COVID-19 Updates for Businesses
Updated June 22, 2020
This page includes all COVID-19 updates related to businesses and employers. Other San Diego Workforce Partnership COVID-19 updates can be found here.
Services Offered by the Workforce Partnership
For Businesses Forced to Lay Off Workers
If you are a business owner or HR representative for an employer considering work stoppages, layoffs or furloughs, we encourage you to submit layoff notices online or call (619) 228-2982.
We will get back to you within one business day to discuss information and services that may assist impacted employees, including Unemployment Insurance information, tax assistance, Work Sharing program to avoid layoffs, financial planning, remote career services and more. The helpline can also answer many of your personnel-related questions, not just those about layoffs.
Unemployment Insurance (UI)
As part of the federal CARES Act, the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state UI benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic. The provisions of the program include:
- Up to 39 weeks of benefits starting with weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020, through the week ending December 26, 2020, depending on when you became directly impacted by the pandemic.
- A new 13-week federal extension for those who run out of their regular state-provided UI benefits (maximum 26 weeks). File a PUA claim and you may be converted to the federal extension once it is available.
For more information and to apply, click here. If you previously applied for UI and were awarded benefits of $0, you will need to apply again through the PUA program.
If your company is preparing to re-open or has recently re-opened, you’ll want to make sure to communicate with employees in writing. You’ll want to make sure to communicate:
- The return to work date
- Any changes in pay/work schedule, if applicable
- Safety procedures and any upcoming training
- What the company is doing as far as sanitation, cleaning, temperature checks
- Any safety guidelines for check-in on first day
- If the employee will not/cannot return to work, they must notify employer in writing
You should also let all employees know that the business is open, that work is available and that this fact makes them ineligible for UI benefits. If the employee is not going to return to work for reasons that are not protected due to COVID-19 (illness, caregiver, no childcare, etc.) then the company will take this as a voluntary resignation (which also makes them ineligible for UI benefits).
If the employee is refusing to come back to work because they are earning more funds on Unemployment Insurance, you can notify the EDD through their Fraud and Penalties page.
- If the EDD finds out the employee is receiving benefits when they could be working, the employee will be required to pay those benefits back and there may be additional penalties.
Webinar for Affected Workers
We are now offering webinars for affected workers every Friday at 10 a.m. covering topics like:
- How to file for unemployment insurance
- How to get re-employed as soon as possible
- Options regarding retirement assets and health insurance
We encourage you to share this resource with your employees. These live webinars where your employees can ask EDD Unemployment Insurance questions, consult with a financial advisor on applying for Covered California and retirement and learn more about other programs and services available.
If employees can’t make the provided times, they may view a recorded webinar here. Please keep in mind some information may be out outdated since this was pre-recorded.
Work Adjustment and Retraining Notifications (WARNs)
- The employer’s mass layoff, relocation, or termination must be caused by COVID-19 related “business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time that notice would have been required”
- The employer must provide written notices to: affected employees and their representatives (e.g. unions), the EDD, the Local Workforce Development Board (in San Diego: The Workforce Partnership), and the chief elected official of each city and county gov’t within which the mass layoff, relocation, or termination occurs
- The employer must provide written notice that satisfies certain requirements and includes specific information.
For details, including guidance on submitting WARN notices and satisfying the Executive Order’s specific conditions, visit our WARN Information page for Employers.
Whether your businesses is required to submit a WARN or not, employers are encouraged to immediately submit layoff notices online to access resources for employees, and help us understand the broader impact to businesses and employees in the San Diego region.
For Businesses Who Are Hiring
Increased demand in certain sectors is calling for some businesses to ramp up hiring. We are here to support—freeing up your time to focus on your organization and operations.
- Advertise job leads through email newsletter and career portal
- Prescreen candidates and send along qualified referrals
- Tap into a talent pool of workers recently laid off due to COVID-19
- Coordinate virtual hiring events
- Loan guarantees up to 95% of the loan for small business borrowers impacted by disasters who need term loans or lines of credit for working capital.
Other Services Available
Access to Capital
Low interest, long-term loans of up to $2M for small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of COVID-19. Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Apply here.
An existing program through CA Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBANK), a unit within California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to support small businesses (1-750 employees) impacted by disasters in California, including these programs:
- Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program (DRLGP): Loan guarantees up to 95% of the loan for small business borrowers impacted by disasters who need term loans or lines of credit for working capital.
- Jump Start Loan Program: Loans from $500-$10,000 to low-wealth entrepreneurs in declared disaster and emergency areas.
To ensure the resiliency of local businesses and assist in job retention, the City of San Diego has established a Small Business Relief Fund (SBRF) to provide grants and forgivable or low- to zero-interest-rate loans to eligible small businesses for working capital. The goal of the SBRF is to help businesses retain employees and sustain continuity of business operations impacted by federal, California, San Diego County and local emergency declarations regarding COVID-19. Approximately $6.1 million is available in the SBRF, which is being administered by the City of San Diego Economic Development Department. Applications are currently closed, but there are other great resources on the City page.
$350 billion has been allocated to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. These loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. You can click here to view a FAQ sheet and how to apply. You can also click here for a Small Business Guide and Checklist from the US Chamber of Commerce. Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020.
LISC is now accepting applications for the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) specifically from minority- and women-owned business as well as veteran-owned businesses and nonprofits in San Diego County that have not yet received funding from PPP.
To apply, please complete this survey.
This organization is a resource partner of both the SBA and California Go-Biz, and will provide for-profit small business owners with no-cost guidance through your recovery process, including applying for disaster recovery loans if needed.
- 60 centers through the state of California, with 1000 consultants that speak 12 languages who are current and former business owners
- Knowledgeable on how to get access to capital, and how to create a strategy for navigating the business impacts of COVID-19
- Advice from SBDC: Be cautious of online lenders charging high interest rates
Serves women-owned businesses (for profit and nonprofit), and is a resource partner of both the SBA and California Go-Biz, and provides business counseling and access to capital, among other services.
Other Financial / Operational Resources
SDG&E will waive late payment fees for business customers whose finances have been impacted.
Moratorium on evictions: As of March 25, 2020, by a unanimous vote, the San Diego City Council enacted a temporary moratorium on evictions of residents who cannot pay rent and businesses that cannot make their lease payments due to financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The eviction moratorium ordinance, which is effective today through May 31, includes documentation requirements of tenants seeking relief, who have up to six months after the effective date of the ordinance to pay any unpaid rent. Landlords may seek payment of rent but may not evict tenants who qualify for relief.
If you’re looking for guidelines on re-opening your business, visit the county website here. They include links to requirements for specific industries, so make sure to find specific requirements for your business.
Nonprofit organizations in our region working with communities disproportionately impacted by the crisis can visit The San Diego Foundation’s website for additional potential resources to funding.
Governor Newsom signed an executive order to help small businesses, granting a 90-day extension for small businesses to pay sales taxes.
EDD Employer Services (Partial Claims / Work Sharing)
Partial Claims: For employees whose employers want to keep them when there is lack of work. The employer certifies that the employee is expected to return to work and gives them a form to file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim.
Work Sharing Program: If COVID-19 has impacted your business or services you can avoid potential layoffs by participating in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Work Sharing Program. This program allows you to retain your workers by reducing their hours and wages no more than 60 percent and partially offsetting the wage loss with UI benefits. This helps you avoid the cost of recruiting, hiring and training new workers and helps your workers keep their jobs and receive some financial support with UI benefits.
Other Changes to your business: If you are a registered employer, you must report any change in your business status, including if you no longer have employees but the business remains open, if you sell or close your business, or if you re-open your Employer Payroll Tax Account.
Protecting Workers from COVID-19
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published an interim guide for businesses and employers to respond to COVID-19.
California Department of Industrial Relations has published a Cal/OSHA guide on requirements to protect workers from COVID-19.
California Department of Public Health has published many guidance documents and technical support resources to local health departments, health care facilities, providers, schools, childcare facilities, food industry, and more.
San Diego County has published an extensive list of resources specific to industry sectors, occupations and service providers.
US Chamber of Commerce: COVID-19 Business Preparedness Checklist, including workplace tips for employees, guidance for employers on how to plan and respond to coronavirus and a customizable workplace flyer
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): Interim Guidance for Business and Employers
Resilience in a Box: Business Disaster Preparedness Checklist, Tips, Workbooks, and the Business Disaster Resilience 101 Workbook