as the previous orders related to Essential Businesses, Permanent Food Facilities, Grocery Stores and others providing food, beverages, and other essential products, and the requirement to post social distancing protocol in their place of business.
New Updates Include:
The order outlines a partial list of non-essential businesses ordered to close, as well as non-essential activities ordered to cease. Essential Businesses, Essential Travel, and other details are explained in the order.
For the full order and detailed explanations, please click here.
Economic Development Collaborative Ventura County Offers No-Cost Counseling for Impacted Employers and Other Resources
As the spread and impact of COVID-19 is still an unknown, the EDC recommends employers and selfemployed individuals to take the following action steps:
1. CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER- Do you have business interruption insurance? If so, you may have coverage that supplements any income or sales loss during thistime.
2. TRACK LOSSES- During moments of disruption it is important to track any loss your business may have incurred as programs designed to assist cash flow needs and access to capital depend on accurate counts of economic injury or production loss.
3. DO YOU HAVE PERFORMANCE BASED CONTRACTS WITH YOUR SUPPLIERS OR CUSTOMERS? - reviewing your current contracts and obligations will clarify limitations of liability and force majure.
4. HAS YOUR BUSINESS EXPERIENCED DISRUPTION OR CONCERN IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS?
5. NO-COST BUSINESS CONSULTING IS AVAILABLE!
For businesses that have experienced the following concerns or disruptions our EDC SBDC Advisors can assist providing guidance during this time. Please contact the EDC office at 805.408.9159 to request an appointment.
RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES IN VENTURA COUNTY
ASSISTANCE FOR EMPLOYERS
WORK SHARING PROGRAM- Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the Coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the UI Work Sharing Program through the EDD. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs - retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with UI benefits. Workers of employers who are approved to participate in the Work Sharing Program receive the percentage of their weekly Unemployment Insurance benefit amount based on the percentage of hours and wages reduced, not to exceed 60 percent.
EXTENSION FILING PAYROLL TAX - Employers statewide directly affected by the new coronavirus (COVID- 19) may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit payroll taxes without penalty or interest. This extension may be granted under Section 1111.5 of the California Unemployment Insurance Code (CUIC). A written request for extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return.
ASSISTANCE FOR EMPLOYEES
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE- Individuals who have had their hours reduced or have lost their job through no fault of their own may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Learn more by visiting the EDD website. NOTE: Governor’s Emergency Proclamations waive the non-payable one-week waiting period for regular UI benefit payments to eligible individuals affected by current disasters. This means individuals can be paid benefits for the first week they are unemployed due to the disaster.
DISABILITY INSURANCE- Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. Disability Insurance provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50 - $1,300 a week.
PAID FAMILY LEAVE- Californians who are unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim . Paid Family Leave provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50 - $1,300 a week.
Download the full business resource guide here
HEALTH OFFICER ORDER FOR THE CONTROL OF COVID-19 DIRECTING VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS LIVING INTHE COUNTY TO SHELTER AT THEIR PLACE OF RESIDENCE, RESTRICTIONS OF CERTAIN BUSINESSES, AMONG OTHER ORDERS DATE OF ORDER: MARCH 17, 2020
Please read this Order carefully. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both, pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 120295 et seq.
WHEREAS, the intent of this Order is to strengthen the steps the County of Ventura has already taken to protect our residents and particularly the most vulnerable in our population from COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, on March 15, 2020 Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California is taking additional measures to protect those most at risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19, including urging those most vulnerable to COVID-19 to socially isolate at home, such as people age 65 and older and those with underlying medical conditions that make them more susceptible to serious illness from the coronavirus; and
WHEREAS, the intent of this Order is to ensure that specified individuals self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible, and all provisions of this Order should be interpreted to effectuate this intent; and
WHEREAS, social isolation is considered useful as a tool to control the spread of pandemic viral infections; and
WHEREAS, social isolation is the shared responsibility of all individuals in the County; and
WHEREAS, this Order is issued based on evidence of increasing occurrence of COVID-19 within the County and scientific evidence that the age, condition, and health of a significant portion of the population of the County places it at risk for serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the scientific evidence shows that at this stage of the emergency, it is essential to slow virus transmission as much as possible to protect the most vulnerable and to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed and that one proven way to slow the transmission is to limit interactions among people to the greatest extent practicable;
WHEREAS, by reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, this Order also helps preserve critical and limited healthcare capacity in the County; and
WHEREAS, this Order comes after the release of substantial guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health, and other public
health officials throughout the United States and around the world, including a variety of prior orders to combat the spread and harms of COVID-19;
NOW, THEREFORE, PURSUANT TO SECTIONS 101040, 101085 AND 120175 OF THE HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AS FOLLOWS:
IT IS SO ORDERED:
Robert Levin, M.D.
Ventura County Health Officer
Dated: March 17, 2020
SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to California Small Businesses Economically Impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to California small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today. SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, to declare a disaster following a request received from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s designated representative, Director Mark S. Ghilarducci of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services on March 13, 2020.
The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in a number of California counties, including Ventura County and Los Angeles County.
“SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist California small businesses with federal disaster loans. We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” said Administrator Carranza.
SBA Customer Service Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process.
“Small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) since Jan. 31, 2020, may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred,” said Carranza.
“These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” Carranza added.
Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 16, 2020.
For more information about Coronavirus, please visit: Coronavirus.gov.
For more information about available SBA resources and services, please visit: SBA.gov/coronavirus.
Contributed by Karen Gabler, LightGabler Law
With the recent COVID-19 school closures occurring throughout the state, we can expect that a number of employees will request to work from home or take time off work while their children are out of school.
For employees who want to work remotely, but do intend to keep working their regular schedules, employers should consider granting the request on a temporary basis as a courtesy to employees who could reasonably perform their work at home, even if remote work is not typically permitted. When permitting remote work, implement a temporary remote work agreement specific to COVID-19 conditions, to be clear that this is not a long-term option. LightGabler can assist with preparing this agreement for you.
For employees who cannot work remotely but want to take time off work, or work a reduced schedule at home for school closure purposes, here are the relevant employment law standards in considering this request:
For any specific questions, reach out to Karen Gabler via EMAIL.