Support for Small Businesses

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Executive Order 

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring all Californian's to stay at home. The order is in place until further notice. The State provides more information about the executive order on its corona virus response website.

Effect on Businesses

To enable residents access to essential services, gas stations, pharmacies, banks, laundromats/laundry services, grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, and take-out and delivery restaurants are permitted to remain open. The order exempts activity necessary for maintaining "the continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors", such as essential government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction.

Many business owners and employees were uncertain if they were exempted under the order. The State provided more detailed information to assist those businesses and employees trying to determine if the stay-at-home order applies to them.

The Orange County Health Department website provides the following list of Essential Businesses and Services that can remain open:

  • City/County government services: police stations, fire stations, hospitals/clinics and healthcare operations, jails, courts, garbage/sanitation, OCTA buses (use of public transportation is limited to essential required travel only), utilities (water, power and gas), and city offices
  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Food: Grocery stores, certified farmers' markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
  • Hardware stores/plumbers/electricians and those who provide services necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences
  • Banks
  • Community benefit organizations on a case-by-case basis
  • Laundromats/laundry services
  • Cemeteries
  • Health care providers (dentist, veterinary)
  • Waste management

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State and Federal Resources for Businesses

Resources are available to help small businesses financially impacted by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act 

The CARES Act, was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The act provides assistance to small businesses through emergency grants, forgivable loans and relief for existing loans. A summary of the Act’s small business provisions, which are being carried out by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), is provided below. The SBA also put together The Small Business Owners’ Guide to the CARES Act.

  • Paycheck Protection Program - Eligible businesses and organizations may qualify for a loan up to $10 million determined by eight weeks of prior average payroll plus an additional 25% of that amount. Loan payments will be deferred for six months.If you maintain your workforce, SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll and certain other expenses following loan origination. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has compiled the Coronavirus Emergency Loan Guide and Checklist featuring more information on the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance - This program provides working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue. Small businesses are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.
  • SBA Debt Relief - This  program will provide a reprieve to small businesses as they overcome the challenges created by this health crisis. Under this program:
    • SBA will pay the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months.
    • SBA will pay the principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020. 

SBA Capital Loans - SBA works with lenders to provide loans to small businesses. The agency doesn’t lend money directly to small business owners but sets guidelines for loans made by its partnering lenders, community development organizations that makes it easier for small businesses to get loans. Loans guaranteed by the SBA range from small to large and can be used for most business purposes, including long-term fixed assets and operating capital.  For more information, please visit sba.gov/funding-programs/loans.

CA Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBANK)

IBANK's Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program is currently available to small businesses needing assistance to overcome economic injury caused by COVID-19. Financial Development Corporation (FDC) partners throughout the State are assisting businesses in securing a 95% guarantee on bank loans of up to $1 million.

For additional information on the Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program, visit ibank.ca.gov/small-business-finance-center/.

Reduced Work Hours

Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Work Sharing Program. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs. Please visit the EDD's Work Sharing Program webpage to learn more about its benefits for employers and employees, and how to apply.

Tax Assistance

On April 2, Governor Newsom announced that small businesses can defer their sales/use tax of up to $50,000. The reprieve on sales/use tax would serve as a 12-month bridge loan, with no interest or penalties. Eligible businesses must have less than $5 million in taxable sales.  Learn more here.

On March 30, Governor Newsom signed an executive order that will provide tax, regulatory and licensing extensions for businesses. The executive order allows the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) to offer a 90-day extension for tax returns and tax payments for all businesses filing a return for less than $1 million in taxes. Small businesses will have until the end of July to file their first-quarter returns. Additionally, the order extends the statute of limitations to file a claim for refund by 60 days to accommodate tax and fee payers. Learn more here.

Other Important Tax Information:

  • State and federal tax filing deadlines have been extended. The State Franchise Tax Board announced that tax file and pay deadlines have been extended to July 15, 2020.  The IRS and Treasury Department also extended the deadlines for federal tax filing and payments to July 15, 2020.
  • Employers experiencing a hardship may request up to a 60-day extension from the Employment Development Department to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. For more information, please call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center:
  • Toll-free from the U.S. or Canada: 1-888-745-3886
  • Hearing impaired (TTY): 1-800-547-9565
  • Outside the U.S. or Canada: 1-916-464-3502

More State Resources to Help Small Business

  • The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development has complied helpful information for employers, employees and businesses in regards to COVID-19 on their business.ca.gov/coronavirus-2019/ webpage.
  • California’s network of small business support centers can help businesses determine which loans are best for them, develop resiliency strategies, and find other resources. Click here for more information.
  • If you would like to talk to a specialist in GO-Biz’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, please contact the team.
  • The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is offering free webinars to help small businesses with navigate the changing legislation and loan information related to COVID-19. Webinars will be held daily at 3 p.m. Register here. SBDC is also taking calls at 1-800-616-7232 on all issues related to COVID-19 loans including Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the upcoming Payroll Protection loans (PPP) from the CARES act.

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Local Resources

Orange County Economic & Business Recovery Call Center

Orange County Community Services has implemented a call center to meet the needs of businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The call center offers information and resources to help Orange County businesses navigate the current economic climate. These resources will support businesses with challenges such as lay-off aversion, loans, utility reduction programs, and community resources mapping.  Businesses can call the Economic & Business Recovery Call Center at (714) 480-6500, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.occommunityservices.org.

SCORE Orange County

SCORE Orange County offers no-cost personal mentoring at 23 locations throughout Orange County and provides free and low-cost workshops and webinars on a variety of business topics. Visit www.orangecounty.score.org or call 714-550-7369 for more information.