This is the fifty-second 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 last updated Feb. 25)

Dear members,

We are about to enter the second year of a global pandemic. As a result of COVID-19, the country and the state of California have both reached tragic milestones in loss of life. 

Although we are seeing hope locally of moving to the less restrictive Red Tier because case rates are declining, and the vaccine is rolling out, we are all feeling the negative mental health impacts.   

Our research uncovered this October 2020 article from the The Mayo Clinic outlining help for coping with the pandemic, and improving our mental health 

The article highlights what many of us are feeling these days -- stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness.  Our worries about our health and livelihood, and the uncertainty of the future.  

But the strength of the article is what we can all do to keep ourselves strong and positive.  Self-care strategies include taking care of your body and mind and making sure to make connections with others, even if it is over a phone, video chat or a socially distant walk. Indeed, we are all in this together!

Read the article. 

While on the subject -- keep a work-life balance
About the same September-October 2020 time frame, The Conference Board surveyed 310 companies.  Results show that we all have to manage our work-life balance.  Working at home has its benefits, but it can also have its drawbacks.

Ask yourself, have the answers to any of the questions in the chart above improved for you in the past five months?  If not, be sure to work each day a little bit more on your personal well-being and the most positive attitude you can.

State relief is on its way -- but when? 
State government announced this week all houses of state government have agreed on a package of immediate actions that will speed needed relief to individuals, families and businesses suffering the most significant economic hardship from the COVID-19 Recession.

The press release from Tuesday starts:
SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a comprehensive package of immediate actions that will speed needed relief to individuals, families and businesses suffering the most significant economic hardship due to COVID-19.

The package, passed by the Legislature this week, builds on the initiatives in the Governor’s January state budget proposal to provide cash relief to lower-income Californians, increase aid to small businesses and provide license renewal fee waivers to businesses impacted by the pandemic. In addition to these measures, today’s action will commit additional resources for critical child care services and fund emergency financial aid for community college students.

“As millions of Californians are struggling to make ends meet amid the devastating impacts of this pandemic, we are taking immediate action in partnership with our legislative leadership to provide families and businesses the relief they need,” said Governor Newsom. “This critical assistance will help keep our communities afloat as the state continues to confront the immense challenges of this moment.”

Below are relevant provisions of the bills signed into law:

  • Immediate Relief for Small Businesses - Provides $2.1 billion – a four-fold increase over the $500 million currently being distributed – for grants up to $25,000 for small businesses impacted by the pandemic, and allocates $50 million of this total for non-profit cultural institutions.
  • Fee Waivers for Heavily Impacted Licensees - Two years of fee relief for roughly 59,000 restaurants and bars licensed through the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control that can range annually from $455 to $1,235. The action also reflects fee relief for more than 600,000 barbering and cosmetology individuals and businesses licensed through the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Unfortunately, we are not sure what the State’s definition of “immediate” is.  So far, none of these statements have links or explain how or when to apply or receive relief.  If they did, we’d be sharing them with you.

Sorry but more patience is necessary.

Here's this week’s press release.
Headed for the Red Tier
We’re also anxiously awaiting the official step up to the next Red Tier.

Meanwhile, the County of Santa Clara will allow additional outdoor activities effective Friday, Feb. 26. Activities authorized under the State order, including some youth and adult sports and performing arts, will be allowed as long as they only occur outdoors where risk of transmission is lower. The revised directives will be posted to the County’s website, Facebook, and Twitter in the next few days. The County would like to remind the community that no activities involving multiple households are risk-free, and urges continued wearing of masks, physical distancing, and getting vaccinated when eligible.

COVID-19 Financial Update
Paycheck Protection Program – New roundup
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. First-come, first-serve basis.
The PPP 2.0 includes two avenues for accessing funds: First Draw Loans and Second Draw Loans:

First Draw Loans

  • Open to organizations that did not receive a PPP loan in 2020, or that did not receive forgiveness by 12/27/20 for a 2020 PPP loan, and either returned or did not accept a portion of that loan
  • Small businesses and nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees are eligible
  • Also: tribes, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors

Second Draw Loans

  • For organizations that received a PPP loan in 2020 and
    • have used or will use the full loan amount for authorized expenses
    • have 300 or fewer employees
    • can show a 25% or more decrease in gross revenue between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020
  • For most borrowers, the maximum Second Draw loan amount is 2.5 times the average monthly payroll costs for either 2019 or 2020.

Both types of loans are forgivable if, within the 8- to 24-week period after the loan is received, the organization:

  • maintains employee and compensation levels
  • spends the funds on payroll (at least 60% of total) and other eligible expenses

Funds from both loan types can be spent on:

  • payroll costs, including benefits
  • mortgage interest, rent, utilities
  • worker protection costs related to COVID-19
  • certain other operations expenses
The new PPP 2.0 includes special set-aside funds (First Draw more than $15 billion; Second Draw, more than $25 billion) for borrowers with 10 or fewer employees
SBA and PPP lenders focus on non-profits and for-profits with 20-fewer employees Feb. 24-March 9
For a two-week period, the Small Business Administration and Paycheck Protection Program lenders will process loan applications ONLY from nonprofits and for-profit businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

Why? To provide more equitable relief by “targeting the PPP to the smallest businesses (and nonprofits!) and those that have been left behind in previous relief efforts,” and to ensure that lenders give smaller employers the attention they need to work their way through the application process.

If you think your nonprofit may be eligible for an initial PPP loan or a second draw loan – and your organization has fewer than 20 employees – NOW is the best time to contact a lender (find eligible lenders) and find out how much relief may be available to you. 

Need help? Get assistance from your local SBA office.

PPP help:

  • PPP process starts here:  The categories of businesses and owners eligible in this period have been expanded to include sole proprietors, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, non-citizen business owners with an ITIN, and business owners with non-fraud felony convictions. Start the process by finding a lender. Check with your bank first. Otherwise, type your zip code in here.
  • PPP 2.0 recording here Julie Clowes, District Director for the San Francisco Office of the Small Business Administration, reviewed the details of the new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP 2.0). Download the slides.
  • One more resource:  Here’s a play book that summarizes best practices, resources, and learnings from organizing 200+ PPP outreach events at the Small Business Administration.

Vaccine Update
Here is a link to the County resource folder for vaccine assets in several languages. This is the Santa Clara Public Health Facebook page and an example of the FB post about the upcoming changes in the vaccine eligibility.  

Beginning Sunday, these workers are eligible for vaccines: 

Food and Agriculture: Workers in groceries, pharmacies, convenience stores, and other retail that sells food and/or beverages; restaurant workers, caterers, and food delivery drivers; and farmers, farm and ranch workers, and agribusiness support services.

Education and Childcare: Workers of public and private childcare establishments (including daycares), pre-K establishments, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.

Emergency Services Workers (who cannot practically work from home): Workers in a variety of public safety, disaster response, security, protective services, and animal control functions listed in the state’s Emergency Services Sector Index.

More information here.

On deck:  starting March 15, healthcare providers may use their clinical judgment to vaccinate individuals age 16-64 who are deemed to be at the very highest risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 as a direct result of one or more of the following severe health conditions:

  • Cancer, current with debilitated or immunocompromised state
  • Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above
  • Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent
  • Down syndrome
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (excludes hypertension)
  • Severe obesity (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%
More information here.

More news

Parking Enforcement Resumes for Posted Restriction Violations
The City’s enforcement of "No Parking" restrictions during posted times and "No Overnight Parking" restrictions will resume March 1. They were temporarily suspended at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parking and Traffic Control Officers will begin enforcing these parking restrictions, including issuing citations to vehicles parked during restricted times. 

We all have enough to do these days.  But there is one more thing …

Dogs can be business owners' best friends:  With the opening of the new SoFA dog park on Feb. 18, we’re becoming even more of a dog-oriented city center.  And businesses in dog neighborhoods often have tasty doggie snacks and water bowls with freshly changed water available for customers.  It’s another opportunity for you to gain new customers.

Please give it some thought.  Also, here’s a blog about the importance of public spaces (like dog parks) during a pandemic.
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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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