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COVID-19 Business/Employee Guidance and Resources

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Businesses and their employees are important parts of the fabric of our Santa Barbara community and we need your cooperation and partnership to get through this public health emergency. 

COVID-19 Business Advisory Task Force

Mayor Murillo formed this ad hoc Task Force to collaborate on input and recommendations for restarting the economy and local business sector. For more information click here: Business Advisory Task Force

Guidance for Businesses, Employees and the Public

Immediate Steps and Resources

Tips for Businesses/Employees

  1. Check your Business Insurance: Do you have business interruption coverage? If so, you may have coverage that supplements any income or sales loss during this time.
  2. Apply For Unemployment: If you have lost hours or wages due to the impact of COVID-19, we encourage you to file for unemployment benefits. The CARES Act increases the premium over the usual rates of unemployment insurance and extends the length of unemployment benefit terms. The Act provides an additional $600 increase over an applicant’s approved weekly benefit through July 31, 2020. Additionally, unemployment benefits have been extended for a period of 39 weeks. Apply here.
  3. Track Losses:During moments of disruption it is important to track any loss your business may have incurred as programs designed to assist cash flow needs and access to capital depend on accurate counts of economic injury or production loss.
  4. No-Cost Business Consulting Is Available: For businesses that have experienced economic disruption and impacts Economic Development Collaborative Small Business Development Center (EDC SBDC) Advisors can assist during this time. Please call ourBusiness Resource Hotline at 805.409.9159 to connect with an advisor.

The Economic Development Collaborative has produced a comprehensive business resource guide which can be accessed on their website here.

State of California Employee/Business Support and Resources

CA State GO-Biz Programs
Main Street Small Business Tax Credit

Senate Bill 1447 was enacted on September 9, 2020, and allows a small business hiring credit against California state income taxes or sales and use taxes to certain California qualified small business employers that receive a tentative credit reservation.

On December 1, 2020, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) will begin accepting applications for tentative small business hiring credit reservation amounts through an online reservation system.  Qualified small business employers must apply with the CDTFA for a credit reservation. The credit reservations will be allocated to qualified small business employers on a first-come, first-served basis. The reservation system will be available from December 1, 2020 at 8:00 a.m., through January 15, 2021. Within 30 days of receiving an application, CDTFA will notify each applicant via email whether a tentative credit reservation has been allocated to them and the amount of the tentative credit reservation.

Please note, this credit only applies to California small businesses that meet the following qualifications:

  • Employed 100 or fewer employees as of December 31, 2019, and
  • Suffered a 50 percent decrease or more in income tax gross receipts (generally, all income less returns and allowances), when comparing second quarter 2020 to second quarter 2019.

Sign up here

Small Business Relief Grant

Governor Newsom and the Legislature announced a package of assistance for small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including $500 million in grants. While the program is being created, please sign up here to receive an update when launched. Additional assistance announced: tax relief (click here); and recovery loans through the California Rebuilding Fund.

Information on Financial Assistance 

On November 30, 2020, the State provided access to relief fund applications for businesses. The following website offers current information and guidance for businesses to apply for these funds.

Available information on this site includes:

  • Tax relief, including deferrals and credits 
  • Providing capital to the California Rebuilding Fund to support small business loans 
  • $50 million in funding for the Small Business Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program and the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program to provide loans to underserved small businesses
  • Small Business Debt Relief for existing Small Business Administration (SBA) borrowers
  • State-supported small business centers that provide direct assistance from a local advisor
  • Authorization for local governments to halt evictions for commercial renters

As a note, these funding opportunities are different from the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”).  If you did not receive money from PPP, there are now other funding opportunities for your business.

Federal Business Support and Resources

Provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)  

Commercial Temporary Eviction Moratorium to End December 31, 2020

On November 17, 2020, the Santa Barbara City Council amended the City's Commercial TEMO to terminate the program on December 31, 2020.  Repayment of deferred rent is required to begin on January 1, 2021, unless other arrangements have been made between landlord and tenant.

A copy of Ordinance No. 5976 is available for download HERE.

Alcohol Sales at Restaurants and Food Retailers

Retaurants and retailers with preexisting alcohol licenses can sell alcoholic beverages for off-site consumption via delivery and take-out temporarily, under the City's eighth revised executive order following guidance from the State Alcoholic Beverage Control's Notice of Regulatory Relief. This order will be in place through April 30.

Essential and Non-Essential Businesses

Only essential businesses are permitted to stay open while the State’s Order is in effect. 

  • For a comprehensive listing of which businesses are considered essential and which are non-essential, please refer to the State of California’s website (available here) that includes a list of Frequently Asked Questions for Businesses. 

For businesses who may have questions related to their operations can email

Info for Essential Businesses

Preventing the spread of COVID

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, all essential businesses are required to do the following: 

  • Practice social distancing by requiring everyone in the establishment to be separated by six (6) feet, whenever possible.  
  • Provide access to handwashing facilities with soap and water or hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 
  •  Post a sign in a visible place at the entrance instructing the public to not enter if they have symptoms of respiratory illness, including fever or cough.  
  • Adhere to communicable disease control recommendations provided by the California Department of Public Health. 

Telework Resources

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, many offices are working from home in order to physically distance ourselves. The new work arrangement can be a challenging disruption to our normal routines.

Looking for resources to build or improve your organization's telework program?

Local Business Organizations and Assistance Programs

Santa Barbara is fortunate to have a variety of Business Organizations who have additional business assistance and support that may be available. Please reference the following link to their websites.

State of California

Santa Barbara Score

Women’s Economic Ventures

Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce

California State Treasurer

Economic Development Collaborative

Stay informed on what’s happening in Santa Barbara

Businesses can provide an email to be included in any business related notices that the City may issue here.

If you are interested in connecting with the City of Santa Barbara on your preferred social networking and media sites for specific City agencies these are the official social media accounts for the City here.

Last Updated: Dec 18, 2020
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