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.
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COVID-19 Update 11 (May 21, 2020)

Dear Members and Downtown Stakeholders:

As we move into Phase 2 of reopening downtown tomorrow, we hope this message helps clarify the new County order. We had great meetings last week with businesses and nonprofits in Historic District and SoFA and look forward to connecting with San Pedro Square and Little Italy this week. 

Let’s keep these conversations going! Please let SJDA staff know how we can best support you. 

We are in this together.

State Sen. Jim Beall, representing the 15th District which includes downtown San Jose, provided an excellent recap to this week’s order, effective Friday, May 22.
 
“Over the last several weeks our community has worked together to bend the COVID-19 curve and protect our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. So far, we’ve seen encouraging outcomes, but our work isn’t done quite yet.

You’ve probably heard that the Health Officer of the County of Santa Clara County has modified our stay at home order. I understand that this brings up many emotions, including perhaps some hope and disappointment, but it’s critical that our collective efforts continue so we do not lose the progress we’ve achieved.” 
 
Below you’ll find some more helpful information on COVID-19 and our county’s response.

What changes does this new Order make?
The May 22 Order allows several new categories of businesses and activities to reopen, subject to specific conditions and limitations. Key restrictions remain in place, requiring people to stay in their homes except when engaging in certain essential or allowed activities. There is no end date to this new order. 

Additional Businesses:

  • Retail stores may reopen for sales, but only for curbside/outside pickup or by delivery. Customers are not allowed to enter these retail stores. These retail stores must also comply with several additional operating conditions, including:
    • Cannot move goods outside the store to display and sell.
    • Limit the number of workers inside the facility.
    • Have direct access to a sidewalk, street, outdoor walkway, parking lot, or alley for pickup.
  • Businesses that support these retail businesses can resume operating, including those that manufacture goods sold at these stores and businesses that provide warehousing and distribution services.
  • Outdoor museums, historical sites, and publicly accessible gardens are allowed to reopen, but visitors are restricted to outdoor areas.

Additional Activities: 

  • Car parades are allowed so long as they ride in cars with members of their households only and do not leave the cars during the parade or stop to gather at a fixed location.  Bicycles and motorcycles are not allowed to join car parades.

Social Distancing Protocol: 

  • Social Distancing Protocol (Appendix A to the Order) incorporates new State of California requirements for training personnel and other measures.
  • To operate, all businesses must complete a Social Distancing Protocol using the new template or update their Protocols to incorporate the new requirements. A copy of the Protocol must be distributed to all employees.
  • To show that they are implementing the Social Distancing Protocol to keep their staff and customers safe from COVID-19, all businesses must print and post in a prominent place near the entrance to the businesses (1) a COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and (2) a Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet. Both the Sign and Visitor Information Sheet can be found in Appendix A to the Order.
  • All businesses must post signage required in the Social Distancing Protocol to educate customers about health and safety requirements. Sign templates are available on the County’s website.

Important Links:

Great Plates Delivered Begins in Santa Clara County: Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the start of Great Plates Delivered in April, but the program that feeds healthy meals to at-risk populations was slow to gain traction. 

As of Monday, May 18, restaurants wanting to become part of this program can now sign up for duty in Santa Clara County.  The program is win-win, meant to get vulnerable populations fed and stimulate the local restaurant economy.

If your restaurant has the staff to meet the volume, you can package individual meals, utensils and napkins and supply masks and gloves to your staff, you may want to sign up.  Funding is through FEMA through June 10 and Newsom expects to request an extension. Yes, you get paid to provide the meals!
Facebook opens Shops – working with small businesses to compete against Amazon and eBay: Facebook announced Tuesday that it is expanding into the world of ecommerce. Facebook Shops will allow businesses to set up free “storefronts” on Facebook and Instagram, working with third-party services including Shopify.  CEO Mark Zuckerburg moved up the timing for this initiative to help rebuild the economy and support small businesses. More on the announcement here and here. Facebook Q&A on Friday at 11 a.m. 

Get creative to increase sales: Have you thought of ways that you can create new business? It’s hard, especially when your business is probably not the only thing on your mind. Last week, we featured the 10th St. Distillery and its switchover to making disinfectant.

Here’s another example to inspire your entrepreneurial minds: Nox Cookies (definitely an essential business!) is set to deliver Employee Recognition packages of a dozen big cookies and a personal note from you to your employees working from home in the San Jose and surrounding areas.  $35 per employee, five employee minimum. Rewarding of employees also includes a donation of 50 cookies to health and safety facilities in our community.  Your goodwill toward employees doubles down as a reward for the people doing the most to keep us all safe and healthy.  Call 408-656-1287 or email yum@noxcookiebar.com to place an order.

San Jose Testing Locations, according to Mercury News
 
Antioch Baptist Church
Address: 268 E Julian St, San Jose
Hours: Wednesday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Appointment: Click here, or call 408-490-4710
 
James Lick High School
Address: 2951 Alum Rock Avenue, San Jose
Hours: 7am – 12pm and 1pm – 7pm, Monday through Friday
Appointment: Click here, or call 1-888-634-1123
 
PAL Stadium
Address: 680 S 34th Street, San Jose
Hours: 9am to 3pm, Monday through Friday
Appointment: Click here
 
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
Address: 344 Tully Road, San Jose
Hours: 9am to 3pm, Monday through Friday
Appointment: Click here
 
Mask on; Mask off
Santa Clara County now requires masks on when at grocery stores, outdoor businesses and other businesses authorized to open as well as public transportation.  People 6-under and hard of breathing are exempt.  In San Jose, we’re headed toward stricter mask measures — wearing masks most of the time when we’re outdoors, especially in retail business situations. The City Council will vote June 2 on a mask policy with amendments suggested at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. 

Everything you need to know about how to wear and how to make face coverings is available on this CDC webpage. That includes how to make a mask without having to sew!

San Pedro Square / Little Italy Meeting
Thursday, May 21 | 3:30 p.m. | Via Zoom
The agenda will include:

  • Check-in with updates of how your business is doing if you are open or your plans to re-open, and what SJDA may do to help you now.
  • Downtown recovery and what would be most helpful.
  • Downtown Farmers’ Market opening on Friday, June 5.

A Sense of Belonging:  How to Foster Inclusivity in Your Workplace
Thursday, May 21 | 3-4 p.m. | Register
Hosted by: Silicon Valley Forum

  • Speakers will discuss what pro-active approaches to take for an inclusive and accessible workplace, and tips to developing an inclusive mindset throughout your organization so everyone feels that welcoming sense of belonging.
  • Featuring: LaFawn Davis — Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, Indeed; KR Liu — Head of Brand Accessibility, Google; Annabel Chang — Vice President Bay Area, Alaska Airlines

San Jose State Economic Summit
Wednesday, May 27 | 10:15-noon | Register
Hosted by: SJSU

  • The San José State University (SJSU) Economic Summit is an annual event focusing on the analysis and forecast of economic activity at the local, state, and national level. The panelists provide attendees with relevant information to make educated business decisions. The audience is composed of representatives of small and mid-size Bay Area businesses, and members of the SJSU community. The event is free of charge, open to the public and the press. Please visit the Past Summits page to learn more.
  • Use the Groundwerx Everywhere App or call 408-287-1520 to report a mess on the sidewalks that needs immediate attention. Download the Groundwerx Everywhere App for iPhones and Android.
  • Use the San Jose 311 app, to report streetlight outages, graffiti, and potholes.
  • Let’s keep our streets clean by moving our cars for streetsweeping services. Check the schedule.
  • For fallen trees or branches, call the tree emergency hotline at: (408) 497-4062. Please have a nearest address available to share with the operator.

COVID-19 Update 10 (May 14, 2020)

Dear Members and Downtown Stakeholders:

Since the first days of the crisis the San Jose Downtown Association (SJDA) has kept an eye toward economic recovery while simultaneously sharing critical information and providing crisis intervention to downtown businesses. 

Our staff has been reaching out to members to offer support and to better understand what you are facing right now. As we look to re-open downtown, we must be thoughtful in the phasing and integration of our businesses as new safety protocols are revealed and customers return downtown. Today’s message is focused with an eye on recovery.

Of our 1638 businesses downtown (not counting about 280 commercial landlords), only six percent are currently open and another nine percent partially open. Nearly 85 percent of businesses are closed. 

We encourage you to join us at one of the district zoom gatherings as we continue to support our downtown businesses. 

Let’s keep the conversations going! Please let SJDA staff know how we can best support you. 

We are in this together.

Sincerely,

Scott Knies
Executive Director

Join us at an upcoming meeting to connect with other businesses and non-profits in your neighborhood district. Check-in with updates on how your business is doing, your recovery plans, and what SJDA may do to help you now and during our collective re-opening.

Please feel free to join the district meeting that is closest to your business or non-profit. 

Historic District & Post St.
Thursday, May 14 | 3 – 4 p.m.
Join with Zoom

SoFA District & Convention Center Area
Friday, May 15 | 1 – 2 p.m.
Join with Zoom

San Pedro Square & Little Italy 
Thursday, May 21 | 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Join with Zoom

SV Strong Launches San Jose-focused Small Business Grant Program: The Silicon Valley Strong Small Business Grant Fund will continue to accept applications through Sunday, May 17, 11:59 pm. The fund provides working capital grants of $10,000 to eligible small San Jose businesses owned by low-to-medium income Santa Clara County residents who have suffered financial loss due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Grants can be used to cover costs, such as employee payroll, 2-week paid sick leave, rent and utilities, outstanding debts to vendors and other operating costs. 

Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis and will continue until all $1.5M of available funds are deployed. Application and more information here.

Silicon Valley Recovery Roundtable (SVRR) is a body of leaders across sectors tasked with making policy recommendations to local and regional governing bodies that ensures political leaders harness state and federal resources, get families back to work, and ready for the economy’s “new normal.”

Key questions that SVRR will address:

  1. How do we reduce risks and reopen safely and productively?
  2. How do we make the recovery inclusive for our community’s most vulnerable members?
  3. How do we enable businesses to survive and thrive?
  4. How do we innovate to build the foundation of the new normal?

Some of the downtown representatives include:
Former SJDA and PBID President Chuck Hammers of Pizza My Heart; Ibi Krukrubo, EY; Matt Lituchy, Jay Paul Co.; Matt Mahood, SVO; Connie Martinez, SV Creates; Mary Papazian, San Jose State University; John Southwell, San Jose Marriott; and Teresa Alvarado, SPUR.

To get started, the group is looking for small business owners and managers to answer some questions and provide insight.  The survey focuses on:  reopening; inclusive recovery; enabling businesses to survive and thrive; and reimagining the future. Information and access to the survey here.

Sanitizer resource for when you re-open: As businesses open up, we will likely need hand sanitizer to stay safe. 10th Street distillery shut down its whisky production and decided to make hand sanitizer to support first responders during the COVID-19 crisis. 

10th Street distillery can supply businesses.  Its product is registered with FDA and made using the same high-quality equipment and practices used for their award-winning single malts. We’re currently supplying in bulk to the cities of San Jose, Santa Clara and El Camino Hospital. 
One-gallon refillable jugs are available for $35 per gallon. Order online, pay with a credit card and pick it up at the distillery in San Jose. For bulk orders above 5 gallons and larger-size containers (up to 55 gal drums), contact them here.

Tow-Away Signs for Construction: Tow-away signs for construction activities have been issued since Monday.  To keep everyone safe, tow-away signs are processed by by a combination of emailed applications, payment over the phone, and curbside sign pick-up appointments at City Hall. More information.

On Friday, Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilwoman Dev Davis shared the “Al Fresco San Jose” initiative, which would allow restaurants and other local businesses to utilize sidewalks, paseos, streets, parking lots and other outdoor space for their businesses. 

It is clear that downtown storefronts will not be returning to “business as usual” anytime soon and this proposal aims to utilize public space to allow businesses to extend their boundaries into the public right of way (streets, plazas, paseos, alleys, sidewalks, parking lanes) for in-person shopping and dining that respects vital social distancing protocols. This time is crucial for both the City to determine what it will allow and for businesses to conceive of how they will alter their operations while keeping patrons and employees safe.

We are pushing for downtown businesses to be allowed to utilize sidewalks, paseos and the transit mall in front of their businesses “by-right” and without having to purchase any permits or special equipment to do so. We are also exploring the idea of closing some streets to vehicular traffic temporarily in order to allow dining in the street like last summer’s successful pilot program on San Pedro Street.  We think this approach would also make sense on Post Street, South First Street and in Little Italy.

As this develops, we will share the latest updates and ways you can help us advocate.  The City will not make any decisions that contradict or get out ahead of public health decisions made by Santa Clara County’s Public Health officials. 

Mayor Sam Liccardo will host a series of virtual community meetings between May 13-20 to share information on his proposed budget and hear from the community on this topic. This series of meetings will be hosted virtually via Zoom with the option to call-in. See the available dates and times and learn more about the budget process here.  The City Manager’s proposed budget is here.
  • Use the Groundwerx Everywhere App or call 408-287-1520 to report a mess on the sidewalks that needs immediate attention. Download the Groundwerx Everywhere App for iPhones and Android.
  • Use the San Jose 311 app, to report streetlight outages, graffiti, and potholes.
  • Let’s keep our streets clean by moving our cars for streetsweeping services. Check the schedule.
  • For fallen trees or branches, call the tree emergency hotline at: (408) 497-4062. Please have a nearest address available to share with the operator.

COVID-19 Update 9 (May 7, 2020)

Dear Members and Downtown Stakeholders:

Today’s message is focused on the new shelter-in-place orders so you have all the information you need in one place. Our team is looking ahead at what downtown recovery might look like and we are advocating on behalf of our businesses. We continue to talk with business owners, managers, property owners and stakeholders to understand what you need and where we can best help.

Let’s keep the conversations going! Please let SJDA staff know how we can best support you. 

We are in this together. 

Your customers must wear masks: A new shelter-in-place became effective Monday, May 4. The biggest change for businesses that are open is that your customers are required to wear masks if they enter your business.  The Public Health official recommends that masks be worn outside all of the time, but that is not a requirement.

Two resources from Santa Clara County cover most of the questions you might have.

This Learn What to Do page spells out what to do if you think you are sick; recreational activities now allowed and how to enjoy them and stay safe; and guidance for retail and grocery stores, workers, and small and large construction projects.

Frequently Asked Questions has sections on shelter-in-place; daily activities; businesses; construction; travel and recreation.

Airport and VTA Requires Face Coverings, too: The revised health order requires that everyone on public transit and at the airport wear face coverings. While on board or traversing the airport corridors, social-distancing protocol must also be adhered to the extent possible. The “No Mask, No Ride” policy is posted on Valley Transportation Authority’s blog. Airport info here.

Single-Use Carry Out Bag Ordinance Temporarily Lifted: The City of San Jose has suspended Single-Use Carry Out Bag Ordinance until June 21, meaning retailers do not need to charge a minimum of 10 cents for bags at check out. This suspension aligns with Santa Clara County health orders that prohibit customers from bringing in their own bags to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the state’s April 22 order suspending a statewide single-use bag ban for 60 days. The goal, of course, is to make it possible for customers to have access to a bag that allows them to easily transport their groceries home.

Help Finding Childcare for Essential Workers: Visit MyChildCare.ca.gov, enter your  address and find local options for licensed childcare providers that are currently open, including their location, health and safety details, ages of children served, capacity, and hours of care. Since the start of the pandemic, $450 million of state and federal dollars have been provided to increase the number of subsidized childcare slots to accommodate the children of essential workers and to cover the cost of gloves, face coverings and cleaning supplies for providers.

New Guidance on Coronavirus Testing: The County has launched a new online resource for testing information and access at sccgov.org/cv19testing. The page includes information about locations where members of the public can be tested. The County Public Health Department recently released important new guidance for local healthcare providers, recommending providers offer testing to anyone experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 as well as certain asymptomatic, high-risk groups.

 
  • SV Creates Arts Relief & Recovery Fund: SV Creates has established the Arts Relief & Recovery fund of emergency support for local arts organizations and artists. SV Creates now services virtual music concerts, theatre, dance and visual arts programs. Seed funding is provided by the Castellano Family Foundation and a matching donation from the Morgan Family Foundation.  Santa Clara County has pledged to match public donations up to $650,000. The $2 million to $3 million raised will go to more than 150 artists and 100 small and mid-size arts organizations in SV Creates’ portfolio. Donations here: the Arts Relief & Recovery fund.

    LISC’s Rapid Relief & Recovery Fund: LISC’s program will take applications for its second round of Small Business Relief grants starting May 14. LISC supports small businesses and enterprises affected by the COVID-19 across the country, especially those in underserved communities, including entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses that often lack access to flexible, affordable capital. Register to receive program emails.

Set up a free business page on Nextdoor: Restaurants can create or expand online presence on Nextdoor by setting up a business page.  With in-person business made difficult by shelter-in-place, Nextdoor now has three new fields for restaurants:  

  1. Add a gift card url (there’s even a link to Square to set one up)
  2. Boxes to check off carry-out or delivery options
  3. Fundraising links if you are on GoFundMe or another funding platform for yourself or employees
  • Use the Groundwerx Everywhere App or call 408-287-1520 to report a mess on the sidewalks that needs immediate attention. Download the Groundwerx Everywhere App for iPhones and Android.
  • Use the San Jose 311 app, to report streetlight outages, graffiti, and potholes.
  • For fallen trees or branches, call the tree emergency hotline at: (408) 497-4062. Please have a nearest address available to share with the operator.

COVID-19 Update 8 (April 30, 2020)

Dear Members and Downtown Stakeholders:

We have heard from many of you about the impacts you are facing right now and we are here to help. Our team has organized around realigning our communications and marketing, focusing on small business support and advocacy and gearing up for a downtown recovery campaign.

Let’s keep the conversations going! Please let SJDA staff know how we can best support you. 

We are in this together. 

To minimize the spread of the coronavirus, the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department revised its health order, effective May 4 through May 31. The revised order keeps most current restrictions in place including shelter in place and social distancing. 

Here is what’s new:
  • Construction activities can be resumed under a set of project safety protocols.
  • Outdoor business activities can re-open where social distancing can be monitored, such as nurseries, landscaping, agriculture and other recreational facilities. Outdoor businesses do not include restaurants, cafes or bars with outdoor seating. 
  • Commercial as well as residential real estate transactions can resume, but with continued restrictions on in-person viewings and appointments.
  • Childcare facilities serving less than 12 children can operate to provide care and supervision for children which allow their parents to work in essential services. All of these operations must comply with restrictions specified in the order.
In every other case, state and local orders are in effect – and between the two where they might overlap, we’re asked to follow the stricter order. This could be true in the matter of playing golf.  Bay Area Courses — including Santa Clara County — are unclear if they can open Monday. Looking for clarity, Gov. Newsom said Thursday that people could play golf if they play alone and walk, which discourages more than half the golfers out there who may want to play in a socially-distance two-, three- or foursome or ride a cart alone.

At a press conference Wednesday to announce the new order, Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health, warned that a resumption of normal life is a long way off, and a vaccine is the best indicator of when business as usual may return.  As for the easing of restrictions, as long as the number of cases indicates the public remains safe, more restrictions may be eased; however, they may be tightened again if cases increase and influx of patients in hospitals also increases, clear indications that we are being too lax.  View the press conference.

Federal loans for small businesses and nonprofits reopen
Funding is again available for the federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs. Nonprofits and small businesses can now apply. The funds are not expected to last long, so apply as soon as possible.  Some downtown businesses have been successful securing PPP loans. 

Federal arts funding opportunities for nonprofits and commercial arts organizations and individual artists (as of April 23).

Salesforce granting $3 million to small businesses
Salesforce has announced its Salesforce Care Small Business Grants Program, offering grants up to $10,000 to 300 small businesses across the United States.  Applications are due before 11:59 p.m. (PDT) May 4.

Applicants must meet these criteria:  Be a for-profit business; Employ between 2-50 staff; Have been in business for 2 years as of March 2020; Have annual revenues of $250,000 to $2 million; Have experienced challenges from COVID-19; Meet all other eligibility criteria as stated in Grant Program TermsApply Here.

Assistance and Resource pages for nonprofits, businesses, and workers impacted by COVID-19

Help the state create a roadmap for community resiliency
The State of California invites you to help develop future guidance for different sectors of the economy.  The guidance documents will provide the private sector with a framework of how to safely reopen. To participate, fill out the form.

Monthly parking accounts in PARK SJ garages not billed in April and May
City of San Jose PARK SJ sent out notices to its monthly parking account holders that it would not collect any fees in April and anticipated not charging monthly fees during the duration of shelter-in-place orders.  Once shelter-in-place is lifted, monthly fees will be prorated.

Some accounts with automatic credit card payment were inadvertently charged and work is ongoing to reverse those charges. Questions about your account? Call (408) 794-1090.

Street Sweeping Continues 
Here’s a reminder during shelter in place to clear the parking spaces in front of your businesses for street sweeping if you can.  City street-sweeping services are continuing, keeping debris out of our creeks, rivers and bay.  Though parking enforcement is suspended, allowing for free street parking, the public is encouraged to move their vehicles for the sweepers to be most effective. To find out when the sweepers cruise your business, plug your address in here.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided updated guidance for workplaces for cleaning and disinfecting their facilities.  This includes everyday steps, steps when someone is sick, and considerations for employers.  The growing list of products deemed effective can be found here.

Unemployment Hotline Now Open 7 Days a Week
We’re seeing reports that only one in eight people applying for unemployment Insurance actually received payment in April.  Nonetheless, the California Employment Development Department is trying to handle the large load of applicants.  

A call center is now open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Residents are encouraged to use UI Online for the fastest and most convenient way to file or reopen a claim, certify for benefits, and get up-to-date claim and payment information.  Smartphone and tablet users can use UI Online Mobile. Customers can call 833-978-2511 for technical help with accessing UI Online and other general unemployment insurance questions. Representatives will not have access to your claim or payment information. New claims can be filed at 1-800-300-1516.

EDD also started on Tuesday assisting residents with the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. PUA benefits are distinct from unemployment benefits and cover the self-employed, employees who lack sufficient work history, gig workers, and independent contractors. Read the FAQ about eligibility and benefit amounts.

Friday, May 1
Privacy Laws Are Alive and Well Even Under COVID-19
10-11 a.m. | Register
Hosted by SVO
With most activity in the workplace, schools and home shifting online, privacy and security, ensuring your business is not compromised, should be a top priority. Hopkins & Carley updates current regulatory activity and noteworthy privacy and security news.

  • Use the Groundwerx Everywhere App or call 408-287-1520 to report a mess on the sidewalks that needs immediate attention. Download the Groundwerx Everywhere App for iPhones and Android.
  • Use the San Jose 311 app, to report streetlight outages, graffiti, and potholes.
  • For fallen trees or branches, call the tree emergency hotline at: (408) 497-4062. Please have a nearest address available to share with the operator.

COVID-19 Update 7 (April 23, 2020)

Dear Members and Downtown Stakeholders:

We have heard from many of you about the impacts you are facing right now and we are here to help. Our team has organized around realigning our communications and marketing, focusing on small business support and advocacy and gearing up for a downtown recovery campaign.

Let’s keep the conversations going! Please let SJDA staff know how we can best support you. 

We are in this together. 

The San Jose Downtown Association is working closely with many small business owners to connect them with resources during this unprecedented time. Please take a minute to help us understand what kind of help you and your business needs to make it through the shelter-in-place order and its aftermath.

 

Facebook Small Business Grants Program 
To support small businesses near locations where Facebook operates, Facebook has launched a $100 million grant program. According to their website, the following eligibility requirements apply:

  • Be a for-profit company
  • Have between 2 and 50 employees
  • Have been in business for over a year
  • Have experienced challenges from COVID-19
  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

Grant amount per business: $4,000

  • Cash: $2,500
  • Facebook Ad credits: $1,500

The San Francisco Bay Area applications are now open through May 6 and you can apply here

LISC and Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund 
LISC will use Verizon funding to provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of Covid-19—especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically underserved communities who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital, according to their website.

What it can be used for?

  • Paying rent and utilities
  • Meeting payroll
  • Paying outstanding debt to vendors
  • Other immediate operational costs

Applications now open through April 28 and you can apply here.

Today, Thursday April 23
Public Safety Update with San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia

2-3 p.m. | RSVP
Hosted by SVO
San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia. Chief Garcia will share the latest crime trends since shelter-in-place orders were enacted. Specifically, the Police Chief will share advice on how to protect your business during shelter-in-place and to reduce the chances of your business being targeted for burglaries. You can learn more about the event and register for the webinar here.

Today, Thursday April 23
Free Webinar on Legal and Financial Help for Small Businesses: 

3-4:30 p.m. | Register
Hosted by San Jose Public Library | Upcoming workshops
Do you have questions about the Payroll Protection Program, Small Business Administration grants and loans, or other COVID-19 relief programs? Start Small Think Big will provide help with the legal, financial, and operational challenges created by COVID-19. An experienced attorney will address these subjects and answer questions. 

Wednesday, April 29
Attend a Virtual Job Fair Featuring 25 + Employers

8 a.m.-3 p.m. | Free online registration  
Hosted by work2future in collaboration with San Jose City College 
More than 25 employers from healthcare, government, business & finance, manufacturing, hospitality, construction, and other industries will be onsite recruiting for over a hundred open positions. is encouraged. The complete list of participating employers and open positions can be found on Eventbrite.

National Level: Updates at the National Level this past week provided guidance to states about how and when to ease shelter-in-place orders. Some of the metrics to be considered are: a downward trajectory of confirmed COVID-19 cases; robust testing for at-risk workers; adequate screening sites and contact tracing to ensure sentinel surveillance; and enough beds, staffing, and PPE to treat all patients without crisis care. These are similar to recent messages by Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. Here’s the White House announcement of its Opening Up America Again plan. 

For information regarding your economic stimulus payment, check here

State Level: In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom promised that he would let local health officers make the call for our region, because the outbreak differs from region to region.

New California Website for COVID-19 Volunteers: Newsom announced a new website, CaliforniansForAll.ca.gov, to organize volunteers and match them up with efforts across the state. The website will “organize a volunteer corps in a much more deliberative way than we have in the past.” Interested people can sign up to work in food banks, deliver food, tutor, give blood, check on neighbors, and much more, all while following physical distancing and other practices to keep themselves and others safe and healthy. 

AARP Launches Resource Card for All Californians: In partnership with the Governor’s Office and the California Department of Aging, AARP CA has launched the California For All resource card, a one-stop information guide on COVID-19 for all Californians. The resource card includes information on how to get caregiving support, how to stay safe at home, how to find important resources through the California Aging and Adults Information line, contacts to report fraud, abuse, or neglect, and more. The card and listed resources are available to all Californians for free. For more information and to download an electronic version of the card, visit www.states.aarp.org/california/covid19

All food industry employees now supported: Newsom signed an executive order this week to support California workers of large employers in the food industry with two weeks of paid sick leave, if they are subject to a quarantine or isolation order or medical directive. The order covers workers throughout the food chain in California, including farmworkers, agricultural workers, grocery store employees, fast food chain employees, and delivery drivers. The order is meant to fill the gap left by federal relief that provides similar paid leave benefits for employers with fewer than 500 workers. Text of the order is here.

  • Use the Groundwerx Everywhere App or call 408-287-1520 to report a mess on the sidewalks that needs immediate attention. Download the Groundwerx Everywhere App for iPhones and Android.
  • Use the San Jose 311 app, to report streetlight outages, graffiti, and potholes.
  • For fallen trees or branches, call the tree emergency hotline at: (408) 497-4062. Please have a nearest address available to share with the operator.

COVID-19 Update 6 (April 16, 2020)

Dear Members and Downtown Stakeholders:
Thank you for continuing to make downtown a strong community. We have heard from members about collaboration, supporting one another and being an advocate for our essential workers. With the ever-changing news, we hope this email helps filter all of the communications you receive into a helpful compilation of updates.
As always, SJDA staff is available to help answer questions and concerns and to provide morale support when needed. Please reach out via email and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

We are in this together. 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) & Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) – No Longer Accepting Applications
As of this morning, the Small Business Administration’s PPP loan program is no longer able to accept applications or new lenders based on available appropriation funding. The EIDL has also been capped out. 

While this program is currently closed, here are other funding opportunities available:

Facebook Small Business Grants Program
To support small businesses near locations where Facebook operates, Facebook is launching a $100 million grant program. According to their website, the following eligibility requirements apply:

  • Be a for-profit company
  • Have between 2 and 50 employees
  • Have been in business for over a year
  • Have experienced challenges from COVID-19
  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

The San Francisco Bay Area applications open on April 20. 
 
Silicon Valley Strong Funding and Support
Here is the best description to the small business program offered through SV Strong and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF)

$5,000 Artist Relief grants available
To support artists during the COVID-19 crisis, a coalition of national arts grantmakers created an emergency initiative to offer financial and informational resources to artists across the United States. Artist Relief is distributing $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19. Since starting in the past week, Artists Relief has received a high volume of submissions.  Be sure to keep a copy of your submission in case you need to reapply.

 

Best known for keeping downtown safe and clean, our Grounderx team has been essential to Downtown during the shelter-in-place order with services continuing from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Here’s a snapshot of our Q&A with Semu One Bear, Program Director, and Chloe Shipp, Operations Manager, to update you on changes to Groundwerx’s routine and recent activities.
 
Q: What comments are Groundwerx staff receiving these days?

Semu One Bear: The main comments we are getting from the staff is how clean everything is right now and how nice that feels, but also how unnerving it is to be the one of the few people still out in the streets. I’m also being told that the little things that the employees used to take for granted are now a much bigger deal, such as finding an open restaurant for a 10am lunch break since most of them changed their hours of operation during the shelter in place. With the new restrictions placed on the businesses that are allowed to stay open, even finding a clean restroom to use is almost impossible if the employee isn’t near the office. I will say that everyone that drives into work is really enjoying the free street parking right now, thanks City of San Jose! Read More.

Q: How has Groundwerx cleaning services changed during shelter in place?

Chloe Shipp: Foot traffic has decreased significantly, leading to an expected reduction in the amount of trash we need to collect daily. Staff is more focused on disinfecting street furniture, trash cans, door knobs, and other things those still walking around downtown may touch. Additionally, there’s still a need to remove biohazards and other messes in downtown. Groundwerx staff have always followed OSHA’s standards around using personal protective equipment.
 
Groundwerx operational hours have been limited to 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day in an effort to limit staff exposure, and shifts have been staggered to limit the number of employees working together in one shift. Read More.

To avoid requiring people to touch shared surfaces, the Department of Transportation is making pedestrian signals “touch-free” in the downtown core. Pedestrian buttons at over 100 intersections have been disabled, and the signal to cross the street activates automatically on a 24-hour scheduled cycle.

Have you heard about SJ Ship Kits yet?  ABC7 covered the non-traditional philanthropic efforts of Urban Community, SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant, Non-Plus Ultra, Voyager Craft Coffee and Academic Coffee to create Ship Kits, going out to people in need with medical and nutritional supplies and emotional support. These are a part of San Jose Love Stories, put together by Team San Jose. The ever-evolving San Jose Love resource page is here.

 Governor Newsom outlined six key indicators that will guide the state’s decision as it considers lifting the stay-at-home order: 

  • The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed; 
  • The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19; 
  • The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges; 
  • The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand; 
  • The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and 
  • The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary. 

The Governor stressed that there is not a precise timeline for modifying the stay-at-home order, but that these six indicators will serve as the framework for making that decision. The City is evaluating the impacts of this announcement and will share information as it becomes available. 

The County of Santa Clara has released further guidance for essential businesses and their workers on measures to protect themselves and others from exposure when they are performing and traveling to and from their job duties. The County Department of Environmental Health prepared a handout with specific risk mitigation measures for permitted food facilities.

Today, Thursday April 16
Santa Clara County’s Office of Education’s Superintendent, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan.

1-2 p.m. | Register
Hosted by SVO
Dr. Dewan will provide an update on how our local schools are adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic and how local businesses can support the County’s education efforts to maintain the future of our workforce. The conversation will be moderated by San Jose District 10 Councilmember-Elect Matt Mahan.

Today, Thursday April 16 
Pivoting Your Business
3-4 p.m. |  Register
Hosted by City of San Jose / Silicon Valley SCORE
Wondering how your company can change its business model to survive the pandemic? Silicon Valley SCORE will show you how to think creatively; Frank Nguyen, owner of Academic Coffee will share his own experience; and Shaina Brown, State Government Relations Manager from eBay, will explain how companies can connect with existing and new customers. To watch previous events, visit YouTube.
 
Friday, April 17
Assemblymember Ash Kalra
10-11 a.m. | Register
Hosted by SVO
Kalra will provide an update on California’s response to COVID-19 and its impact on education.

Tuesday, April 21
SBA COVID-19 Loans Guidance & Resources featuring Spectrum Business Financing

10-11 a.m. | Register 
Wendy Roberts, CEO of Spectrum Business Financing, provides clarity on the SBA COVID-19 loans, what businesses should be doing now to save their business and what they can plan for in the next 30-90 days to move past the pandemic.
Discussion topics will include: Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL); Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); SBA Loan requirements; other SBA Loans

Tuesday, April 21
 Navigating Virtual Meeting and Webinar Platforms
presented by Veltec Networks & All Good Work Foundation

12-1 p.m. | Register 
Hosted by SVO
An interactive look at the unique features that differentiate Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, WebEx and GoTo Meeting so that you may confidently select the tools you need to host virtual meetings and webinars that achieve communication, training, or team building goals.

Thursday, April 23
Public Safety Update with San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia
 2-3 p.m. | Register 
Hosted by SVO
 City of San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia will be provide a public safety update on the latest crime trends since COVID -19 and the shelter in place order.  Discussion topics will include: Resources in light of new crime trends; Public safety initiatives; How businesses can keep their stores and offices safe during shelter in place

Our City Forest has collected a list of relief resources for people in need. This is good to share with family and friends who might need help. We’ve been focused on helping you, our businesses. But part of that help is providing you with these types of life resources, too.

Compiled from various San Jose District Newsletters:

Food Resources
View this map of food resources in Santa Clara County.
Free grab-and-go breakfast and lunch for all ages here.
Anyone under 18 years old can pick up a free bagged breakfast or lunch, Monday-Friday, from their local schools in the San Jose Unified School District. Details. (Other school districts are participating as well).
Click here to see Santa Clara County Senior Meal Sites. Click here to see Senior Hours at Grocery Stores.

Connect to free groceries and access to free fresh fruit, vegetables, and pantry staples by calling Second Harvest at 800-984-3663 or texting “GETFOOD” to 408-455-5181.

Housing Rights
The San José City Council has extended the temporary eviction moratorium through May 31. More.
 
Transportation for Health Care Workers
Are you a healthcare worker? Bay Wheels offers a 30-day program to give critical healthcare workers free bike-share memberships. More.
 
Utilities Assistance
PG&E offers one-time assistance, as well as reduced rates for those who qualify. More.
 
Small Businesses
Read the City of San Jose’s summary of Business Support from the CARES Act. 

Domestic Violence Victims
If you are a victim or witness of a domestic violence incident, immediately call 911 for police and medical attention. There are many advocates and resources available to survivors of domestic violence. Here are a few resources:  

Asian American Discrimination Victims
If you wish to seek assistance from law enforcement, please contact local law enforcement to report a crime or file a complaint.

Submit a form to tell your story. You will be aiding the efforts of Advancing Justice and other advocates to monitor hate incidents across the country. This form does not report directly to law enforcement. Report your incident to Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

  • Use the Groundwerx Everywhere App or call 408-287-1520 to report a mess on the sidewalks that needs immediate attention.  Download the Groundwerx App for iPhones.
  • Use the San Jose 311 app, to report streetlight outages, graffiti, and potholes.
  • For fallen trees or branches, call the tree emergency hotline at: (408) 497-4062. Please have a nearest address available to share with the operator.

COVID-19 Update 5 (April 9, 2020)

Dear Members and Downtown Stakeholders:

We hope you and your family, friends and co-workers are strong and healthy. As we continue to shelter in place, our goal is to support all of our members especially small businesses and non-profits. We hope this week’s compilation of resources, including a variety of webinars being hosted today, are helpful. 

As always, SJDA staff is available to help answer questions and concerns and to provide some moral support when needed. Please reach out via email and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

We are in this together. 

What Commercial Landlords & Tenants Need To Know About Bankruptcy and Financial Distress Arising from Coronavirus
12noon – 1 p.m. | Register
Hosted by SVO
A panel of bankruptcy and real estate counsel will provide practical suggestions and strategies to help Landlords and Tenants understand alternatives to address a tenant’s financial distress arising from the Coronavirus Pandemic and the orders and laws passed relating to it; and how to minimize the likelihood and potential impact of a tenant bankruptcy on their lease during negotiation of the lease or lease modification, and before and after a bankruptcy is filed.
 
Coronavirus and Your Workforce Part 2
2-3 p.m. | Register
Hosted by SVO
Hopkins & Carley’s Employment Law Group answers follow-up questions from its first webinar (3/31).  Please note your COVID-19 related employment questions/concerns may have already been addressed during first webinar. Hosted by SVO.
 
How can the City of San Jose support businesses during COVID-19
2-3 p.m. | Register
Hosted by SVO
Hear from Councilmember Lan Diep for a COVID-19 public health update and to share the City of San Jose’s efforts to support residents and small businesses during this public health crisis.
 
Small Business Assistance in Response to COVID-19
3-4:30 p.m. | RSVP
Hosted by the City of San Jose. 
Small businesses can find out about programs that will help them retain their employees and affordably provide benefits during the COVID-19 crisis. Get more information about Payroll Tax Relief, Paycheck Protection Program, Workshare, and other tools that can help you and your employees.
 
Conversation with City Councilmember Raul Peralez 
6-6:40 p.m. | Limited to first 100 to join.
Hosted by San Jose Downtown Residents Association.
Looking for information on county support? Dennis King of Santa Clara County’s Small Business Development Center, provides details about how the County helps Small Businesses in this recorded webinar. 
Facebook announced that the Bay Area will be awarded $15 million in Facebook grants for small businesses. Businesses can now go to facebook.com/grantsforbusiness to check their eligibility and learn more about the program. The application process has not yet started, but businesses are encouraged to sign their emails up for when the application goes live. Finding the place to submit is a little tricky. You have to go through the Find Available Locations portal.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the City Council agreed to a moratorium on commercial tenant evictions through May 31.  The City will piggyback on the County of Santa Clara’s eviction moratorium ordinance.  Local businesses, income-producing properties, nonprofits and other non-residential purposes can’t be evicted during the COVID-19 crisis, but they must show substantial loss of income due to COVID-19 and they will have to pay back rent within 120 days of resumption of business.  The moratorium can be extended and will follow state guidelines.  Supervisor Joe Simitian provides details of the County ordinance passed March 24.
 
Also, staff provided an update on the impacts of COVID-19 and the City’s response. The presentation included updates on the City’s roadmap through the epidemic, local assistance programs and state and federal funding resources. In addition, Budget Director Jim Shannon provided a report of the estimated budgetary impacts of COVID-19. The entire Council Meeting can be watched on the City’s YouTube Channel.  

Twelve individuals have taken residence in a 75-bed temporary homeless shelter at Parkside Hall next to the Tech Interactive to help keep our 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. The shelter has restrooms, changing rooms, showers, hand sanitizer, pet kennels and laundry facility. It offers boxed meals, 24/7 security, janitorial services, trash collection and Spanish and Vietnamese interpreters. The purpose of the 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.

When that shelter fills up, the South Hall of the Convention Center, aka the blue tent off Market Street, will serve as another temporary residence for the homeless.

  • Use the Groundwerx Everywhere App or call 408-287-1520 to report a mess on the sidewalks that needs immediate attention.  Download the Groundwerx App for iPhones.
  • Use the San Jose 311 app, to report streetlight outages, graffiti, and potholes.
  • For fallen trees or branches, call the tree emergency hotline at: (408) 497-4062. Please have a nearest address available to share with the operator.

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.