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This is the 31st Weekly Message to Businesses from San Jose Downtown Association since the end of the COVID-19 "tier" system June 15.
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To our members: 

Many of the Downtown and Silicon Valley in the News articles we post at the bottom of each Weekly Message reach us through Google Alerts.  It is a terrific free service, and you can set up  Google Alerts to send you media about your business.

Every once in a while, Google Alerts finds something we wouldn’t have found any other way. Case in point this week:  a blog post from the SJSU Newsroom that is a Q&A with Chris Burrill, executive managing director of the Hammer Theatre Center.  You can read the full interview here, but we want to call out the final Q and Chris’ A.

“What main message would you like to share about the Hammer Theatre in 2022?”

“CB:  Every year, the San Jose Downtown Association, which is a consortium of businesses and a [nonprofit] service organization, has their annual meeting at the Hammer. We hosted them last month, and I think everyone should know that the business community and the people who live downtown all collectively said in different ways how thrilled they are that SJSU has students back on campus. Downtown felt empty until the students, faculty and staff returned and started showing their happy faces. This proves how important the university really is to this community.”

We agree and look forward to welcoming students back from semester break later this month.  

Enjoy your week – stay safe and happy new year.  

In Today's Message
City Updates

City Hall services switch due to omicron variant outbreak
The Jan. 11 City Council meeting will be conducted virtually. The virtual meeting will start at 1:30 p.m. Councilmembers and presenters will teleconference from remote locations. The public can watch the meeting on the City’s YouTube Channel. To make public comment during the meeting, email councilmeeting@sanjoseca.gov. Additional instructions for public comment are posted in the meeting agenda.

City Hall permit center, cashier services and Code Enforcement Fourth Floor window services   switch to virtual appointments only, through Jan. 28.  Visit www.sanjoseca.gov/PermitCenter and www.sanjoseca.gov/CodeEnforcement.

No changes to libraries and community centers.

San Jose minimum wage increases to $16.20 per hour
Voters approved the Minimum Wage Ordinance on Nov. 6, 2012. The ordinance set an hourly rate of pay that employers must pay their workers for work performed within the City.

The rate has increased from $10.30 in 2016.  In 2021, the rate was $15.45 per hour.

According to the Mercury News: “Local cities where the minimum wage will exceed the $16 per hour threshold include Palo Alto at $16.45, Los Altos and Santa Clara at $16.40, El Cerrito at $16.37, and San Jose, Redwood City and San Mateo, all at $16.20.

The state minimum is $15 per hour.  In 2022, Oakland will be $15.06, Daly City at $15.53, East Palo Alto at $15.60, Half Moon Bay at $15.56, Menlo Park at $15.75, and San Carlos at $15.77.

ADA accessibility help for businesses
The City of San Jose is offering reimbursement to small businesses and non-residential property owners to make their property more accessible for those with disabilities. The City has allocated $40,000 for the program to provide grants of up to $8,000 in credit for qualifying small businesses and non-residential property owners.

When applying for a building permit to make the physical changes to their property, an owner may apply for the grant, which can reimburse the costs of a Certified Accessibility Specialist (CASp) inspection and a CASp report and can help cover the costs of the City permit and inspection fees. For more details, please read our blogpost. For more information and help applying for the grant, contact Xuan Ha, City of San Jose Small Business Ally, at 408-535-3555.

Financial Opportunities

State offers two new grant and tax credit programs for small businesses

Starting this month, California Competes offers two opportunities for San Jose businesses – the California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) and the California Competes Grant Program (CCGP).

Business owners can apply during two application periods, Jan 3-24 and March 7-28.   There are no restrictions on the size, type of business or location that can apply. More information on evaluation criteria are in the Frequently Asked Questions.

  • The California Competes Tax Credit offers a credit against the State income tax. With $180 million available, the minimum credit request is $20,000 and no more than 20% of the total available ($78.9 million) may go to a singular applicant.  
  • The California Competes Grant Program - The grant request can range between $5 million and $36 million. It has a $120 million one-time fund available for grants to businesses of any size that meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • Will create at least 500 new full-time jobs in California
    • Will make capital investments of at least $10 million
    • The jobs and/or investment will take place in an area of high unemployment and/or poverty as defined in the California Competes Tax Credit regulations

For details, see the Cal Competes website. Apply online. Questions? Call (916) 322-4051, or email calcompetes@gobiz.ca.gov. Explanations in other languages are here.

COVID Updates

Mask mandate extended to Feb. 15
Spread of the COVID omicron variant prompted state health officials to extend the indoor mask requirement for everyone, boosted or not, until Feb. 15.
Mercury News coverage
CBS 5 Coverage

​​Recommendations from Santa Clara County’s Health Officer
The Health Officer urges all businesses and governmental entities and individuals to follow these recommendations:

  1. All eligible persons are strongly urged to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 as soon as possible.
  2. Unless everyone is wearing face masks at all times for the duration of the gathering, individuals should not gather indoors in groups of more than 10 people from outside their household. 
  3. Businesses and governmental entities should immediately implement mandatory vaccination requirements for all personnel that require Up-to-Date vaccination as quickly as possible, subject only to the limited exemptions required by law. 
  4. Businesses and governmental entities should move operations and activities outdoors where possible, where there is significantly less risk of COVID-19 transmission.  Where this is not possible, ventilation should be maximized.
  5. Businesses and governmental entities should prohibit all personnel who are not Up-to-Date with their vaccination from engaging in any work-related travel to places with rates of COVID-19 higher than the Bay Area region or where community vaccination rates are below the average in the Bay Area region.
  6. Businesses and governmental entities should require all personnel not Up-to-Date with their vaccination to obtain frequent testing for COVID-19 consistent with current local, state, and federal recommendations.  Any person, vaccinated or unvaccinated, who has any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should get tested immediately.
  7. Businesses that serve the public, especially those with activities that require patrons to remove their face mask to engage in the business (e.g., restaurants and bars), should require their patrons to be Up-to-Date on their vaccination and show proof of Up-to-Date vaccination prior to entry.

CDC update
The Centers for Disease Control has been in the News of late.  Updates include:

Jan. 4:  CDC recommends Pfizer Booster at five months: “CDC is updating its recommendation for when many people can receive a booster shot, shortening the interval from 6 months to 5 months for people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.  This means that people can now receive an mRNA booster shot 5 months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.  The booster interval recommendation for people who received the J&J vaccine (2 months) or the Moderna vaccine (6 months), has not changed.

“Additionally, consistent with our prior recommendation for adults, CDC recommends that moderately or severely immunocompromised 5–11-year-olds receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second shot. At this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for children aged 5-11.”

Dec. 27:  CDC shortens recommended isolation and quarantine period:  “Given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation for the public. People with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.”

The state follows the CDC guidelines.  This California “When to isolate or quarantine page is helpful.

Mercury News coverage

The Tech Interactive hosts vaccinations Jan. 9
201 S. Market St.
Sunday, Jan. 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

No Appointment Necessary for COVID-19 Vaccinations: The vaccine clinic locations listed below do not require advance appointments, however, capacity and wait times may vary. Vaccines are free, and no insurance or proof of immigration status is required. Anyone age five or older is eligible. Staff will be onsite to support language needs and disability access. Individuals seeking vaccination are encouraged to arrive at least one hour before closing time. Check www.sccfreevax.org

Children’s Discovery Museum hosts vaccinations Jan. 23
Children's Discovery Museum, 180 Woz Way
Sunday, Jan. 23, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Children’s Discovery Museum has teamed up with Santa Clara County Public Health Department to support local families with creative vaccination clinics for young children at the beloved institution in downtown San Jose. Every family whose child or adult is vaccinated will receive a family pass (FREE MUSEUM VAXPASS) for a free museum visit. Families can use the pass the day of their vaccination or return within six months of the clinic date. At least two more clinics will be scheduled at the museum.

The cost of outreach and lost revenue from closing the museum for the clinics will be covered by funding from Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The Health Trust, San Jose Councilmember Raul Peralez’s office, Anthem Blue Cross, and Santa Clara Family Health Plan. Viva Calle of the San Jose Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services will provide outdoor activities to entertain children before and after their vaccination.

The clinics are open to all eligible people age 5 and up for first and second doses and booster shots for eligible people age 18 and up (six months after a second Pfizer and Moderna vaccination and two months after a J&J shot).  Special outreach is underway to target Medi-Cal recipients whom have a lower vaccination rate than the rest of the population. Presently, only 63% of Santa Clara Family Health Plan Med-Cal members age 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

Recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that nearly a third of surveyed parents nationwide (32%) say they want to “wait and see” how the vaccine works for other children first. Another 29% say they will definitely not get their child vaccinated. The state of California will mandate that all schoolchildren be vaccinated once final FDA approval for the vaccine has been secured, creating urgency to get as many children vaccinated as possible in order to avoid learning loss from potential distance learning and to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Events

Downtown Ice - Open through Jan. 9
Downtown Ice has extended its hours until 9:30 p.m. until Jan. 9. One-hour skating sessions occur every 90 minutes. Tickets are sold online.

COVID safety protocols are enforced. You must show proof of vaccination.

Details and tickets are at the Downtown Ice website.

Downtown San Jose and Silicon Valley in the News
Recent media reports involving Downtown San Jose/Silicon Valley. Subscriptions may be necessary to see the article:
COVID-19 Links
Newer Links
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