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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

Business Support and Resources

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

Santa Barbara Moratorium on Evictions - Info for Commercial and Residential Tenants

On March 24, the Santa Barbara City Council adopted Ordinance No. 5941 which allows commercial and residential tenants to defer rent payments when they are unable to pay because of income reductions due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  The Temporary Eviction Moratorium Ordinance (TEMO) became effective immediately.  Tenants must provide written notice of their request for rent deferral within 20 days after the rent is due.  Details on the form of the notice and what it must contain are in the Ordinance and FAQs available below.

We are not permitted to provide legal advice to the public.  City Attorney Ariel Calonne will provide technical assistance to attorneys by telephone at (805) 564-5326.

The adopted text of the TEMO, Ordinance No. 5941, is located HERE.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) in English are located HERE.

Frequently asked questions in Spanish are located 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.  Additionally, the City has produced a listing of the types of businesses that can remain open, those that can operate in a limited capacity and those that should be closed, please see A Reference Guide for Businesses Affected by Local and State Shelter in Place Orders can be found by clicking here.

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


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: Jun 3, 2020
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