Information for Lafayette Businesses during COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Order >>

 

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Important information and resources or Lafayette businesses:

Almost Daily Briefing, April 3, 2020, Friday Edition

Post Date: 04/03/2020 9:32 AM. Published news articles from local, regional, and national media on topics of interest to the #LoveLafayette Community

COVID-19 UPDATE

This update was provided to the City of Lafayette by Townsend Public Affairs and includes Cal OES announcements. Read the latest coronavirus information and find resources for Lafayette residents and businesses on the City’s COVID-19 Webpage: http://bit.ly/LafayetteCoronavirusInfo. 

  • Small Business Assistance: Today the Governor Newsom highlighted new assistance that the State is offering small businesses, as well as federal efforts that were part of the stimulus measures signed into law in March.  More information on the below programs can be found here:  https://covid19.ca.gov/business-and-employers/.
  • Sales Tax Bridge Loan: The State has announced the free deferral of sales/use tax, up to $50,000, for businesses with less than $5 million in taxable assets. The State is allowing qualified businesses to defer their payment of sales/use tax for up to one-year with no fines or penalties.  Additionally, there will be no interest payments required for any deferred payments.  The intent is for this funding, which businesses collect and remit to the State, to act as a bridge loan.
  • California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program: This program is being started with $50 million in funding being provided to the IBank.  This program is targeted at small businesses with 1-750 employees who do not qualify for federal funds.  The loans would be eligible for businesses and non-profits, and the funds could be used for operating costs, such as rent and payroll. Businesses can apply directly with a private lender or through a participating Financial Development Corporation.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan: This program was previously approved by Congress and is available through the US Small Business Administration. This program can provide qualifying businesses with a loan of up to $2 million. The loan can be paid back over 30 years at an interest rate of 3.75% (2.75% for non-profits). Applicants can receive an upfront advance of up to $10,000 while their application is being processed.
  • Paycheck Protection Program: This program was approved through the CARES Act and begins accepting applications tomorrow (April 3) Congress has made $349 billion available, nationwide, for this program.  The program is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their employees on payroll.
  • This program can provide qualifying businesses with up to $10 million loan. The loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of 0.5%. The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities (at least 75% of the forgiven amount must be used for payroll0. Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels.  Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines or if salaries and wages decrease.
  • Water Shutoffs: Today, Governor Newsom signed an Executive Order that will restrict water shutoffs to homes and small businesses while the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 100 public and private water systems have already voluntarily suspended water shutoffs for non-payment due to COVID-19. The State Water Resources Control Board will issue best practices and guidelines on support for the state’s water systems. Under the Executive Order, water systems shall restore any residential service to occupied residences that has been discontinued for non-payment since March 4.
  • Unemployment: The US Department of Labor published updated data on unemployment claims nationwide. The number of initial claims continued to spike, jumping from a weekly total of 3.3 million to 6.6 million. State Unemployment: Governor Newsom indicated, that since March 12th, over 1.9 million Californians have filed for unemployment benefits.
  • To help handle the increased volume of those seeking benefits, the Employment Development Department has reorganized staffing in order to speed up the processing of eligibility and distribution of benefits.  The State is making every effort to keep up with a 21-day turn around for those who apply.
  • Property Taxes: In response to a question from the media, Governor Newsom indicated that there are currently no plans, at the state level, to delay or relieve property owners of their property tax obligations.  The Governor has been in communication with representatives for local governments and they have stressed the critical need for the funding they receive from property tax.  Local governments have requested that the State not delay or suspend property tax payments, unless the State backfills the revenue to local governments.

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Lafayette Small Business and Covid-19 Webinar [recording]

Tuesday, March 31, 5pm via Zoom. Watch recording here.

The Lafayette Chamber hosted a Zoom Webinar on Tuesday, March 31 for Chamber members. Moderated by Chamber President John McCormick (Lamorinda Music) this 1 hour Zoom meeting covered the state of the city and answers to some of the most often asked questions about the shelter-in-place and business/disaster recovery.  We heard from Jay Lifson, Executive Director of the Chamber, Niroop Srivatsa, Lafayette City Manager, and Senator Steve Glazer. There was time for Q&A during the webinar.

It was recorded. Watch recording here. If you have any further questions send an email to info@lafayettechamber.org.

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Contra Costa County Stay Home Order for COVID-19 Extended Until at Least May 3rd.

The COVID-19 public health crisis in Contra Costa County has worsened significantly over the past two weeks. Confirmed cases in the six most populous Bay Area counties have increased more than eight-fold since the prior Stay Home order. While the prior Stay Home order has been effective in reducing the rate of transmission of the COVID-19 disease (“flattening the curve”), it is not enough.

The County Health Officer has determined that more and stricter social distancing is needed to slow the rate of spread, prevent deaths, and stop the health care system from becoming overwhelmed. The new order strengthens, extends, and clarifies the restrictions for parks, childcare, construction, recreation, and enforcement, and adds additional requirements for essential businesses. 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, before Friday, April 3, 2020.

You can read the press release on the new Stay at Home Order here:
https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/64726/Stay-home-order-press-release_0331_final-1

The full Health Officer Order can be found here:
https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/64727/2020-0331-Health-Officer-Order-COVID19

A summary of the new Stay at Home Order can be found here:
https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/64733/2020-0331-Summary-Superseding-Order-Changes

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Lafayette Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Matching Campaign

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Lafayette Community Foundation (LCF) is increasing its support to local non-profits. Now through April 30, LCF will match every dollar that is donated up to $25,000. This year, LCF has already committed to giving $50,000 for its Excellence Grants. The COVID-19 Community Matching Campaign will allow LCF to grant up to $100,000 to financially challenged organizations that provide essential services in the community, empowering them to continue to do what they do best…..assist those in need.

To Donate please visit https://lafayettecf.org/donate/ or mail your check to Lafayette Community Foundation, PO Box 221, Lafayette, CA 94549.

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Lafayette Mayor Mike Anderson to Hold Virtual Lunch on Facebook Live

Post Date: 03/31/2020 11:15 AM
Lafayette Mayor Mike Anderson will hold a Virtual Lunch Wednesday, April 1, at noon on Facebook Live to answer residents’ questions concerning the Covid-19 emergency and how it affects Lafayette.  Mayor Anderson, who will be joined by City Manager Niroop Srivatsa, will talk about how the City is responding to the Stay at Home Order, what steps it is taking to keep the City operations functioning, and how best to get in contact with the City during the crisis. Please send your questions for Mayor Anderson to jheyman@lovelafayette.org, and write “Mayor’s Virtual Lunch” in the subject field. You can also submit questions on Facebook during this live event. Please join Mayor Anderson’s Virtual Lunch at noon, tomorrow, Wednesday, April 1, at https://www.facebook.com/lovelafayette.

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The City of Lafayette is urging everyone to sign-up for the latest Covid-19 information for Lafayette residents and businesses.

You can subscribe to City of Lafayette notifications, including Covid-19 updates, here: https://bit.ly/LafayetteNotifications.

You can also find the latest Information on Covid-19 on the City’s website here: http://bit.ly/LafayetteCoronavirusInfo.

During the Covid-19 emergency, here is how to contact City of Lafayette offices: https://bit.ly/LafayetteCovid-19Contact.

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March 27, 2020 Daily Briefing by the City of Lafayette

Read article here that includes information on the CARES Act, unemployment insurance, Small Business Administration and more.  (www.lovelafayette.org/)

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Before You Break That Lease Over COVID-19, Negotiate First, Brokers Say

Read article here. (www.bisnow.com)

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US Chamber’s analysis on the COVID-19 Stimulus Package passed yesterday, 3/25/2020, by the Senate.  CARES Act

View document here (PDF, 12 pages)

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Townsend Public Affairs Update 3/25/2020

This update was provided to the City of Lafayette by Townsend Public Affairs. Read the latest coronavirus information and find resources for Lafayette residents and businesses on the City’s COVID-19 Webpage: http://bit.ly/LafayetteCoronavirusInfo. 

  • White House: President Trump has been signaling that he hopes that American life will be back to normal by Easter.
  • In a Fox Town Hall today, the President indicated that his Administration would be reevaluating the 15-day self-isolating guidelines that are currently in place. The President indicated that indicated that they would keep the guidelines in place if more time was needed, but that there is also a need for the country’s businesses to reopen.
  • Governor Newsom has previously indicated that there is no concrete timeframe in which he would like to end statewide safety actions. The Newsom Administration has indicated that they are closely monitoring the spread and infection rate of COVID-19 in California and will lift the emergency actions when they feel that they can do so without jeopardizing public health.
  • Congress: The House and Senate are deep in negotiations to finalize a “Phase 3” coronavirus package, but face hurdles in the forms of policy disagreements, quarantined members, and a recessed House disinclined to risk flying back to vote.
  • Public agency provisions: TPA has been working with elected officials, public agencies, and national stakeholders to advocate for provisions within the Phase 3 measure that would benefit public agencies. We have been in constant communication with Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris, as well as most members of the California Congressional delegation advocating for the following provisions: Aid to local public agencies with flexibility to use address various impacts from COVID-19; Aid to small businesses, including no-interest loans that can convert to grants; Paid leave reimbursement for public agencies, especially those that do not pay certain payroll taxes; Aid to transit agencies, fire relief, first responders, and other critical local resources; Increased funding and flexibility to address the impacts of COVID-19 on the homeless;Increased funding and flexibility for existing funding streams, like CDBG; and avoiding inclusion of provisions that would limit local control in a time of crisis.
  • Remote Voting: The House Rules Committee has concluded that remote voting is not a viable option at this time, given the security, logistical and institutional concerns.
  • The Committee is recommending the House try to pass the next stimulus package by unanimous consent, according to a new Rules report commissioned by leadership to study the issue.  Unanimous consent would take agreement from every single member of the House.
  • The Committee also laid out “proxy” voting, allowing a colleague to vote in someone’s place, which would require a rule change.
  • Statutory Timelines:  The League of California Cities has sent a letter to Governor Newsom (attached) to relieve public agencies from certain statutory requirements during the current COVID-19 public health crisis.  TPA has been working with the Newsom Administration, members of the Legislature, local public agencies, and other stakeholders, to have the Administration provide temporary relief from certain statutory deadlines so that cities can focus on responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The letter to the Governor requests temporary relief from timelines related to: Review and Approval of Development Projects; Housing Element Submission; Housing and Community Development Grant Programs; California Environmental Quality Act; Transportation Funding
  • Public Records Act; Public Reform Act – Form 700; California Government Claims Act
  • Solar Permits; Wireless Telecommunication Facilities; Financial Reports; and Police Department Registration.
  • Department of Finance: This morning the Department of Finance (DOF) issued a letter (attached) to the Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees indicating that, due to the potential revenue impacts from COVID-19, the Department of Finance will not be proposing any modifications to the current budget year appropriations.  Additionally,  DOF will be reevaluating “all budget changes within the context of a workload budget.”
  • This letter is the first official communication to the Legislature confirming what most already know, the budget proposal that the Governor put forth in January did not envision any scenario like the current COVID-19 crisis, and the impact on the state’s economy from dealing with the public health emergency.
  • Since the Governor has extended the deadline for the payment of state taxes until July 15, two weeks into the new fiscal year, it is likely that the budget that the Legislature approves on June 15will need to have multiple revisions throughout the year to accurately respond to the actual level of available state revenue.
  • FEMA: FEMA released a new fact sheet on their public assistance application process: https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2020/03/23/coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-public-assistance-simplified-application
  • Defense Production Act: The Trump Administration will use the Defense Production Act for the first time to procure nearly 60,000 coronavirus test kits.
  • Trump signed an executive order last week that set the stage to use the law, but has so far resisted using the authority.
  • Governors have called for him to use the authority to increase production of medical supplies, but President Trump cited concerns about nationalizing American businesses.
  • U.S. Postal Service: Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) indicated that the Postal service has seen a ‘drastic’ reduction in mail volume and could shutter by the summer without intervention.
  • This collapse that could jeopardize access to mail-order prescription drugs for millions of Americans, especially in rural communities.
  • Collapse would affect the ability of voters to cast ballots by mail.
  • Olympics Postponed: IOC officially postponed the 2020 summer games in Tokyo for a year.
  • Increasing Bed Space: On Friday, March 20, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced plans to convert hotels, university dormitories, and similar spaces into hospitals to increase clinical bed space to support the COVID-19 response.
  • States will identify suitable spaces—principally, those currently out of service and empty—and lease them to the Army Corps of Engineers, which will rapidly convert the available rooms for clinical care, with capabilities similar to intensive care units (ICUs), using standardized construction plans.
  • FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services will provide supplies for these units.
  • The program is already being implemented in New York, and the Department of Defense plans to extend it to at least 18 states in the coming weeks. States will also be permitted to implement the program on their own, without needing to wait for the Corps of Engineers, using the same conversion plans and operational model.
  • The plan is also adaptable to other settings like gymnasiums, arenas, or convention center, but those sites may focus on a lower level of clinical care due to the inability to separate patients into individual rooms.

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An Update to the Business Community

With the speed at which things are changing it is amazing how fast information is being provided for small business to wrap their arms around some of the decisions they will need to be making over the next weeks and months ahead. Please take a look at these documents and links that can help navigate through the programs and products that SBA and EDD are supporting. There will be upcoming webinars to provide even more guidance.

COVID-19 Survival Guide – every business should start by downloading this – it is 16 pages long. Be sure to read all of the information – A lot of questions are addressed here regarding business interruptions, insurances, SBA Disaster Injury Loans, Unemployment Insurance and resources for employers and employees.

Key Areas of Focus in the Survival Guide
1. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans
2. EDD for Business Owners
3. EDD for Business Employees
4. Business Interruption Insurance

Key Links:
• For Contra Costa County – https://www.contracostasbdc.org/
• For Alameda County – https://www.acsbdc.org/
• Northern CA SBDC Finance Center (main portal for loan and policy updates) — https://www.norcalsbdc.org/

See also: State and County Resources for Small Business Employers & Employees

This information was made possible by State Senator Steve Glazer, District 7.

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SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program: Low-interest loans

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) disaster loan product that’s being used to provide financial aid during COVID-19 situation is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.

These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. At an interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses, 2.75% for non-profits, SBA offers terms of up to 30 years.

If interested DO THIS TODAY. Demand is high and processing time may be 3-4 weeks, so don’t wait. View the time-line, filing requirements and a list of documents required, HERE. For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The three-stage loan application process:

  1. Apply online (30-45 min pending required documentation)
  2. Verification, documentation, credit review, and loan processing by the SBA (3-4 weeks)
  3. Loan closed and funds disbursed. (commonly a disaster loan is not disbursed all at once. The loan is drawn in phases)

Refer to this PDF which does a nice job outlining the process.

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United States Chamber of Commerce: Coronavirus Legislative Update 3/19

Yesterday afternoon (3/18), the Senate passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  This bill provides, among other things, provisions to address Paid Sick Leave, Paid Family and Medical Leave, and Unemployment Insurance for workers displaced by the ongoing outbreak.  Furthermore, it includes provisions to provide diagnostic testing for coronavirus, and bolsters Medicaid and nutrition programs for at risk populations.  Below is a chart from the House Ways and Means Committee which describes the employer paid leave requirements and the tax credit provisions.  You may click here to see the U.S. Chamber’s summary.  
HR 602
Congress’s focus will now turn to the Phase Three stimulus package.  Click here to see the U.S. Chamber’s letter to Congress and the President with the business community’s recommendations.
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A Message about COVID-19 Testing from Candace Andersen, Chair of the Contra Costa County, Board of Supervisors, District 2

The lack of test kits has been one of the most serious problems with this pandemic. There have not been enough of them, and on my Morning Briefing call our Health Officer stated that it was getting the collection tools — such as the swabs and vials —that are most challenging right now. Because of this shortage the original requirements for getting tested have been very restrictive — you needed to have been exposed to the illness, had traveled in one of those countries where the COVID-19 is prevalent, or had all three symptoms: 1) Fever; 2) Cough; 3) Shortness of breath.

Our County Health Officer believes that by using alternate collection supplies, all medical providers will be able to start doing more testing in the next few days. You will still need to start with your own doctor or healthcare provider, but the standards they are using to determine who gets tested should be relaxed a little — if you have ANY of the three symptoms you could be tested.

Healthcare providers want most people to call ahead, although all of our local hospitals now have Triage tents to screen patients who arrive at Emergency Departments. Please refer to the COVID-19 Call Center: tel:844-729-8410 along with the Corona Virus FAQ’s https://cchealth.org/coronavirus/pdf/Stay-Home-Order-FAQs.pdf.

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Mayor’s Message to Lafayette Residents and Businesses

[Wednesday, March 18, 2020]

Due to concerns expressed by Lafayette residents, Lafayette Mayor Mike Anderson, working with Lafayette Police Chief Ben Alldritt and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jay Lifson, today sought to clarify which businesses are allowed to remain open in the City of Lafayette during the duration of the Public Health Order (https://cchealth.org/coronavirus/pdf/HO-COVID19-SIP-0316-2020.pdf) issued by Country Costa County on March 16. The order, which also requires residents to stay in their homes except to conduct essential business and to exercise, is in effect until April 7, 2020.

The Lafayette Police Department will be monitoring the operation of essential businesses. Should you have any concerns about a business that is operating during this period, please call the Contra Costa County Call Center at 1-844-729-8410. If a violation is identified within the City of Lafayette, the Lafayette Police Department will follow-up. Here is a summary of the list of “Essential Businesses” that are allowed to function, according to the March 16 order:

• Healthcare operations and infrastructure (police, fire, hospitals, pharmacies, garbage/sanitation, utilities)
• Grocers, farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, food banks, convenience stores, and other retailers selling food — including those that also sell products aside from food
• Take-out/delivery restaurants and food-delivery services
• Food cultivation businesses (farming, fishing)
• Businesses or organizations providing social services, food or shelter to the needy
• Hardware stores/plumbers/electricians and those who provide services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences
• Newspapers, television, radio, and other media
• Gas stations and auto-related businesses, including repair shops
• Banks and financial institutions
• Shipping and mailing businesses
• Educational institutions to provide distance learning and other essential functions
• Laundry services (laundromats, dry-cleaning companies)
• Businesses that supply people with items required to work from home, or businesses that supply essential businesses with necessary supplies
• Businesses that ship groceries and supplies directly to homes
• Public transportation, airlines, taxis, and private transportation services
• Home-based and residential care for seniors, adults, and children
• Legal and accounting services that keep businesses in compliance
• Childcare facilities, with certain stipulations, like only having groups of 12 kids together at a time
• Cemeteries

In summary, Mayor Anderson stated, “I want to thank Lafayette residents and businesses for their cooperation and patience during these extraordinary times. All of us are confronting hardships in complying with this critical Public Health Order. However, as we always do, I have seen Lafayette residents and businesses coming together to support each other, help each other, and do everything we can to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our city. Let’s all do what we can, and I can assure you, that the City staff will be working to keep essential services functioning throughout the duration of the County’s Public Safety order. Again, thank you for making ours a model city, even in such trying times.”

For additional information, please refer to the County’s Public Health Stay Home Order FAQ information sheet at http://bit.ly/CountyStayHomeInfo-03-17-20. For the latest information on the COVID-19 situation and how it affects Lafayette, please visit the City’s webpage at http://bit.ly/LafayetteCoronavirusInfo.

Who’s Open in Lafayette?

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U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Disaster Declaration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has declared Contra Costa County a disaster area as a result of economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration is effective for the period beginning January 31, 2020 and is continuing. Eligible small businesses may apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans directly with the SBA by December 16, 2020. Check www.sba.gov/disaster or see below for more information. See attached letter from CalOES for additional information and details.

Disaster Loan Assistance

Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses, Private Nonprofits, Homeowners, and Renters

The Small Business Administration outlined their Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance Program. We are in a declared disaster area (no surprise) and any small business (less than 500 employees) can apply for an emergency loan of up to $2M to meet normal business obligations, payroll, etc. Interest rate is 3.75% for small business. The term can be as long as 30 years. Plus there is a 1-year deferment on any repayments, which is significant. Details are here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/EIDLLoans. You can apply here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Account/Login. They said they would process them as quickly as possible and be very generous with criteria.

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to California Small Businesses Economically Impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

[Click here for Press Release]  The unprecedented economic impacts of the Coronavirus on the business community in California are already being felt. CAMEO, in coordination with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance, will be holding a call on Wednesday, March 18th at 4:00PM to explain the SBA disaster loan application process and answer questions from small business support organizations. They’ll cover: • What the program is, • How it works and how to apply, • Common missteps or misunderstandings that impact business owner applicant.  Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ws6-7uyQR3eekbeo54im3w

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Benefits for Workers Impacted by COVID-19

The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency is keeping a central summary chart of resources available to employees from different state and federal programs. Employers should share this resource with their employees. See the Summary Chart Here.

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Helpful items from the CA Employment Development Dept’s website

https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

Sick or Quarantined Employees:

If you’re unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week.

The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect DI benefits for the first week you are out of work. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

Potential Closure or Layoffs:

Employers planning a closure or major layoffs as a result of the coronavirus can get help through the Rapid Response program. Rapid Response teams will meet with you to discuss your needs, help avert potential layoffs, and provide immediate on-site services to assist workers facing job losses. For more information, refer to the Rapid Response Services for Businesses Fact Sheet (DE 87144RRB) (PDF) or contact your local America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM.

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Message from Casey Elliott, Townsend Public Affairs, Inc.
3.17.2020 11:00 AM PT

Congress

o The Senate will look to begin consideration of the House-passed coronavirus bill today, a day after the House made technical corrections to the measure.

o The revised bill would permit the Labor Department Secretary to issue regulations exempting businesses with fewer than 50 employees from the paid leave requirement if it “would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” Verbatim language was included in the family leave section as well.

o The House also modified definitions for both leave programs to narrow their scope, including focusing the family leave program on caring for children without access to school or child care. It also changed the emergency family leave to kick in after 10 days instead of 14, and capped the assistance at $10,000 per employee.

o The tax credits created by the bill for paid sick leave and family leave were increased to include amounts employers pay for an employee’s health care plan while they are on leave.

o Senators opened session this morning at 10 a.m. EST and could act on the bill this afternoon, though some Republicans oppose the measure, saying the bill’s paid leave requirements are too much of a burden on small businesses.

o Congress will soon begin discussing plans for a third economic stimulus plan. The measure may address issues including hospital capacity, provide emergency child care, delivery of food and medicine to seniors, and place a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.

o Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will present a $750 billion Democrat-led proposal to appropriators as soon as today. Measure would include $400 billion in emergency appropriation to assist seniors, public housing, schools and children.

White House

o The White House held a briefing this morning and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that the IRS is allowing the deferment of up to a $1 million (individuals) and $10 million (businesses) in tax payments for 90 days interest and penalty free. The IRS still encourages those who are able to file their taxes by the traditional April 15th deadline to do so.

o Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also indicated that the economic stimulus package could now cost $1 trillion and will be discussed with Senators and possibly the House this afternoon. The plan is to include a payroll tax holiday over the next 6-8 months and $1000 payments to American citizens whose jobs may be impacted.

o During the briefing, it was indicated that as of today, public laboratories have reported out nearly 32,000 COVID-19 tests. Clinical laboratories have reported out 27,000 tests. Of those 27,000, nearly 8,200 were conducted yesterday. Numbers from individual hospitals will be forthcoming in the coming days. 47 Drive-Thru laboratories will also begin in 12 states by the end of the week.

Airlines

o Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is endorsing the outline of a U.S. airline industry proposal for the federal government to provide as much as $58 billion in grants and loans to mitigate the impacts from the severe decrease in airline travel due to COVID-19 concerns.

o Support for airlines could become part of a stimulus package, but Democrats would insist that there be limits on the aid such as no stock buybacks, no sending jobs overseas, no outsourcing jobs to usually low-paid workers

o President Trump indicated during this morning’s White House briefing that assistance to aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing and GE is also being considered.

REAL ID

o Lawmakers have asked the White House to extend the October 1 deadline for most travelers to have new federal identification cards to fly. The identification card, Real ID, was required by an act of Congress following the 2001 terrorist attacks as a measure to force states to exert greater oversight of identification.

o Beginning Oct. 1, air travelers 18 years of age and older will need a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or other acceptable identification to board a commercial aircraft or enter federal buildings.

What Else To Know

o Elections: 3 states, Arizona, Florida and Illinois will hold votes today despite concerns about voters and poll workers becoming infected with the coronavirus. Ohio was scheduled to have a primary as well, but court action late yesterday resulted in the election being delayed until June 2.

o Senators Ask Saudi Arabia to Review Oil Supply Plans: 13 Republican Senators asked Saudi Arabia to calm economic anxiety in the oil and gas sector as the coronavirus continues to impact markets. The letter came after guidance was issued by the country’s energy minister to lower crude prices and boost output capacity. Gas prices across the US have dropped as a result and experts are predicting national gas prices may drop as low as $2 dollars per gallon over the next few weeks.

o Justice Department Targets Criminals Exploiting Fear: Federal prosecutors across the U.S. will make it a priority to investigate and punish criminals who seek to take advantage of public fear over the coronavirus crisis, such as peddling fake cures or carrying out cyber attacks, Attorney General William Barr announced yesterday. The mandate was conveyed in a directive that Barr issued to the nation’s 93 U.S. attorney’s offices following reports of online scams, including individuals and businesses selling bogus treatments as well as hackers insert ing malicious software onto mobile apps designed to track infections.

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Shelter In Place Order Issued For All Contra Costa County Residents

Post Date: 03/16/2020 1:34 PM

An important Order from the Health Officer of the County of Contra Costa has been issued. The Order directs all individuals living in the county to shelter at their place of residence except that they may leave to provide or receive certain essential services or engage in certain essential activities and work for essential businesses and governmental services; exempting individuals experiencing homelessness from the shelter in place order but urging them to find shelter and government agencies to provide it; directing all businesses and governmental agencies to cease non-essential operations at physical locations in the county; prohibiting all non-essential gatherings of any number of individuals; and ordering cessation of all non-essential travel.

This Order will become effective at midnight tonight (12:01 a.m., March 17, 2020) and will continue to be in effect until midnight on April 7, 2020.

Please read the Order carefully. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. (California Health and Safety Code § 120295, et seq.).

The full text of the Order can be found here: https://cchealth.org/coronavirus/pdf/HO-COVID19-SIP-0316-2020.pdf

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To the businesses and residents of Lamorinda:

Post date: 3/16/2020

The physical office of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce will remain closed until further notice.  Our staff is still here to help you, just virtually.  You can reach us by calling (925) 284-7404 or by sending us an email at info@lafayettechamber.org.  We’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

COVID-19 is not just a local or business problem.  This is a national problem, a world problem.  Follow the guidelines and policies.  They have been enacted to SAVE LIVES. The best way you can help our community and our businesses is to stay healthy, watch out for your neighbor, and follow social distance recommendations.  Let’s DO this.  Be the model.

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Mayor Issues Emergency Proclamation, Lafayette City Offices Closed to Public

Post Date:03/15/2020 9:12 PM

To address the quickly evolving COVID-19 threat, Lafayette Mayor Mike Anderson today proclamation a local emergency in the City of Lafayette, effective immediately. (Read the Mayor’s full Emergency Proclamation here: http://bit.ly/LafayetteEmegencyProclamation03-15-20.)

As a result of the Mayor’s Emergency Proclamation, City Manager Niroop Srivatsa directed that City Offices be closed to the public through the end of March 2020 to protect residents and city staff from possible exposure to the virus.

The Mayor’s Emergency Proclamation comes following declarations of emergency from California Governor Gavin Newsom and the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

Today, Governor Newsom issued new directives to slow the spread of COVID-19 in California, including:

  • Home isolation for everyone over 65 or with chronic illnesses;
  • Closing all bars, nightclubs, wineries, and brewpubs Statewide;
  • Keeping restaurants open but reducing occupancy by half to facilitate social distancing;
  • Moving homeless people from encampments to hotels and motels; and
  • For nursing homes, no visitors will be allowed except in end-of-life situations.

Please visit Lafayette’s COVID-19 Webpage for the latest updates: http://bit.ly/LafayetteCoronavirusInfo

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A timely message from your Chamber of Commerce

[View as PDF]

Jay Lifson, Executive Director
March 13, 2020

Containment and management of the virus will come with great sacrifice and economic hardship. The Chamber supports our local businesses, and we have never needed to support them more than we do now.  Small business is Lafayette.  These are hardworking people that have created the kind of town we want to live and work in. So how can we support the local merchants and services without exposing ourselves or others to the threat of contracting the virus?

  • Start by calling your local favorite businesses. Ask them what you can do to support them at this time. Some businesses are now offering private shopping experiences, curbside pickups and/or free delivery to local addresses.
  • Continue using common sense while you practice “social distancing.” Dine a little early or late. Consider take-out from your favorite restaurants – many will deliver them to your car when you pull up.
  • Go to the grocery store during off hours.
  • If a local store has online shopping or offers delivery, use it.
  • If you are not part of the “most vulnerable” group that experts tell to stay home, show kindness and shop for a neighbor.
  • Purchase gift certificates now and treat yourself later!

Small business owners are our friends.  They donate to our schools and community organizations.  They employ our kids.  They help generate nearly 30% of the General Funds that pay for our police, public works and many of the things that give you reason to live here.  Our support is crucial for their survival. Many small businesses cannot afford a month or two of reduced income. They will surely make decisions to help their bottom line that will not be easy.  But if you can find a way to help them now, the recovery will be that much easier.

We all know how easy it is to shop on Amazon. However, investing in our community has never been more important.  Not only do businesses need to find creative ways to connect with you during this phase, they also need to provide a safe environment for you and their employees.  They need to be flexible with sick leave and show compassion to their employees, many of whom do not have health benefits.

If you are a property owner, consider giving your tenants a little more time to pay rent.

As the recession began back in 2008, the Chamber launched the “TRY LAFAYETTE FIRST” campaign.  We asked residents to take a pledge that they would shop here in Lafayette before going elsewhere.  During that time, Lafayette experienced the lowest unemployment rate in the State of California.  The loss of business and sales tax revenue barely made it into double digits.  Our residents got it!  They understood why shopping local was so important for all of us.  We now stand at the gate of the unknown.  We have never faced this kind of assault on our health and the strength of our community. We need everyone to once again look out for one another.

We encourage you to come up with ideas and suggestions to keep us safe and to keep our business community healthy.

Here are some links that could help us all:

The Lafayette Chamber will be open for business just not physically. Our staff will begin rotating shifts working from home.  There will typically be someone in the office to answer your calls and questions during regular hours. We will work in that capacity until it is safe to change.
(925) 284-7404   info@lafayettechamber.org

We have a responsibility to you and the community.  We take that responsibility very seriously.

And one more time, the basics

  • Stay Calm and do what is necessary to protect you and the community
  • Wash your hands
  • Cover your face when you cough or sneeze
  • If you are sick or have symptoms – STAY HOME

Let’s do this together!

Sincerely,

Jay Lifson
Executive Director, Lafayette Chamber of Commerce

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Events through the Lafayette Chamber

[Update 3/11/2020, REV 3/16/2020]
The Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, like most organizations that put on events, is taking a measured response to the threat of COVID-19 as it relates to gatherings of people.  We are watching this outbreak closely and are evaluating protocol on a day to day basis.  Public Health Officials are offering guidance intended to slow the spread of the virus.

Contra Costa Health Services has recommended that canceling or postponing all mass gatherings with 50 people or more.

We along with the CCHS understand these recommendations will impact all of our lives and may be difficult to implement, but we are following their guidelines as best we can at this time.

Here is what the CCHS has recommended:

Cancel Large Community Events

  • Cancel or postpone large gatherings such as concerts, sporting events, celebrations, conventions, religious services and community events where 50 or more people are within arm’s length of each other.
  • Cancel or postpone events for or attended by older adults or others who are at higher risk for severe illness.
  • If a large event does take place, organizers should follow California Department of Public Health.

Please note that we have postponed the Citizen of the Year Dinner until July 10. Janet and Rick Cronk understand and have graciously agreed to the new date.

In-person gatherings through the end of March have been cancelled. Please refer to our Chamber Calendar for further updates.

Thank you for your understanding!  We will update this information as it is sure to change from day to day.

Respectfully,
Jay Lifson, Executive director

 

 

[Updated 3/10/2020]
Please refer to the attached information provided by Contra Costa Health Services:
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Interim Guidance for Social Distancing:
Public Health Recommendations for COVID-19 – March 10, 2020

 

 

[Updated 3/5/2020 2:45pm]
Resources:
US Chamber Workplace Tips for Employees (PDF)
US Chamber Guidance for Employers (PDF)

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The new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-19-2) has not been seen by scientists before according to Yale Medicine.  So there are many key questions they can not answer without more investigation, starting with how it is transmitted between people. But with thousands of cases identified and the spreading from China to other countries, the CDC came out yesterday, 2/25/2020, to say that, like emergencies, it is not IF the virus will hit, but rather WHEN.

We know this is already – it is causing the stock market to plunge – but what could this mean for our downtowns and local businesses?

  1. For now, this year’s flu presents a greater danger to us than this new illness.
  2. The virus is contagious, even before symptoms appear. The exact mechanism for transmission is still unclear. Data is needed to understand which body fluids contain the virus and how those may contaminate surfaces and even the surrounding air. The virus is contagious during the incubation period which can last from 5-14 days after exposure. Person-to-person contact in the U.S. has been confirmed, but it has not spread through a community yet. Close contact where droplets spread from coughing or sneezing seems to be the most common way the virus spreads.
  3. If you feel ill, here’s what you should expect:
    • Fever of over 100.4 F
    • Cough
    • Sore throat in some people
    • Difficulty breathing that can be severe enough to cause people to seek hospital care.
  4. What you can do to protect yourself:
    • There is no vaccine and the flu vaccine will not protect you. However, getting a vaccine for the flu is good idea.
    • Take care of yourself. Wash your hands, especially after eating, going to the bathroom and touching your face.  Avoid other people who have flu-like symptoms.
    • There is little evidence that supports using masks, but it can’t hurt. Because they don’t seal around your mouth, much of the air you inhale remains unfiltered.
  5. Precautions remain extremely important:
    • There is an exponential growth in infections worldwide and rate is expected to climb.
    • Caution should be taken since there is so little known about this virus.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, THERE IS GOING TO BE A LOT OF INFORMATION OUT THERE.  MAKE SURE YOU CAN TRUST THE SOURCES YOU ARE GETTING THE INFORMATION FROM.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/
National Institutes of Health (NIH): https://www.nih.gov/
California Department of Public Health:  https://www.cdph.ca.gov/
Contra Costa Health Services: https://cchealth.org/coronavirus/

Plans are in place for a pandemic.  Lafayette and Lamorinda have planned for such an emergency.  You can always contact Jeff Heyman, Communications Analyst for the City of Lafayette, at jheyman@ci.lafayette.ca.us for additional information. Or visit www.LoveLafayette.org/connect.

Just like in China, the possibilities of businesses shutting down and unemployment rising are a concern for us too. According to a Peking University survey of small businesses and firms, respondents said they would go out of business if the outbreak lasts three months.  By the six month, 90% of the companies would collapse.

The advice I have read suggests, STAY CALM and prepare!