This is the 45th 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: 

Downtown seems to be back to pre-pandemic levels after 5 p.m. and on the weekends, but the streets are still quiet during the work week.  Will office workers ever return?  According to Downtown Digest, a publication of the Downtown Development Center, the majority of knowledge workers say that working from home is the new normal.  One study showed that workers who reported to work from home 15 percent of the time before the pandemic, now report to be working from home 60 percent of the time and intend to maintain that life balance for the foreseeable future.  

On the plus side, people who work from home say they are more likely to go out at night and on the weekends, and consider downtown to be the place to go for concerts, sporting events, museums, and performing arts.  The shift in downtown usage patterns around the country seems to be holding true here in San Jose, and we will continue to monitor the situation.  If you have thoughts to share on this or other topics related to downtown San Jose, please drop me, Nanci Williams, Interim Communications Director, a note at

In Today's Message
Groundbreaking at Rotary PlayGarden this Sunday

Seven years after the completion of the Rotary PlayGarden, San Jose’s first all-inclusive playspace, construction begins on its expansion.  The public is invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony this Sunday, from 9 to 10 a.m., which will include remarks from three mayoral hopefuls:  County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, District 6 Councilmember Dev Davis, and District 3 representative Raul Peralez.

The original PlayGarden was a $6 million centennial initiative led by the Rotary Club of San Jose, with an additional $2 million secured through Santa Clara County and the City of San Jose for the Expansion. Construction of the Expansion is managed by the City of San Jose and is scheduled from May to October 2022. The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy actively manages the PlayGarden in partnership with community volunteers and members to support maintenance, programs, and staffing of the play space. To date, over 850,000 have visited the Rotary PlayGarden.
Financial Opportunities

Small Business Grants Earmarked for Rent Relief
If your business owes back rent as the result of the pandemic, you may qualify for a rent relief grant ranging from $5,000 to $15,000.  The program launches on Tuesday, May 3 and closes at 5 p.m. on May 30th.  300 businesses are expected to receive grant money, and a lottery system will be used to select recipients if the number of eligible businesses exceeds the amount of funding for the program.  

  • You must be able to show outstanding commercial-property rent debt incurred from March 24, 2020 through August 19, 2021.  
  • Your business must have annual gross receipts less than $3 million.  
  • Your business must have 10 or fewer full-time employees including the business owner.  
  • Businesses must have been in business prior to March 24, 2020.  

To apply, submit a complete application online or in-person at the offices of Enterprise Foundation (Access SBDC) before 5 p.m. May 30, 2022. To learn more, please visit the website.

Restaurant Grant Program Closing This Week
The Restaurants Care Resiliency Fund is offering cash grants of $3,000 directly to restaurant owners with fewer than three units and under $3 million in annual revenue. All the eligibility criteria and tips to complete the application are at  

The deadline to apply is April 30.

Mask Mandates

BART Reinstates Mask Mandate on Trains and Platforms
BART riders and employees are required to wear masks on trains and at station platforms until July 18 under a new mandate approved by the agency’s Board of Directors this morning.  It’s unclear how the Board landed on the July 18 expiration date.

Today’s BART decision is notable because it’s the first example of a transit agency in California instituting a mask mandate without a public-health order.

Farmers' Market Returns Next Wednesday
Feel free to print and post the Farmers’ Market poster at your place of business.  
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:
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Let us know how else we can help your business by replying to this email. We’ll have another message next week.
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