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Covid-19 Resources

California Resources for Business and Economic Relief

May 6, 2020
Written by Danielle Styskal
May 6, 2020 | Written by Danielle Styskal

This article was updated on June 5, 2020.


What is California Doing to Help?

California has implemented several economic assistance programs to support local businesses and individuals dealing with the pandemic. 

Business Assistance

If your small business has experienced negative economic effects stemming from COVID-19, you may be eligible for the following assistance: 

  • Small businesses with less than $5 million in taxable sales are eligible for a 12-month, interest free payment plan for sales taxes (up to $50,000 per business)
  • The California Infrastructure and Development Bank is offering $50 million in state funds for Small Business Disaster Relief (loan program for businesses with less than 750 employees)

Additionally, all businesses and individuals are eligible for delayed tax filings (until July 30, 2020). 

Individual Assistance

California has also expanded its assistance programs to assist individuals who have been directly affected by the pandemic:

  • Unemployment insurance coverage
  • State-sponsored paid leave
  • Disability insurance
  • Financial relief programs
  • Moratorium of evictions

Unemployment Insurance

Anyone who has lost their job or experienced a reduction in hours due to COVID-19 is eligible for state unemployment insurance (between $40 and $450 per week, for up to 26 weeks).

State-Sponsored Paid Leave

Those that must leave their job to take care of a sick family member are eligible for up to six weeks paid leave (60-70% of pay up to $1,300 a week).

Disability Insurance

If you must quarantine or become sick with COVID-19 you are eligible for full disability benefits (60-70% of pay up to $1,300 a week).

Financial Relief Programs

California has partnered with the leading financial institutions to provide relief from loans, credit cards, and mortgage payments during the COVID-19 crisis. Participating institutions include:

  • National banks
  • State chartered banks
  • Credit unions
  • Mortgage lenders and servicers

Find a full list of participating institutions here

Eviction Moratorium

California has also implemented an eviction moratorium (through 7/25/2020) that provides a 90-day forbearance on mortgage payments. Under the program, financial institutions will provide the following options:

  • Streamlined forbearance application process
  • Late-fee waiver for 90-days
  • No adverse credit score impact for 90 days on late payments

For further details, access the state website on financial assistance


What Types of Programs are Being Offered by the Federal Government? 

In addition to state programs, California residents and business owners are eligible for several federal COVID-19 assistance programs through the CARES Act and second round of relief funding

Assistance for Small Businesses

The CARES Act provides two major assistance benefits to small businesses affected by the pandemic:

  1. Small Business Paycheck Protection Program – Provides 8 to 24 weeks of employee payment, inclusive of benefits costs, to small businesses through the Small Business Administration. It also provides funding for rent, utilities, mortgages, and interest fees. 
  2. Economic Injury Disaster Loans – Small businesses (under 500 employees) are also eligible for $10,000 loans provided by the Small Business Administration. These loans will not have to be repaid. 

Access the Department of Treasury website for further information on how the CARES Act supports small businesses. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The federal government has also extended its unemployment insurance coverage to assist small business owners, the self-employed, and other independent workers who would otherwise be ineligible. 

  • While these benefits are being provided by the federal government, applications should be made through the California unemployment insurance website.
  • Those approved for this coverage will receive $167 per week they were unemployed or experienced reduced income due to coronavirus, from February 2nd until December 26th.
  • And an additional $600 of assistance each week from March 29th until July 25th.

Stimulus Checks

The CARES Act also provides a stimulus payment to individuals and families through the IRS, whether or not they have been directly affected by COVID-19. 

For more details on whether you qualify and how much you will receive, reference the IRS website


COVID-19 in California

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected every state across the US. California is no exception, as stay-at-home orders and forced business closures have been implemented by authorities across the state. 

California was one of the first states to aggressively react to the pandemic, with Governor Newsom launching the shelter in place requirements on March 19th, after declaring a State of Emergency on March 4th. This initially led to a relatively low number of cases and deaths per capita in comparison to states that reacted later. 

On May 18th, Governor Newsom announced new guidelines for California’s reopening. Individual counties can apply to begin a phased reopening as they meet health and safety measures.

As California has reopened, case levels have continued to rise in several parts of the state, which may affect reopening.


How Has COVID-19 Affected California?

The California Department of Public Health is providing real time updates on COVID-19 cases and its effect on the state’s healthcare system. The CDC is also tracking demographic case data by state. 

COVID-19 case numbers within California change on a daily basis. You can access updated numbers from the LA Times

Cities and urban centers have been hit hardest by COVID-19, with the following counties seeing the highest number of cases:

  • Los Angeles
  • Riverside
  • San Diego
  • Santa Clara
  • Orange
  • San Bernardino
  • San Francisco
  • Alameda
  • Sacramento
  • San Mateo

Healthcare and Testing in California

California currently has 25 laboratories conducting diagnostic testing for COVID-19.

You can access additional guidance on testing in your local area here

California State Recommended Measures

The state government has implemented several measures to protect individuals and local businesses from the virus:

  • Social distancing (remain at least 6 feet apart from others)
  • Residents are advised to wear protective face coverings/masks and gloves while in public
  • High-risk individuals should remain at home

Reopening Businesses in California

Accordingly, the pandemic has had a drastic effect on California’s economy. Unemployment levels reached record rates in May, and applications for unemployment featured long delays. However, there are some signs that unemployment has already hit its lowest point and is now on the rebound.

In May, California began its phased reopening, putting Californians back to work. The stages of reopening are as follows:

  • Stage One – Make work as safe as possible for essential workers
  • Stage Two – Low-risk businesses can open with social distancing measures
  • Stage Three – Bars, restaurants, and other high-risk businesses can open with modified service
  • Stage Four – The stay-at-home order will be fully lifted

California moved into Stage Three on June 12th, opening the following businesses: 

  • Bars and wineries
  • Hotels
  • Professional sports leagues (without a live audience)
  • Gyms and fitness studios

Businesses like nightclubs and colleges remain closed.

The state is providing industry-specific guidance for businesses that are eligible for reopening. Across all industries, employers must:

  • Assess their risk and create a reopening plan
  • Train employees in new health and safety protocol
  • Screen employees for symptoms
  • Disinfect the workspace
  • Maintain social distancing at all times

If cases continue to decline, counties can progress further through these stages and businesses can begin to operate at greater capacity.

Note: It’s important for businesses to check with local government and local county guidelines for specific rules regarding reopening in your area. These may supersede those from state or federal levels.


Nextdoor: The Neighborhood Hub

To learn more about how COVID-19 is affecting small businesses in your local community, turn to your neighborhood hub, Nextdoor. 

As the pandemic unfolds, Nextdoor is your one-stop-shop for all the news on your local community, including updates and recommendations from neighbors on where to access essential services and more.

By creating a free Business Page, you can stay connected to your community, join the conversation, and promote your products and services. Most of all, you can help support your neighbors, who may also be your local customers who want to support you in return. 

Additional sources: 

California Coronavirus Response. Businesses and Employers.

California Coronavirus Response. Get Financial Help.

California Employment Development Department. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

CDC. Cases of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the U.S.

Hernandez, Miriam. California unemployment benefits delayed for many amid surge in applications.

Internal Revenue Service. Economic impact payments: What you need to know.

Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Resources for Employers and Workers.

LA Times Staff. California Coronavirus Cases Tracker.

Luna, Taryn. Coronavirus plunges California into ‘pandemic-induced recession’ amid huge job losses, Newsom says.

US Department of Treasury. The CARES Act Provides Assistance to Small Businesses.

US Department of Treasury. The CARES Act Works for All Americans.

US Small Business Administration. Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources.

Wheaton, Daniel. Explore the economic impact of COVID-19 with these charts.

CNBC. California unemployment could peak near 25%.

LATimes. Newsom eases reopening rules.

CNBC. California unemployment could peak near 25%.

LATimes. Newsom eases reopening rules.

LA Times.Coronavirus hospitalizations rise in parts of California, jeopardizing wider reopenings.


If you are a local business, claim your free Business Page to get started on Nextdoor. Resources on how to use Nextdoor to stay connected with your local customers during coronavirus, pertinent news affecting businesses, and more, are available in our Small Business Guide for Coronavirus Relief.

Claim your free Business Page to get started on Nextdoor. For resources on how to use Nextdoor to stay connected with your local customers, pertinent news affecting business, and more, follow us at @nextdoorbusiness on Facebook

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