The CARES Act was approved by Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020. The Act included approximately $150 billion in stimulus aid to states and local governments with a population of 500,000 or more. The City of Oakland fell short of this population threshold and, as such, did not receive a direct allocation of stimulus aid from the federal government. The State of California allocated $225 million of its CARES Act funding to California cities with a population of 300,000 or more.
The Act provides that the funds can be used for COVID-19 related expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020. The CARES Act generally limits expenditures to those that are directly related to the COVID-19 health emergency, including second order effects such as economic support arising from business interruptions caused by COVID-19. The Act also requires that expenditures not be accounted for in the most recently approved budget.
The U.S. Treasury developed program guidance and answers to frequently asked questions, which can be accessed here:
It is important to note that all CARES Act funds must be SPENT by December 30, 2020, not merely encumbered or under contract with a third party. The State of California has placed additional spending requirements on local governments and is currently requiring that all CARES Act funds be spent by October 30, 2020.