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This is the fiftieth COVID-19 update from San Jose Downtown Association, dating back to March 12. They are usually sent on Thursdays.
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PURPLE TIER (Jan. 25 order updated Feb. 8)

Dear members:
 
These are tough times in every way. Here at the San Jose Downtown Association we are working diligently to provide support to our members and vital information for customers and workers to safely return downtown.

As cases drop, and vaccination is on the horizon, it is more important than ever to remain vigilant about taking care of ourselves and staying safe. Making sure that we are doing everything we can to support the recovery of our community, and the return to the activities we love and miss.  

Safety has been top of mind for everyone, and is one of the highest priorities of the Downtown Association. We invite you to join our conversation and Downtown Safety Report with law enforcement leadership at the SJDA Public Board Meeting this Friday morning, Feb. 12.  See the article below for more detail and information on how to register.  

This morning - Mayor’s Small Business Resource press conference
Mayor Sam Liccardo held a virtual press conference this morning to urge small businesses to file insurance claims for potential losses caused by the mandated pandemic closures that began with Gov. Newsom's shutdown order last March.  With a statute of limitations deadline approaching, it is important businesses make the claim with their insurance carriers to reserve standing for a potential settlement as the issue winds through the court system.  Attorney Paul Caputo of Caputo & Van der Walde, LLP, said that small businesses with basic insurance policies should file a claim for business interruption as a result of the pandemic (not the coronavirus).  Claims need to be filed by March 16.  That portion of the press conference -- MUST-SEE VIEWING -- begins at about the 8-minute mark.
 
Other speakers included Scott Knies, Executive Director of SJDA, Rodney Baca, chef and owner of The Shop and creator of the Chef’s Market, and Johanna Desjardins of Pure Bliss Float Center and Day Spa.  The conference ended with brief Q&A with media.

The conference is viewable on the Mayor’s Facebook and SJDA’s Facebook

Public Board Meeting of the San Jose Downtown Association – Friday, Feb. 12, 8:15 a.m.
Given the uptick in crime over the course of the pandemic, including a robbery on South Second Street last week in the middle of the afternoon, the agenda for Friday's Public Meeting has been amended to include a Downtown Safety Report from San Jose Police Department leadership. 
 
The agenda still includes an update on the Property Based Improvement District (PBID) renewal process and an "exit interview" with Deputy City Manager Kim Walesh who is leaving the city at the end of March after 18 years of service.
 
Register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Reminder:  Groundwerx is available to provide safety escorts
Groundwerx Ambassadors are easy to spot in bright green shirts. They help folks with directions, a walk to the car and report unusual events. For assistance to and from your home, office or car in the downtown core, just call (408) 287-1520.  Hours are 6 a.m.-8:30 p.m.  Starting Feb. 18, hours extended until 10 p.m.

Al fresco dining returns, warm weather days – pay attention to details
As restaurants return to serving customers outdoors, it’s important that everyone working in the food industry pay attention to state and county industry guidelines during the pandemic.

Please take the time to read them again and then follow them to the letter.  Non-compliance leaves you susceptible to fines and closures, not to mention increasing health risks.  We want to keep our Al Fresco dining open at least through June 30, when a recent extension is set to expire.

For all businesses, here are the current operating requirements

County compliance inspectors are out visiting businesses to make sure they all have a Revised Social Distancing Protocol dated after Oct. 11, 2020, and are following the rules. In addition to maintaining a 6-foot distance, and masks for employees and customers, businesses must post capacity limitation signs and make sure the number of customers and workers on site is never more than allowed. All workers that can telework must continue to do so, and indoor break rooms are closed in most cases. Businesses must alert the Public Health Department if workers test positive for COVID-19, and require workers to tell their employers if they were at work while sick.

Valentine’s weekend is shaping up
To bring in more customers and to boost the energy on the street, the City of San Jose and SJDA are working together to bring some pizzazz to Valentine’s weekend, made one day longer with the President’s Day holiday. Make a reservation today at one of the many restaurants offering specials or grab a one of a kind gift or treat for someone sweet.  Find out more by visiting our special Valentine’s Day page.

As an added delight to your special downtown excursion, from Thursday through Monday, the Paseo de San Antonio between Market and Second Street will be decorated with hearts and red lights.  Just as they were for Christmas and New Year’s several downtown buildings and the Circle of Palms will be aglow with lights. Valentine’s projections will bring the Fairmont Annex to life.  A lighted garden-sized arch for selfies will be located on the Fairmont Hotel side of the paseo, and those who share their photos on social media will be eligible for gift cards from downtown restaurants to be used later in the year.  Stay tuned on our Facebook and Instagram for updates on this. Also, a few musical buskers are scheduled to be on the streets to help set the mood.  

(Note:  Plans are in the works to similarly go big and green for St. Patrick’s Day).

If your business has any last-minute Valentine's Day deals, please email Jessica at jvuong@sjdowntown.com to get your offer listed on our webpage.

Sign Ordinance Update Phase II: Billboards and Off-Site Advertising on Private Property
The City of San Jose is asking the public to respond to a short online survey about allowing electronic signage on privately owned buildings downtown, privately-owned freeway-facing property and the public right of way downtown (wayfinding kiosks, newspaper racks, public toilets, etc). The survey takes approximately 5-7 minutes to complete and your responses will remain anonymous.

This digital billboard survey is available through March 12, 5 p.m. here:  EnglishSpanishVietnamese

Results of the survey will post to this webpage.

The proposed project would amend the City's sign ordinance, allowing:
  1. Free-standing digital billboard structures on freeway-facing non-City-owned sites in exchange for removal of static billboards, at a possible ratio of four static billboards removed for one new digital billboard.
  2. Building-mounted signs displaying off-site commercial content on certain non-City owned sites within the Downtown Sign Intensification Zone;
  3. Exploration of signage on public right-of-way to allow off-site commercial advertising along public amenities, street furniture, and transit facilities; and
  4. Evaluation of illumination parameters for illuminated and programmable signs.

This ordinance would be amended for citywide use.  SJDA is hoping for a big response from downtown businesses. Thanks.

Santa Clara County vaccination update
As of Feb. 4, any Santa Clara County resident age 65 or older can receive their free COVID-19 vaccine from the County Health System, regardless of their healthcare provider or insurance. Residents age 65 and over are encouraged to make their free vaccine appointment at sccfreevax.org or by calling Valley Connections at 408-970-2000.

Levi’s Stadium opened Tuesday to handle COVID vaccinations, starting at 5,000 a day and moving up to 15,000 a day as vaccine distributions allow.   

Eighty-one percent of COVID-19 related deaths in Santa Clara County have occurred among individuals age 65 or older. “Given limited supply of vaccines and the continuing high rates of  COVID-19, we must prioritize vaccinating those at greatest risk of death or serious illness,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Public Health Director for the County of Santa Clara.  “We are anxious to vaccinate a much broader segment of the population and are ready to do so as soon as vaccine supplies allow.” The County has released a dashboard to track the progress of vaccination of our community. In addition to overall progress, the dashboard includes information by race/ethnicity, gender, and age. As of today, 12.6% of County residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Of residents age 65 and over, 36.1% have received at least one dose.

County COVID Testing Locations
The community testing program operated by Santa Clara Valley Medical Center continues to offer extensive drop-in and appointment-based COVID-19 testing at several locations across the county.  Residents can book an appointment for the Fairgrounds or the various rotating city sites in Vietnamese, Chinese, Spanish, or English. Visit www.sccfreetest.org to search for an available site by City or Date, or to see the complete list of available County testing sites.

Webinar:  Free Advice for Small Businesses
Thursday, Feb. 11 |  3:30pm | Free  |  Register
San Jose's small businesses can get free help with loan or grant applications, as well as legal, bookkeeping and operations advice. Other topics include one-on-one advice, workshops, loan applications, contracting and international trade.

For start-ups and established firms, assistance from SCORE, Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center, AnewAmerica, and Minority Business Development Agency can help you figure out how to navigate the pandemic. 

Paycheck Protection Program – last day to get approved is March 31
A second round of Paycheck Protection Program funding is now available to small businesses, and the last day to get approved for a PPP loan is March 31. 

This play book summarizes best practices, resources, and learnings from organizing 200+ PPP outreach events at the Small Business Administration. 

Grant funding for arts and cultural organizations -- due Feb. 19
The Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) has released a new grants program for arts and culture organizations that can help them advance a long-term strategy to achieve systemic change in Silicon Valley. The Arts and Culture Community Action Grant is due Feb. 19.

Feb. 22:  State of the County address
Mike Wasserman, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, will give the virtual State of the County Address on Feb. 22, 2-2:30pm. He will share the state of Santa Clara County today and what’s ahead in 2021. The State of the County will be livestreamed on the County’s SCCgov chambers YouTube channel and available to watch any time after Feb. 22.

COVID-19 Links
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Let us know how else we can help by replying to this email. We’ll have another message next Thursday. We're in this together.
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