COVID-19 Business and Worker Resources

Resources for Oakland businesses, nonprofits and workers to plan, prepare and respond to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

Subscribe
for COVID-19 business updates
Date Posted: March 11th, 2020 @ 1:28 PM
Last Updated: July 29th, 2022 @ 2:59 PM

City staff are here to assist business owners and entrepreneurs -- book your free 30-minute appointment at any of 7 Neighborhood Business Assistance locations through December 2022.

For the latest Alameda County Public Health Order and approved open and closed businesses, please visit the Planning Resources for Business Re-Opening web page

For updates from the State of California, please visit https://covid19.ca.gov/.

Request one-on-one Business Assistance

City staff are here to assist business owners and entrepreneurs -- book your free 30-minute appointment at any of 7 Neighborhood Business Assistance locations through December 2022.

Small businesses, nonprofits, sole proprietors and independent contractors may feel overwhelmed by the many support options available. Please consider:

  • Check out the grant opportunities listed below.
  • Pursuing a crowdsourced, zero-interest loan from KIVA

California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA), part of the Governor’s Office of Business Economic Development (GO-Biz), announced the launch of calosba.ca.gov a website that connects California’s small business community with critical resources from the state. Highlighting programs that help historically underserved small business groups is an important component of the CalOSBA website.

Federal Resources for Small Businesses

Grant Programs

The Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program grants of $2,500 are available to businesses that have fewer than 5 employees, earn less than $50,000 per year, that were in operation in 2019, are still in operation, and were impacted by the COVID-19 public health restrictions. Businesses that received a California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant are not eligible. The business must be the owner's primary source of income. Applications will be accepted from Tuesday, May 17, to Friday, August 12. Learn more at: https://sites.google.com/swccd.edu/clpccd/home

Zoo Labs is awarding unrestricted grants between $5,000 and $50,000 to Bay Area BIPOC and BIPOC-led artist teams whose music-based business is contributing to the region’s arts and culture environment in positive ways. Apply by noon on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

Verizon has developed free, online curriculum to give small businesses personalized tools to succeed in today’s online marketplace. Complete two courses or coaching events to be eligible to apply for a Verizon Small Business Digital Ready $10,000 grant – the application period is now open. Register for the free curriculum here.

Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center and the Alameda County-Oakland Community Action Partnership have partnered to offer relief grants of $1,500 to 60 qualifying Oakland business owners from low- to moderate-income households. Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

While the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program closed on Friday, August 20, 2021, the SBA began supplemental award notifications to eligible applications the week of Sept. 20. Applicants can choose to apply for any amount up to 50% of their original SVOG amount, with a $10 million cap of the initial and supplemental awards combined, according to the law. The supplemental awards also allow SVOG recipients to extend the time to use their grant funds for expenses accrued through June 30, 2022 and lengthen their budget period to 18 months from the initial grant’s award date.

The Foundation Directory Online helps nonprofits find funding by providing information about the largest public and private foundations in the U.S.

Webinars & Events

Business resource webinars and events are good ways of keeping informed. Check out the upcoming and recorded webinars and events.

Loan Products

Zero-interest loans for low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs and businesses in low- to moderate-income areas of Oakland are available through Main Street Launch. Loan amounts up to $50,000 with terms up to 5 years may be used to buy furniture and equipment, to purchase inventory, for working capital, to refinance high-interest business debt and to pay startup expenses. No minimum credit score requirement. Complete the loan inquiry form.

Main Street Launch has loans specifically for new restaurants located in Oakland’s seven Community Development Block Grant Districts. The maximum loan amount is $120,000 and the loans are available on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more, contact Adrian Gomez Zavala at adrian@mainstreetlaunch.org or (510) 830-3230.

Through March 2022, Feed The Hunger Fund is offering a special 6% interest rate on loans to restaurants, markets, food truck vendors and other food production entrepreneurs. Loan amounts range up to $50,000 to be repaid over a maximum of five years. Contact Meche Sansores at meche@feed-hunger.com or (415) 433-7171.

The Oakland Restorative Loan Fund, administered by Pacific Community Ventures (PCV), is offering $2.5 million in no fee, zero-interest small business loans. This fund can help combat gentrification and displacement, and support business owners as state and federal grant programs begin to end. As with all PCV loans, there are no application fees and no minimum credit score to apply. The loan program is targeted to small businesses that have been most excluded from the traditional financial system and SBA programs, such as Black, Indigenous, and POC-owned businesses, women and LGBTQI+ business owners, returning residents, immigrants and refugees, and other low-income communities. The initial application round has closed. As additional funds are secured, PCV hopes to open another application period shortly.

The California Rebuilding Fund is a new loan program built to support California's small businesses as they adapt and navigate the effects of COVID-19. Businesses with up to 50 full-time employees and gross revenues of less than $2.5 million or below in 2019 may be eligible to apply. Learn more and apply today at www.CALoanFund.org The maximum available loan amount is $100,000. There are two different loan terms: 36 months or 60 months at 4.25% fixed annual interest rate. The first 12 months offer interest-only payments. The loans are not forgivable.

TMC Community Capital is offering affordable, online microlending for under-served business owners. Loans amounts from $5,000 to $50,000 for businesses in operation at least 12 months with revenue under $3 million. The interest rate varies between 6% and 9% with loan terms of 2 to 5 years. There is no application fee. There is a 3% processing fee. Borrower support through trainings, tools and resources.

Crowdsourced Zero-Interest Business Loans from KIVA up to $15,000

Working Solutions SBA loans

Main Street Launch SBA loans

Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program loans for small businesses and nonprofits

Sick & Disability Leave

Free Human Resources Hotline for COVID-19 Questions: 888-202-5668 operates Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

COVID-19 and Oakland’s Sick Leave Law. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance was extended on January 19, 2021.

Oakland recently updated its Paid Sick Leave law to protect workers from COVID-19. Employers should read the new guidelines and post the regulations in a public place.

California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
Employers with more than 25 employees must provide 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for eligible employees who are:

  • Isolating/quarantining related to COVID-19
  • Attending appointments to receive a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 vaccine
  • Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Caring for a family member who is subject to quarantine or isolation
  • Caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19

The Supplemental Paid Sick Leave extends through September 30, 2021. 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave FAQs

California Paid Sick Leave: Frequently Asked Questions

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Federal tax credits can help cover cost of this leave.

Disability Insurance Elective Coverage for Employers and Self-Employed Individuals

File a Disability Claim if you’re Sick

Paid Family Leave if you're Caring for Someone Ill

Support Programs & Services

Hack the Hood is offering free website redesign for small businesses during their summer program that connects future tech workers with small businesses and nonprofits. Apply today at https://www.tfaforms.com/4979728.

Are you a manufacturer with 75 employees or fewer and veteran-, woman- or BIPOC-owned? Apply for Manex’s Small Business Technical Assistance Expansion (SBTEA) Grant Program, which funds consulting and training to assist you in tackling unique manufacturing business challenges. For assistance, please contact Michael Shabaka at mshabaka@manexconsulting.com or call (925) 807-5101.

Covered California extends health insurance special enrollment period through July 1, including premium subsidies

Alcoholic Beverage Control eased alcohol delivery restrictions for restaurants, but only with food

Services for Businesses Reducing Staffing Levels

Are you hiring? List job openings with OnwardCA.org

California's Anti-Price Gouging Information

Emergency financial assistance, legal representation and supportive services to prevent Oakland residents from losing their housing from Keep Oakland Housed

Steps to Preserve Cash Flow

Federal tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. Immediate dollar-for-dollar reimbursement offset against payroll taxes

Employee Retention Credit is a refundable tax credit, up to $33,000 per employee, against certain employment taxes via qualified wages paid to employees from March 13, 2020 to December 31, 2021. Businesses can retroactively claim the credit for past quarters. Learn more here

Small business interest-free deferral of sales/use tax up to $50,000 for businesses with less than $5 million in taxable sales

Property Tax Penalty Waivers for Eligible Taxpayers

Request late payment penalty waiver/payment plan for City of Oakland Business Taxes

PG&E COVID-29 Consumer Protections

Eviction Moratorium

In Oakland, the commercial eviction defense to non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 conformed with the Governor’s Executive Order which expired on September 30, 2021. The protections that prevented commercial evictions of small businesses and non-profit organizations for nonpayment of rent ended on that date. Back rent may be due in full depending on the payment plan or other agreement negotiated between the tenant and landlord. The moratorium on residential evictions remains in effect until the end of the Local Emergency as declared by Oakland City Council.

Recorded Lease Negotiation Webinars in multiple languages
provided by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR).

Free one-on-one consultations on commercial leases are offered through LCCR’s Legal Services for Entrepreneurs program. Apply at: https://lccrsf.org/get-assistance/legal-services-for-entrepreneurs/commercial-tenant-legal-assistance/

Learn more about Oakland's Moratorium on Residential and Commercial Evictions

Commercial tenants seeking additional information and support on the eviction moratorium can contact:

Commercial tenants and property owners who have questions not answered here should submit them to BusDev@oaklandca.gov and City staff will get in touch with you.

Workplace Safety

On September 17, 2020, a new law (SB 1159) signed by Governor Gavin Newsom expands access to workers’ compensation and makes it easier for first responders, health care workers and people who test positive due to an outbreak at work to get the support they need, including necessary medical care and wage replacement benefits. Read Frequently Asked Questions. The law took effect immediately.

The Governor also signed AB 685 to ensure timely notification to employees and local and state public health officials of COVID-19 cases at workplaces. This notification will help workers take necessary precautions such as seeking testing, getting medical help or complying with quarantine directives. The changes will in effect from January 1, 2021, until January 1, 2023. Learn more at: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/Coronavirus/AB6852020FAQs.html

California COVID-19 Employer Playbook: when and how an employer must report a COVID-19 positive employee; what is defined as an outbreak; and guidance for employers who may be considering whether to suspend operations due to COVID-19 spread in the workplace.

Criteria for Release from Home Isolation and/or Quarantine and Return to Work

When do I Self-Release from Isolation for COVID-19?

California-made Personal Protective Equipment Marketplace Source: California Manufacturers & Technology Association

Screening Guidance for Employers, Businesses, and Organizations - Source: Alameda County Public Health:
English | Arabic | Farsi | Khmer | Korean | Spanish | Tagalog | Vietnamese | Chinese (Simplified) | Chinese (Traditional)

Alameda County Worker Resources - Source: Alameda County Public Health:
English | Spanish | Chinese (simplified) | Chinese (traditional) | Tagalog | Vietnamese

Cal/OSHA Guidance on Coronavirus

COVID-19 Guidance for Restaurants & Beverage Vendors Offering Takeout or Curbside Pickup OSHA COVID-19 Guidelines

OSHA COVID-19 Guidelines

Key OSHA Standards

Past Business Update Emails

Translated Documents


Visit the 2021 archive of Business Update Emails

Visit the 2020 archive of Business Update Emails