COVID-19 UPDATE from San Jose Downtown Association

 

San Jose Downtown Association (SJDA) has identified a few valuable resources for you to work with during these troubling and unprecedented times.

  1. Santa Clara County Public Health has just updated its mandatory order to cancel gatherings of more than 100 people, and banning events of 35 to 100 people unless five conditions are met.  This takes effect at midnight tonight.  Read about the latest from the county.
  2. The Office of Economic Development has created COVID-19 Guidance for Employers, Workers and Businesses to assist businesses and non-profits.
  3. City Hall remains open, which means that permit processing and other important everyday functions are still happening. Sign up to receive E-notifications from City Hall.

In addition:

  • Groundwerx continues to conduct cleaning services downtown.  Every day, Groundwerx staff uses disinfectant to wipe down street furniture.  Groundwerx staff is provided with anti-bacterial wipes for in-the-field hand cleaning and has been instructed to wear gloves at all times, wash their hands at the deployment office and to stay home if ailing.
  • SJDA is preparing a marketing campaign to help welcome back our customers and clients once this situation improves and bans are lifted.Please stay safe and healthy out there.

COVID-19 Update 4 (April 2, 2020)

Dear Members and Downtown Stakeholders:

As we continue shelter in place through at least May 3, we hope that you have found some form of routine prioritizing family and loved ones as we all seek some stabilization. For those of you working in essential businesses, we see you. Thank you for supporting your downtown community.  

There’s a lot of content and information in today’s weekly message to downtown business as we are seeing the severity of this pandemic worsen. Let’s get started, but not without this first:  wash your hands often, stay at least six feet apart and, together, let’s beat this thing so we can return to our real routines. 

Let’s keep our downtown community strong.

We’re committed to helping you

SJDA staff is steadfast in its commitment to you.  We are available to help answer questions and concerns and to provide some moral support, too. Please reach out via email and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

The County also has determined that more and stricter distancing is needed to slow the rate of COVID-19. Major new stipulations include:

  1. Social distancing requirements are mandatory. Unless strict compliance is explicitly waived, everyone must comply with the social distancing requirements at all times.
  2. Before Friday, April 3, 2020, essential businesses that continue to operate facilities in the county must complete, post, and implement a social distancing protocol for each facility that remains open, using the template attached to the Order. Social Distancing Protocol form.
  3. Essential businesses must maximize the number of employees who work from home, excepting only those employees who cannot perform their job duties from home.
  4. Essential businesses that continue to operate facilities in the county must scale down operations to their essential component only.
  5. Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home are no longer essential businesses under the order and must cease operations (except minimum basic operations) at facilities in the county.
  6. All dog parks; tennis, pickle ball, futsal, and basketball courts; outdoor gym equipment and playgrounds; picnic and barbecue areas; drinking fountains; restrooms; disc golf areas and sport fields are closed. Parks and trails remain open, however, they will close if they become overcrowded or if visitors do not follow County and State guidance and orders which include practicing physical distancing of at least six feet. For more information on City closures, visit bit.ly/prnscancellations.
  7. Most construction—residential and commercial—is prohibited. Exceptions are made for healthcare facility construction directly related to the COVID-19 response; affordable housing; public works projects when designated as essential by the lead governmental agency; shelters and temporary housing; projects necessary to provide critical services to certain vulnerable individuals; construction necessary to secure an existing construction site; and limited essential residential or business repairs.

Details of the new order

More details for businesses from Santa Clara County

Here’s a roundup of resources that allow businesses to operate as best they can during the current pandemic climate. This week’s suggestions for cleaning up messes, gaining valuable COVID-19 information and start applying for loans.

Messes

  • Use the Groundwerx Everywhere App or call 408-287-1520 to report a mess that needs immediate attention.  Download the Groundwerx App for iPhones.
  • Call San Jose 3-1-1 to report graffiti, potholes and streetlight outages.  The City is temporarily suspending vehicle abatement services and some illegal dumping response. Reports of abandoned or illegally stored vehicles will not be investigated, and the City will only address high-priority illegally dumped items like hazardous items blocking cross-streets or ramps. Or, report through the San Jose 311 app.

Information & Getting Answers

  • Ask the Office of Economic Development (OED) questions about how COVID-19 impacts businesses, non-profits, employers and employees at covid19sjbusiness@sanjoseca.gov. OED staff will work to respond quickly with information and resources currently available.
  • For COVID-19-related questions regarding non-profit and community-based organizations, email covid19sjcbo@sanjoseca.gov.
  • Updated resources, including some additions to the City’s list of places that can offer help, are available on the Office of Economic Development’s COVID-19 website.
  • Business Owner Space updates its pdf of resource links each week.
  • National Council of Nonprofits coronavirus resources page
  • SJdowntown.com has a list of 50+ restaurants offering take-out and delivery services.  Plus, new web pages that link to fitness businesses offering online classes, arts groups delivering online creativity and programming, and local companies improving work efficiency at home are being added over the next week.
  • The new Team San Jose resource page has launched, featuring a database of nearly 600 San Jose restaurants open for delivery or take-out, plus gift card options to provide support for neighborhood business now, when it is needed most. The site also highlights virtual attractions, online shops, and creative endeavors. San Jose travel, tourism and hospitality industry partners can find support information via quick links to important industry resources.
  • State of California COVID-19 website
  • Silicon Valley Strong continues to update ways people can donate and volunteer to help others who are most vulnerable

Loans

Paycheck Protection Program – Out of the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package (CARES Act) comes the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program. Your loan request would cover 2.5 times the amount of your monthly payroll, but at a max of $8,333 per employee per month (up to $10 million).  Loans cover payroll costs, employee benefits, mortgage interest or rent and utilities under lease agreements all incurred Feb. 15-June 30, 2020. Loan forgiveness is possible if criteria is met. You can have more than one federal loan (such as Disaster Assistance or Economic Injury loan below) as long as the loans are not used for the same thing. Contact your bank to start the process — and make sure they are an approved SBA-approved lender.  Loans start Friday — initial loan rate 0.5% and has a cap of 4%. First payment six months after securing loan and paid in full within two years if not eligible for forgiveness.  Here is the application. This Q&A from the Washington Post is helpful for background.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Loan Program – 2.75% interests, payments up to 15 years. No collateral for loans under $25,000. Open to organizations up to 500 employees. Businessownerspace.com partners SBDCAnewAmericaMBDA, and SCORE are available to help prepare loan paperwork.  

Arts Loan Fund – COVID-19 Emergency Fund – 2.5% interest, $50,000 max request. Term up to 24 months. 

The City of San Jose Housing Department has established a 75-bed temporary homeless shelter at Parkside Hall to help keep unhoused neighbors safe during the COVID-19 crisis. This shelter began accepting individuals April 1, by referral only from the Santa Clara County Office of Supportive Housing and the Valley Homeless Healthcare Program. This is not a walk-in shelter. The purpose of this temporary shelter is to protect unhoused residents from the pandemic and slow the spread of COVID-19. The shelter is set up to comply with physical distancing guidelines and is operated by the nonprofit HomeFirst.

On April 7, the Council is expected to finalize Mayor Sam Liccardo’s memorandum to  provide workers impacted by COVID-19 40 hours of paid sick leave, plus one hour of sick leave per every two hours worked, up to a maximum of 80 hours of sick leave for the duration of the COVID-19 health emergency.  The Council’s unanimous vote Wednesday shores up a leaky part of recent federal legislation the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The thrust of the decision is to assure that lower-wage workers do not show up for work even when they are sick.  Compliance with shelter-in-place orders not to work when sick, minimizing the spread of the virus, is the primary priority, the Council reasoned.

SJDA took a stand on behalf of small business members advocating to the City Council to exempt small businesses of 35 or fewer employees from the city’s paid sick leave policy. SJDA asked the Council for leniency for the smallest of small businesses due to the financial burden it causes those businesses already struggling to stay afloat. 

Here’s the top line from Gov. Newsome’s Small Business Stimulus Package announced at noon today, courtesy Bryant Government Affairs for the California Downtown Association:

1. CDTFA will allow small business taxpayers to enter into 12-month interest-free payment plans for up to $50,000 of sales and use tax liability. Offers what is effectively an immediate interest-free loan to small businesses, providing a bridge until they can get relief from the SBA or their businesses can get back on their feet.

2. The governor is allocating $50 million to the Small Business Finance Center at California’s Bank to mitigate barriers to capital for those small businesses that may not qualify for federal funds (including businesses in low-wealth and immigrant communities).

Also, the governor pushed back until the end of July (90 days) the deadline for tax returns and tax payments for all businesses filing a return for less than $1 million in taxes.  Additionally, the order extends the statute of limitations to file a claim for refund until the end of June (60 days) to accommodate tax and fee payers.

COVID-19 Update 3 (March 26, 2020)

Dear Members and Stakeholders:

Downtown is our collective community and we are proud to see us all come together. We are seeing creative virtual programming from our arts groups, museums and gyms to keep us active and to support our mental health. Community outreach projects, like the one spearheaded by Urban Community to create Shelter in Place kits for laid-off workers, are popping up. Our nonprofits continue to provide essential services at a time when we need them the most. Let’s keep our downtown community strong.

We’re here to help

As always SJDA staff is available to help answer questions and concerns and to provide moral support as needed. Please reach out via email as we are working remotely. Together, we’re going to get through this.

Please take this 1-minute survey if you are the manager of a nonprofit, retail or hospitality business (restaurant, cafe, bar, nightclub, coffee shop) that has closed or has severely reduced hours. Urban Community plans to deliver “shelter-in place care packages” including food, hand sanitizer and other household goods to furloughed or laid-off workers. Survey results will be supplied to Frank Nguyen of Academic Coffee, who has volunteered to organize distribution. We know times are hard, and we appreciate Urban Community’s gesture.

Mayor Sam Liccardo is hosting a Facebook Live Q & A on Friday (March 27) at 10 a.m. to address the challenges our small businesses face.  If you miss it live, you should also be able to watch it afterward.  Watch it here.

The Office of Economic Development (OED) has established a new email address, covid19sjbusiness@sanjoseca.gov, where employers, businesses, non-profits, and workers impacted by COVID-19 can ask questions. The OED staff will work to respond quickly with the information and resources currently available.

Businesses which have been impacted by COVID-19 can join a City of San Jose workshop about low-interest, long-term loans of up to $2 million from the Small Business Administration at 3 pm on Thursday, April 2.  Representatives of the SBA and Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center will offer both high-level and detailed looks at the program and application, and provide resources to help businesses to best connect with the opportunity.  The workshop will be offered via Zoom and registrants will be sent the link as the event approaches.  Register here.

We are promoting downtown restaurants through a variety of partnerships in conjunction with the Mayor’s office, the Silicon Valley Organization and Team San Jose. Door Dash launched #openfordelivery to help restaurants in partnership with other food delivery options including UberEats, Postmates, Caviar, Grubhub, Skip the Dishes and Foodora. Visit openfordelivery.com/ for more information. 

Our list at sjdowntown.com has grown to 75 restaurants open.

SUPERVISOR DAVE CORTESE RECAPS SANTA CLARA COUNTY MEETING TUESDAY
“At our remote Board of Supervisors meeting March 24 the Board approved my request to allocate $1 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Nonprofit Support Fund and, through our contracts, be flexible to their needs.
 
“The Board also approved supporting the Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Coronavirus Relief Fund with a $2 million contribution to go to vital resources to prevent homelessness, provide food and address other needs of those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Destination Home will be the lead organization to provide funds to the 15 organizations in the Emergency Action Network. This initiative was brought to the Board by Board President Cindy Chavez and myself. 
 
“The Board also voted in favor of an Urgency Ordinance to prohibit evictions resulting from the COVID-19 emergency. The Ordinance prohibits nonpayment of rent and no-fault evictions for all residential tenants and small business tenants who have lost income or had out-of-pocket medical expenses as a result of COVID-19. The Ordinance also includes a 120-day grace period for payment of rent following the conclusion of the emergency.”

SJDA joined local arts groups in a letter by SVCreates to our Congressional representatives that requests immediate support for our arts groups.  Nationally, arts groups have lost $3.6 billion in revenue, and that number is growing by as much as $400 million each week.
 
The letter requests:

  • Support $4 billion in COVID-19 relief funding to be administered by the National Endowment for the Arts;
  • Adopt recommendations to temporarily lift specific federal grantmaking restrictions;
  • Ensure that individual artists (and artists who are small businesses) are fully eligible for individual payments, including unemployment insurance;
  • Ensure that our nation’s 120,000 nonprofit arts organizations, most of which are small businesses, are fully eligible for any small businesses being incorporated in relief funds.

 
SVCreates also has a valuable webpage for artists during the coronavirus pandemic:
https://www.svcreates.org/2020/03/20/resources-for-our-arts-community-coronavirus-covid-19/
 
More arts COVID-19 websites of interest:
COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources 
 
https://www.theatrebayarea.org/page/COVID-19relief-fund

Adobe is offering free 2 months of Creative Cloud.  You can learn and use PhotoShop, InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere and other great Adobe software products.  Here is how to get it.

State of California now has a COVID-19 website

Silicon Valley Strong is a go-to place to find information and ways to help out. Over 650 people have answered the call to action, and there is much work to be done.

Subscribe to Downtowner Online
As we have just about every week for more than 15 years, SJDA sends out a weekly Downtowner Online email of downtown events. For the past two weeks, instead of listing events, the Downtowner has posted the creative efforts of downtown businesses to entertain and keep subscribers busy.  We want to make sure you see the links we’re including to your businesses.  Here’s this week’s Downtowner Online, and here’s the link so that you can subscribe if you don’t already receive the “D.O.”

Emergency Tree Service
Emergency tree service is essential when branches and trees fall.  Call the tree emergency hotline at (408) 497-4062.  Please have an address available to share with the operator. Or use the form created for tree care.

We’ll have another message next Thursday.  Keep up the good fight.

COVID-19 Update 2 (March 19, 2020)

Dear Members and Downtown Stakeholders:
 

We’re three days into our hopefully temporary reality as we are all under shelter in place orders.  San Jose Downtown Association continues to be focused on supporting downtown businesses during these unprecedented times including: 
 

– Supporting businesses and non-profits that are open for essential services including many restaurants through our marketing and communication efforts

– Ensuring that Groundwerx and our Secondary Employment Unit of off-duty SJPD officers deployment continues to keep downtown safe and clean

– Advocating for policies to help small businesses as we are in close contact with the Mayor and City Council representatives

– Staying on top of anything we can find that might be of assistance to our downtown business community during these uncertain times from credible sources including the CDC, Santa Clara County Public Health, the City of San Jose  and other downtown associations across the country


We’re here to help

As always SJDA staff is available to help answer questions and concerns and to provide moral support as needed. Please reach out via email as we are working remotely. Together, we’re going to get through this.

We’ve launched sjdowntown.com/supportdowntown to showcase the ways people can support, including a list of restaurants open for takeout and delivery, local resources to work effectively from home and information about businesses making creative moves so that the downtown community can continue to stay fit and entertained. We’ll continue to populate the website with additional information that can help promote your business.

SJDA wants to know if your business is open, selling gift cards or if you are creating virtual experiences! Please email Jessica at jvuong@sjdowntown.com to be added to our list.

Groundwerx remain committed to its clean-and-safe services. In response to the recent shelter-in place-order, Groundwerx services have been reduced to 6 am to 6 pm each day.  These services will focus on essential cleaning and public health services such as pressure washing, disinfecting street fixtures, biohazard removal and trash removal.
 
Our Secondary Employment Unit of off-duty SJPD officers will continue deployment during shelter in place. 
 
Both of these services will allow us to ensure downtown remains clean and safe. Additionally, having SEU and Groundwerx working during this time discourages looting and other property damage. 

Mayor Sam Liccardo and Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez held a press conference Wednesday announcing the launch of Silicon Valley Strong.
 
San Jose Strong continues to update the status of the coronavirus COVID-19, but it also has information about accessing and distributing food, how people can get help and how people can volunteer to help.

The City has implemented free parking at on-street meters, and within the City’s downtown surface lots and garages (except City Hall and the City Hall Employee Garages, which remain closed to the public) in addition to previously reported suspension of parking citations, vehicle abatement, and processing of parking tickets.  
 
On-street meters will begin to display that payment is not necessary and a reminder to obey posted time limits.  Access gates at the entry and exit of the garages will be lifted.  Our parking operator will maintain a limited level of on-site management and maintenance/janitorial staff, and our security vendor will continue 24/7 vehicle patrols through the garages/lots.

The most comprehensive page we’ve found about state and national Small Business Resources is a list put together by California State Treasurer Fiona Ma.

Two More Helpful Links

This week, the San Jose City Council agreed, in principle, to help small businesses by:

  1. having a moratorium on evictions for commercial leases for small businesses (that are not vacant);
  2. establishing a point-of-contact to provide assistance during emergency situations;
  3. establishing a business continuity fund of an unknown amount for grants and loans that can demonstrate a loss due to COVID-19. This includes reaching out to corporate  partners to cover employee wages, rent and fixed costs similar to Amazon’s $5 million fund for Seattle;
  4. reaching out to the state and national government for financial assistance.

The City Council is projected to evaluate staff proposals on April 7.

COVID-19 Update 1 (March 13, 2020)

Dear Members:
 
San Jose Downtown Association (SJDA) has identified a few valuable resources for you to work with during these troubling and unprecedented times.

  1. Santa Clara County Public Health has just updated its mandatory order to cancel gatherings of more than 100 people, and banning events of 35 to 100 people unless five conditions are met.  This takes effect at midnight tonight.  Read about the latest from the county.
     
  2. The Office of Economic Development has created COVID-19 Guidance for Employers, Workers and Businesses to assist businesses and non-profits.
     
  3. City Hall remains open, which means that permit processing and other important everyday functions are still happening. Sign up to receive E-notifications from City Hall.

In addition: 

  • Groundwerx continues to conduct cleaning services downtown.  Every day, Groundwerx staff uses disinfectant to wipe down street furniture.  Groundwerx staff is provided with anti-bacterial wipes for in-the-field hand cleaning and has been instructed to wear gloves at all times, wash their hands at the deployment office and to stay home if ailing.
  • SJDA is preparing a marketing campaign to help welcome back our customers and clients once this situation improves and bans are lifted.

Please stay safe and healthy out there.