The Santa Cruz SBDC is working with businesses for on-one-one consultations and support specific to your business. They can help with applying for relief, guiding you through available resources, access to capital, marketing, e-commerce, supply chain interruptions, workforce capacity, insurance coverage and more - at no cost. Please reach out if you have any questions regarding your business.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters. Find more information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans at: SBA.gov/Disaster.
FORTRESS & FLOURISH
Candice Elliott, our former Downtown liaison at the City of Santa Cruz Economic Development Dept., also has her own HR business Fortress & Flourish, and has a wealth of information to help support businesses during this COVID-19 time. She is also collaborating on some of the upcoming business support webinars. She is currently offering some consult services free of charge for small businesses that need to go through processes, so feel free to reach out to her with any questions or assistance. Visit her website or set up a phone call with her here!
8/10/2020, 8/17/2020, 8/24/2020, 8/31/2020: Each Monday, starting August 10, I will release the toolkit for the week, sending it to those of you who sign up to receive this information and posting the information on this website.Resources to help manage a COVID-19 outbreak in your workplace can be found through Fortress & Flourish August 2020 Series: Preventing and Managing a COVID Outbreak
The series will cover:
how to develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan
what to do if an employee is exposed or tests positive
expanded emergency sick pay and medical leave
welcoming employees back to work after they are sick
We are maintaining and heavily promoting the following pages on the Downtown Santa Cruz website:
Early Phase 2: Santa Cruz County will be eligible to transition to early Phase 2 of the California State Resilience Roadmap. Beginning Friday, May 8, 2020, local retail businesses may begin providing curbside pick-up services to customers. Examples of such businesses include book stores, jewelry stores, toy stores, clothing stores, shoe stores, home and furnishing stores, sporting goods stores, antique stores, music stores, florists, and other over-the-counter retailers. In addition, manufacturing and supply chain workplaces supporting these businesses may open. Social Distancing Protocols must be followed in all of these settings. We have gathered some helpful information for you:
Phase 2 Reopening Guidance listing supplies and resources that your business may find helpful to get started. This will be a work in progress that we will continue adding to in the coming days.
The City Economic Development Dept. has created a Jumpstart Program and "restart kits" for businesses. Make sure to SIGN-UP for a kit!
The Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency is sharing the CDC Print Resources for businesses to download, print, and post.
Downtown businesses that need additional parking accommodations to support curbside pickup are encouraged to contact Parking Superintendent Heather Sawyer firstname.lastname@example.org or Parking Program Manager Brian Borguno at email@example.com. Any other questions or concerns may be addressed by calling the Parking Services office at (831) 420-5185.
RETAIL CAPACITY - 5/28/2020 We have been communicating with City Economic Development Dept., Fire, and Planning Dept. to provide clarity on how to calculate reduced capacity in your business in line with the State guidance related to Retail which says the following: Adjust maximum occupancy rules based on the size of the facility to limit the number of people in a store at one time, using no more than 50% maximum occupancy. In speaking with our Fire Marshall and Building Official the occupancy number for retail stores is calculated as follows: 60 SF/per person of gross square footage, not including back storage areas.
For example, if you have 1200 sq ft of store space, you would have a maximum occupancy of 20 persons, and then 50% of that would equal 10 people at a time. It is recommended that businesses should be primarily focused on maintaining 6 feet of separation between everyone in the store at all times and limiting interaction with customers and employees inside to no more than 10 minutes.
You are also welcome to use the linked social distancing calculator, acknowledging that this is not an official tool created by the City or County of Santa Cruz, but simply a tool we believe could be helpful in doing your own capacity assessment.
Later Phase 2:As of 6/2/2020, the following business categories may open, only in counties approved to move further in the Resilience Roadmap, such as Santa Cruz County. They are not open statewide.
In working with tribal governments, CDPH and DIR has released guidance on how to reopen casinos with reduced risk of transmission. Tribal governments should make determinations on when to reopen based on how they align with the current local public health conditions and the statewide stage of reopening and the Governor respectfully requests that until a surrounding or neighboring local jurisdiction has progressed into Stage 3, tribal casinos remain closed.
As of 6/19/2020,expanded personal services may resume. Including hair and nail salons, estheticians, skin care, cosmetology, electrology, microblading, waxing, body art, tattoo parlors, body piercing shops and massage therapy.
Here are a handful of things that are important to do, if you have not already:
1.) Reduce Payroll Expense
Decrease labor cost as much as possible with consideration to your current business model and financial position. This can be challenging to determine how to do this in a way that supports your business and employees. For more guidance for your specific business, feel free to contact Candice Elliott, Human Resources Consultant with Fortress and Flourish. Candice is generously offering free services at this time.
2.) Apply For Disaster Relief Funding
There is a lot of information out there about disaster funding and we have been guided by many of our small business organization leaders that these are the two most important right now for small businesses:
It is important that you reach out to your landlord to request a rent reduction or complete hold in collection. The County of Santa Cruz has passed an Eviction Moratorium that keeps business and residential tenants from being evicted through May 31st. Note: this is not a rent waiver, only postponement.
4.) Hold Or Suspend Utilities
Evaluate what you do and don’t need for your business currently. The City of Santa Cruz has implemented ways for you to easily hold or suspend some services such as garbage, and have also initiated a policy to allow for late payment without fees and a moratorium on utility shut off, due to lack of payment. Full details here.
5.) Contact Vendors and Creditors
Reach out to all of your business vendors and creditors to see if it is possible to postpone payments on accounts.
On Friday March 27, 2020 Congress passed the CARES Act- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes the “Paycheck Protection Program” (“PPP”). This is the most useful relief that has been offered to small businesses and exempt organizations. It is structured as a loan, but the loan amount will be forgiven to the extent that your business uses it for qualified purposes during the eight weeks following the origination of your loan.
Latest information on funding opportunities for your business through the CARES Act:
How to apply:This is an SBA 7(a) loan. Any bank that is already an SBA lender should be able to initiate a PPP loan.Local banks connected to the SBA include Santa Cruz County Bank, Lighthouse Bank, and Santa Cruz Community Credit Union. The bank you regularly use for your business is a good place to start.
We have been in communication with our Downtown Police Sergeant regarding increased police patrol Downtown, especially at night. He let us know that SCPD is doubling their staffing, and rotating on to emergency 12-hour shifts in order to provide more patrols and a uniformed presence in the downtown business district to specifically deter crime and keep businesses safe during this difficult time.
While the Santa Cruz Police Department is increasing their nighttime visibility in business and commercial districts, they ask business owners to help by:
Keep your business lit at night, inside and out.
Keep windows uncovered and free of obstruction.
Make sure alarms, and video surveillance systems are working correctly and contact SCPD immediately regarding any suspicious activity.
Empty cash registers and make it evident to others that they are empty by leaving them open with the drawers removed.
Hide any items seen as “high value” items like Ipads, point of sale systems, power tools, or small yet valuable items which could be easily taken in a smash and grab style burglary.
Here is a local company that provides and installs all different kinds of security glass coatings (like 3M) which are extremely effective and durable. This also provides a longer term solution to potential security issues: Transparent Glass Coatings
4/15/2020: MESSAGE FROM ELITE INTERACTIVE SOLUTIONS, LLCAfter the SCPD presentation on April 9th, the question of Remote Guarding came up, and SCPD sent us the contact for Elite Interactive Solutions, LLC. Elite Interactive Solutions is a security consulting firm, and Ben Hartel sent over this information for anyone interested in this option:
We use cameras with artificial intelligence software and machine learning to prevent crime with our Remote Guarding security solution. Analytics are configured to create alerts. Alerts are then looked at live, in real time, by highly trained agents at our command center.
When an unauthorized offender enters your property, or, if activity is considered to be suspicious (trespassing, theft, vandalism, transient activity, etc.), a real-time "voice-down" is conducted by one of our agents: we see them, we describe them, we announce our presence to them, we notify them that law enforcement is on the way - and very often, that alone is enough to send the offenders running before damaging or stealing property. More than 90% of the time, the suspect flees. If they do not, we are on the phone with local law enforcement immediately, and receive priority response as live eye witnesses to a crime in progress.
We are always on and always watching.
Our solution is one alternative to the traditional security of either cameras without crime prevention software (reactive solution) or human security guards. Both traditional methods have severe limitations. Our Remote Guarding solution is typically about half the cost of a human security guard.
In response to demand, we've recently created a quick-deploy unit, equipped with all the same technology, that can be installed in a number of days on a temporary basis with more flexible terms/pricing than our long-term solution.
We'd love to be a resource and help Santa Cruz businesses, especially during these COVID-19 times.
For reference, some of our existing local clients are Santa Cruz City Schools, Live Oak School District, Swenson Builders, MCM Diversified and Gateway School.
For more information, or for a free quick Zoom demo, contact:
Benjamin Hartel, Regional Vice President
Senior Director of Security
mobile: (831) 471-7155
CALIFORNIA EMPLOYMENT DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT (EDD)
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has developed a COVID-19 Resources Page that includes information about benefits for employers and employees
Assistance for Businesses:
We understand that the Coronavirus pandemic has severely affected many businesses' ability to operate or even stay open at this time. SCMU offers the a number of options to assist businesses during this time including (please go here for full information and forms):
The Downtown Association of Santa Cruz is hosting a Peer Circle for businesses on, and interested in, the 1100 block of Pacific Avenue. Mark your calendar for our first meeting: Wednesday January 27th 1:00pm
The Workforce Development Board of Santa Cruz County has partnered with the California Employers Association to provide local businesses with a no-cost Human Resources Hotline: 1-888-379-4846. They are working to increase the awareness and utilization of this fantastic service. Please share!
Counties must be off the data monitoring list for 14 consecutive days for measures and restrictions to be lifted, and no immediate changes to those operations may be implemented at this time. We have to first make it to August 28th.
6/18/2020 California Department Of Public Health: Face coverings required in public spaces
Cloth face coverings or masks help reduce the spread of coronavirus especially when combined with physical distancing and frequent hand washing. Starting June 18, Californians must wear face coverings in common and public indoor spaces and outdoors when distancing is not possible. Learn more about the guidance and limited exceptions here.
Date: May 30, 2020 Santa Cruz County, CA – The County of Santa Cruz is pleased to announce the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has accepted the County’s variance attestation.
Furthermore, Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel has issued an order implementing allowed activities, including dine-in restaurant services and barbershops/hair salons, with modifications. Both of these activities are allowed to resume immediately. The Health Officer’s Order can be found here. The variance attestation can be found on CDPH’s website here.
Prior to opening, businesses must implement Social Distancing Protocols and design worksite-specific plans, train employees and implement control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
No further County approvals are needed before operations may resume. Reopening guidance, including State guidelines for specific sectors, can be found here.
For local information on COVID-19, go to www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus, call 211 or text “COVID19” to 211211. Residents may also call (831) 454-4242 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., seven days a week.
"If approved by the State, the variance would allow local restaurants to offer limited indoor/outdoor dine-in services with modifications to protect the health and safety of staff and customers. Barbershops/hair salons would also be allowed to offer limited services such as haircuts, weaves and extensions, braiding, lock maintenance, wig maintenance, hair relaxing treatments and color services. Upon State approval, local Health Officers must issue orders allowing these operations to resume... While the County is aligned with the State Resilience roadmap, it may not move further than the State allows. Businesses resuming operations must design worksite-specific plans, train employees and implement control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. No further County approvals are needed before operations resume. For industry-specific guidance related to dine-in restaurants, please go to https://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-dine-in-restaurants.pdf. For industry-specific guidance related to babershops/hair salons, please go to https://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-hair-salons.pdf. Operations that involve touching faces such as eyelash services, eyebrow waxing/threading and facials are not allowed."
If approved by the State, the application would make Santa Cruz County the first in the Bay Area to receive a variance, and would allow Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel to implement late Stage 2 operations, including dine-in restaurants and barbershops/hair salons, with health and safety modifications. Restaurants and barbershops/hair salons wishing to prepare their establishments should review State sector guidance, available at https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap-counties/
"In-store retail operations should follow State guidance for retail establishments, found here. In addition, retailers are required to follow and post local guidance under the Health Order known as Appendix A, available in English and Spanish. Low-risk personal services such as car washes and pet groomers should also follow guidelines for retail operations, and follow and post Appendix A."
"...While the State is allowing in-store retail to proceed, dine-in restaurants are still considered a late Stage 2 activity subject to State approval of a variance allowing those activities to move forward. The County has initiated the variance process, with an application expected to be submitted June 2 pending approval by the Board of Supervisors. A review may take up to one week. If approved, local Health Officers must implement a new Order allowing late Stage 2 activities to resume."
Fortress and Flourish offers COVID-19 Public Health and Safety Training for employees in your business. The training is available to businesses in Santa Cruz County either in person (properly socially distanced for essential businesses, of course!), or through Zoom.
Social Distancing Protocol Notice: Starting May 8th
For Restaurants: Great Plates Program
Quick Chamber Of Commerce Survey
5/5/2020 Restaurants Deliver: Home Meals for Seniors (Great Plates Program)
Several Downtown restaurants have expressed interest in participating in this California initiative. Our county has now coordinated the program on a local level, and have posted the information. Letters of Interest must be submitted by May 11th 4:00pm. Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
"This Order shall become effective at 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2020 and will continue to be in effect until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Officer."
"In order to remain open, all Essential Businesses and facilities providing Essential Governmental Functions must prepare and post by no later than 11 :59 p.m. on May 8, 2020 a "Social Distancing Protocol" for each of their facilities in the County frequented by the public or employees. Any active construction site must also post a Social Distancing Protocol. The Social Distancing Protocol must be substantially in the form attached to this Order as Appendix A. The Social Distancing Protocol must be posted at or near the entrance of the relevant facility or construction site and shall be easily viewable by the public and employees. A copy of the Social Distancing Protocol must also be provided to each employee performing work at the facility or construction site. All Essential Businesses shall implement the Order of the County Health Officer to Shelter in Place ( effective May 1, 2020) Page 3 of 4 Social Distancing Protocol and provide evidence of its implementation to any authority enforcing this Order upon demand."
4/1/2020 Click here to read: FAQ FOR BUSINESSES regarding the Shelter In Place Order - With the new superseding Order to Shelter In Place issued on March 31, 2020, the definitions of essential businesses have changed to provide more clarity, as well as some additional restrictions. We recommend all businesses review page 5 of the full Order to ensure compliance.
ARCHIVE NEWS: MARCH NEWS
3/31/20UPDATED: FULL ORDER TO SHELTER IN PLACE - EXTENDED TO MAY 3 - ORDER OF THE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE COUNTY OF SANTA CRUZ DIRECTING ALL INDIVIDUALS LIVING IN THE COUNTY TO SHELTER AT THEIR PLACE OF RESIDENCE.
Hear stories of adversity and resiliency from SBA 2020 Small Business winners Nancy Brinkerhoff from Ironwood Commercial Builders; Sherri Samani with Sentiments, Inc; David Salter from Salter Distributing; and Loren York of Car Wash Technology. Find out how they have conquered the challenges impacting so many small businesses right now and get their tips on how to pivot and innovate.
Details: We face unprecedented challenges. Few businesses understand how the ‘new normal’ will emerge and what they must do to survive and then thrive. Join us with Tony Hughes to learn how empathy and partnering will help your business continuing to win and retain clients.
5/20/2020 11:00 AM Pacific Time: Many companies are concerned with securing properties and assets right now, and budgets can be tight. Join me for a webinar with tips and tactics that can improve security at all budget levels. Message me with any topics or questions you'd like covered. Hope to see you there. Hosted by Ben Hartel of Elite Interactive Solutions, LLC.
5/19/2020 1:30 PM Pacific Time: Many companies are concerned with securing properties and assets right now, and budgets can be tight. Join me for a webinar with tips and tactics that can improve security at all budget levels. Message me with any topics or questions you'd like covered. Hope to see you there. Hosted by Ben Hartel of Elite Interactive Solutions, LLC.
Hosted by The California Employer’s Association (CEA). The CEA may help with preparing to get employees back to work when operations can resume during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will cover the 3 R's of how to plan and successfully bring your employees back to work – Reconstruct, Reinstate, and Reconnect
Reconstruct — Determine what your workplace will look like under this "new normal." Learn how to bring people back and what to do if some of the workforce cannot be reinstated.
Reinstate — Evaluate the effectiveness of remote work for your team and if it can or should continue. Be prepared for a variety of federal, state, and local requirements regarding testing employees, PPE, physical distancing and more.
Reconnect — How to welcome employees back and ensure a safe working environment.
Updates on the Resilience Microloan Program and other initiatives supporting small businesses featuring City Economic Development Dept. Director, Bonnie Lipscomb. Questions via text through Zoom are encouraged.
Data and analytics to understand the shift in consumer behavior
Maximizing retail and restaurant real estate
The importance of retail inventory
Tools to support at-risk businesses
Steps to safely reacquaint shoppers
Hosted by IDA (International Downtown Association). Free for members. $30 for non-members. Recorded webinar will be posted for all, after the date.
Wednesday April 29, 2020 at 11:30am1:00pm PDT: Congressman Panetta will be holding a virtual Q&A on Facebook with Small Business Administration (SBA) officials to have a conversation about small business lending programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). He will be asking the SBA officials questions about the program and application process-
a link to his Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/RepJimmyPanetta/The pre-recorded conversation will be published at 1pm PDT for your viewing on Facebook and YouTube. It will remain on social media channels after it is published:
Managing your social media for your business has always had its challenges. But now with the new norm of the Coronavirus, new challenges come into play. How are local business owners and marketers changing the way they use social media? What has been working for them and what has not? Join us for this free webinar as we listen to local businesses that have adapted their business and social media marketing to the changing circumstances. Hosted by Santa Cruz County Small Business Development Center and Event Santa Cruz
Thursday April 16, 2020 - 3:00pm-4:30pm PDT: CMAA NorCal COVID-19 Small Business WebinarThe sweeping $2 Trillion coronavirus aid package provides $349 billion for the Small Business Administration to guarantee loans to small businesses. SBA San Francisco District Director Julie Clowes will discuss who qualifies, how to apply, what are the terms, and field questions from the audience. Webinar is limited to 300 participants. Presented by SBA (Small Business Administration).
Friday April 10 11:00am:C19 Business Aid - Tax Provisions and Economic ReliefA free webinar for businesses financially impacted by Covid-19 featuring David Doolin, the Managing Partner of the Santa Cruz accounting firm: Petrinovich Pugh & Company. He will discuss tax provisions and economic relief measures of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (Cares) Act and other similar legislation. Presented by Santa Cruz Works.
Thursday April 9 12:00pm: Caring for Your Corporation in C19 Era.
This free webinar features Bill Richter of Richter Law Offices. He will discuss 10 things a business can do to emerge strong, financeable, and acquirable from the Covid-19 era. Presented by Santa Cruz Works.
Wednesday April 8 3:00pm-4:30pm: : Ask Us Anything WebinarAs businesses are looking for answers to what financing is available to what HR policy they need to adhere to, we've put together a panel of experts to answer your questions and provide best practices in Marketing, HR, SBA Lending, Financial Management and Business Planning. Special attention will be provided throughout the webinar to answer your questions. Hosted by the SBDC (Small Business Development Center).
We will have representatives from EDD to help restaurants manage workforce, ABC to talk about licenses that are not active for 30 days and other potential lifting of restrictions during this time, the Health Department to give best practises for those restaurants who are remaining open for to-go and delivery services and the SBA on disaster loans.
If you were unable to attend this County Resources for Businesses Webinar at 3:00pm today, here’s the link:WEBINAR
In response to the unprecedented economic impacts due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Santa Cruz County Office for Economic Development is presenting a FREE Webinar to provide current information, guidance and resources for local businesses.
The Webinar will also be telecast on Community TV's channels 27/71. In addition, the City of Santa Cruz has been compiling and updating information and resources for businesses impacted by COVID-19. You can find information here.