COVID-19 Resources

A number of members are asking about resources for information and guidance about COVID-19 (coronavirus). This page provides links to accurate resources, sample guidance, and information publicly released by state and local government. It will be updated as needed. 

We encourage employers to review and follow CDC Guidelines to determine planning, preparation, and response to COVID-19. Employers should encourage employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to call their health provider for medical advice. Hospitals will not test persons who do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. Guidelines for testing for COVID-19 can be found here.

COVID-19 Information

The best source for accurate information is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC has a section dedicated to COVID-19 that includes regularly updated information on: 

  • the disease: how it spreads, symptoms, treatment, etc. 
  • the situation: in the U.S. and abroad, how the U.S. is responding, and what may happen next. 
  • Guidance for businesses and employers. This page includes strategies for employers to use now, and information about planning for a potential U.S. outbreak.

California Department of Public Health has an information page on COVID-19. 

County of San Diego has an information page on COVID-19. Text COSD COVID 19 to 468-311 to receive text updates from the County.

Community Sector Support - The County of San Diego wants to ensure that the community is being provided the support and resources they need to prepare for and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our region.  Resources are available to provide important information on this rapidly evolving public health situation with local, state, and national guidance tailored to a variety of organization, agencies, and groups.

The California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health is ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.

Read the Executive Order (pdf)

See the list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers (pdf).

*Updates to this list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce may be issued periodically, with the most recent updates reflected in blue text.

Frequently Asked Questions

Testing - County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, reminds us that 80% of people who get COVID-19 will have mild to moderate symptoms. You should self-isolate and stay home. You do not need to be tested. If symptoms become worse, you should call your doctor.

Public Health Nurse Line - The County has set up a nurse triage line to help 2-1-1 callers who have coronavirus symptoms. Call 2-1-1 and ask for the nurses’ line. The Public Health Nurse Line is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. After hours, callers can leave a voicemail and a nurse will return the call within 24 hours.

Taking Care of Your Mental Health - All of us are impacted by the Coronavirus, (COVID-19) and may have feelings of fear and uncertainty around this developing situation. The link below will provide recommendations (in English and Spanish) for self-care that can be used for you, your families, friends, and co-workers. If you have a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1. If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call both 9-1-1 and the Access and Crisis Line at 888-724-7240.  Link maintaining your mental health and wellness.

Employer Resources

Safe Reopening Plan - Businesses will need to complete the Safe Reopening Plan, print and post it at their entrance. Each business's plan may need to be updated and reposted when state guidance changes. The County will not require approval for this plan.

Essential businesses already operating do not need to submit a new plan.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to California small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19. Full Details

  • The SBA Customer Center is enabled to guide you through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan application process, check the status of a loan application, and answer individual questions. Call the SBA Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

Payroll Protection Program - An SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis. Loans will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Fact Sheet       Chamber Member Lenders

  • PPP Flexibility Act
    • Businesses may now spend their PPP funds over 24 weeks instead of 8 weeks.
    • Payroll requirements have been relaxed. The 75/25 rule for payroll and other expenses have been amended to a 60/40 split.
    • The employer deadline to rehire employees laid off between February 15 and April 26 has been extended to December 31.
    • PPP loans will not have to be repaid until after the forgiveness application has been processed. Businesses will have up to 10 months after their covered period ends to either apply for forgiveness or begin payments.
    • The act repeals a provision from the CARES Act that barred companies with forgiven PPP loans from deferring their payroll tax payments.
    • PPP loans approved after June 5 will have a minimum loan maturity period of five years, up from the current two-year deadline set by the SBA.

City of San Diego Small Business Relief Fund

Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund

Resources

The U.S. Congress passed a nearly $2 trillion economic stimulus package. The legislation makes temporary changes to Unemployment Insurance, helps both small businesses and hard-hit industries, and includes other relief provisions. These expanded benefits will be available through the crisis, with most sunsetting after several months or at the end of 2020.

Read the full text of the supplemental appropriations package here.

Act Details

Unemployment Insurance - The legislation temporarily changes the Unemployment Insurance (UI) system. While the states administer unemployment insurance, these changes will be funded by the federal government. Temporary changes include extending insurance coverage by 13 weeks; expanding coverage to include those not typically eligible, like self-employed and independent contractors; and the option for states to temporarily provide an additional $600 per week. Most of the changes are applicable through the end of this year.

Paycheck Protection Program - The legislation provides $350 billion to establish the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses cover necessary costs (payroll, mortgage or lease payments, and utility payments). The legislation also makes most nonprofits eligible for SBA assistance through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. There are several other measures to support small businesses, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has an online resource and a guide for the loan program.

Critical Industry Support - The legislation includes $500 billion for the Exchange Stabilization Fund to be distributed through loans, loan guarantees, and investments to distressed industries. The funding is paired with several accountability measures including oversight by a Special Inspector General and a Congressional Oversight Commission, the exclusion of any company with 20% of voting stock owned by certain members of the government or their family members, limits on executive compensation, and prohibitions on stock buy backs. The funds are divided as follows:

  • $25 billion for passenger air carriers and eligible related businesses
  • $4 billion for cargo air carriers
  • $17 billion for businesses deemed important to maintaining national security
  • $454 billion for use as Federal Reserve 13(3) lending to other industries

Other Important Provisions

  • Recovery Rebates for Individuals – many individuals will receive payments in the form of tax rebates, with $500 per child and up to $1,200 per individual depending on income. There are income limits on those eligible for the payment. The Tax Foundation has more details on this provision.
  • Employee Retention Tax Credit – employers subject to closure due to COVID-19 or whose gross receipts declined at least 50% when compared to the same quarter in the prior year are eligible for a refundable federal tax credit equal to 50% of the employer’s share of federal payroll taxes, up to $10,000 per employee.
  • Employer Payroll Taxes – employers and self-employed individuals may delay payment of the employer share of federal payroll taxes through the end of 2020, repaying half by the end of 2021 and half by the end of 2022.
  • Special Retirement Account Rules – individuals impacted directly or financially by the COVID-19 crisis can opt for an early distribution this year from their qualified retirement account without the standard 10% penalty for withdrawals up to $100,000. Income attributable to the distribution would be subject to tax over three years, and the individual may recontribute the funds to a qualified retirement plan within three years without regard to an existing contribution cap for that year.
  • Required Minimum Distributions – the required minimum distribution from certain retirement accounts is waived for 2020.
  • Student Loan Benefit Exclusion – allows employers to provide student loan repayment assistance on a tax-free basis through January 1, 2021, with up to $5,250 excluded from an employee’s income. The $5,250 cap applies to the new student loan repayment assistance as well as other educational assistance (e.g., tuition and books) currently allowed under law.
  • Telehealth Expansion – building on the telehealth provisions in Phase 2, the legislation extends telehealth benefits to rural communities, dialysis patients, and others.
  • Health Care Provisions – there are numerous provisions impacting health care and health insurance. Please see this section by section summary provided by the Senate Committee on Finance for more information.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.[1] The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.

Generally, the Act provides that covered employers must provide to all employees:[2]

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.

A covered employer must provide to employees that it has employed for at least 30 days:[3]

  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Employer Tax Credits - Many businesses that have been severely impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) will qualify for two new employer tax credits – the Credit for Sick and Family Leave and the Employee Retention Credit.

  • Employee Retention Credit - Eligible employers can claim the employee retention credit, a refundable tax credit equal to 50 percent of up to $10,000 in qualified wages (including health plan expenses), paid after March 12, 2020 and before January 1, 2021.
  • Sick and Family Leave - Eligible employers are entitled to receive a credit in the full amount of the required sick leave and family leave, plus related health plan expenses and the employer’s share of Medicare tax on the leave, for the period of April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.  The refundable credit is applied against certain employment taxes on wages paid to all employees.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce has set up a web page of resources and guidelines for businesses as well as a web page dedicated to business resilience and disaster recovery.

Cal Chamber - Top Resources for Employers (Podcast)

Cal Chamber - Coronavirus: Federal, State & Local Resources

Cal Chamber - The Most Common Questions Employers are Asking

State Department Information for Employees and Employers

Small Business Development Center Survival Guide for Small Business

SD Workforce Partnership - COVID-19 Updates for Businesses

Individual Resources

Reduced Work Hours

If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own. If you are temporarily unemployed due to COVID-19 and expected to return to work with your employer within a few weeks, you are not required to actively seek work each week. However, you must remain able and available and ready to work during your unemployment for each week of benefits you claim and meet all other eligibility criteria. If you’re eligible, benefits can range from $40-$450 per week.

The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect UI benefits for the first week you are out of work. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

Employees unable to work due to reduced hours or place of work has closed

Employees unable to work due to caring for ill or quarantined family member

Employees unable to work due to exposure to COVID-19

Click here for a list of companies who are currently hiring.

  • Calculate Your Federal Stimulus
    More than 80% of American adults qualify for a stimulus payment. Whether you are employed full time or part time, a gig worker, unemployed, or retired, you may be eligible for a stimulus payment. Get an estimate of how much money you may expect from your 2020 stimulus payment by clicking the link above.

SD Workforce PartnershipCOVID-19 Updates for Workers

State DepartmentInformation for Employees

NEW STATEWIDE HOTLINE FOR SENIORS
To help older Californians get answers and assistance during this crisis, the state has established a new hotline — (833) 544-2374 — in coordination with the non-profit local 2-1-1 systems.

For example, the 2-1-1 system is able to help older Californians access grocery and medication delivery while staying at home.

The state, in partnership with AARP, will also send a mailer to older residents, 65 and older, with useful resources and information to help adapt to the stay at home order.

SENIOR MEAL DELIVERY PROGRAMS & FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS
Members of our senior community are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, which is why the state recommends older adults at elevated risk remain at home until further guidance is issued. If you fall into this group and do not have someone who can pick up groceries on your behalf, please reach out to the following organizations for assistance:

San Diego Food Bank's Senior Food Program is a federal program that provides monthly supplemental food packages to income-eligible senior citizens ages 60 and over. The Food Bank administers the program and distributes USDA-provided food at distribution sites every month, throughout San Diego County.

Participants must meet income requirements and provide proof of eligibility (e.g., valid identification with date of birth and proof of address, like utility, water, phone bill). Eligible participants will receive a 30 lb. box of food and be entitled to receive a monthly food package from a site within your zip code on the allocated distribution day every month. To verify eligibility, visit the Food Bank's website or call 1 (866) 350-3663.

Meals on Wheels continues its delivery meal services with COVID-19 precautions in place. Anyone over the age of 60 may receive meals and friendly visits. There are no socio-economic requirements. Meals on Wheels San Diego County charges a onetime, non-refundable fee of $35 to begin meal delivery service. The program accepts CalFresh EBT cards (SNAP) for meal payments. Meals on Wheels San Diego County subsidizes 60% of the costs for meals, delivery, and other services provided regardless of a senior's ability to pay.

To enroll, call:  (619) 447-8782

Community Updates

Office of Military and Veterans Affairs - Open to develop VA disability claims and other support by phone. Call (858) 694-3222 to schedule a phone meeting with a Veteran Service Rep.

Project Know & Grow: Feeding Minds and Bodies

When our schools closed, Poway Unified School District committed to serving meals to all children in our community who needed food and has served over 120,000 free meals so far. However, PUSD is only reimbursed for a small percentage of those meals. In addition, the District was able to distribute 7,500 Chromebooks to students and families, but there are still many PUSD families without computers at home. Achieving one-to-one devices for every needy student will cost over $6 million dollars. So, we are reaching out to you, our business partners for support. Please help us to feed our students’ minds and bodies by making a tax-deductible donation in any amount to the Poway USD Foundation today. We truly appreciate your consideration.

We hope you will be able to assist in this campaign by making a donation.

San Diego Blood Bank – Blood donations are urgently needed as San Diego Blood Bank prepares for possible decreased blood donations as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions and additional challenges that may arise which could potentially reduce the number of eligible donors further. More information here.

Region’s Water Agencies Collaborate to Ensure Water Security

While we all share concerns over the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing that you don’t need to worry about is the safety and reliability of our region’s drinking water.

The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have increased regional coordination and communication during this unprecedented time to provide uninterrupted access to clean and abundant supplies.

  • Tap water in the San Diego region remains safe to drink due to numerous robust treatment processes used by local and regional water providers.
  • There is no evidence that coronavirus is transmitted through treated water. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that Americans continue to use, and drink tap water as usual.
  • The Water Authority has implemented protections and protocols to protect its workforce from the virus, including additional protections for highly specialized water system operators who are critical for ensuring water deliveries.

“The region’s water agencies are collaborating in complete solidarity to perform our vital mission of providing safe and reliable water supplies. We are taking smart, precautionary steps to ensure water security,” said Sandra L. Kerl, general manager of the Water Authority.

To learn more about the Water Authority’s response, go to www.sdcwa.org

Here is are some important news stories on efforts by regional water providers:

KNSD: https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/10-carlsbad-water-plant-employees-live-at-work-for-21-days/2293933/

KGTV: https://www.10news.com/news/local-news/carlsbad-desal-plant-workers-shelter-in-place-at-work-to-ensure-water-safety

NPR: https://www.waternewsnetwork.com/water-utilities-aim-keep-specially-trained-employees-healthy-working/

The San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund is hosted and administered by The San Diego Foundation in collaboration with County Board of Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, the co-chair of the County’s COVID-19 subcommittee, and seeded with $1.25 million from The San Diego Foundation and $1 million from San Diego Gas & Electric.

In partnership with the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund Leadership Council, a group of community experts in civic leadership, philanthropy, government, public health, business, grantmaking, communications and fundraising comprised to inform fund efforts, The Foundation receives donations and makes emergency grants and interest-free loans to nonprofits that are working on the frontlines to provide our region’s most vulnerable communities with assistance, such as food security, other essential living expenses, emergent needs, and rent and utility payment support.

Learn More

Coronavirus Assistance for Business

Shutting Off Power: SDG&E knows that our customers’ lives and income have been affected by this public health crisis. For that reason, SDG&E will not shut off service to customers with unpaid bills until further notice. Nothing means more to us than the health and safety of you and your loved ones and the last thing we want you to worry about is whether you can afford to keep your lights on.

Flexible Payment Plans: If you’re having trouble paying your energy bill, please call us at 1-800-411-7343 to work out a payment plan.

Assistance Programs:  If you have recently lost your job, even if you are receiving unemployment benefits, our CARE program can save you 30% or more on your energy bill. If you don't qualify for CARE, we automatically check to see if you qualify for FERA, which offers an 18% monthly bill discount to families of three or more. Simply complete the online application and we’ll let your know if you qualify based on your current participation in certain public assistance programs or your annual household income as of today. No additional documents are required to apply. Learn more.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), is federally funded and helps low-income households with their energy bills. The program is overseen by the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) and administered by nonprofit agencies that have funding available right now to help residents with up to $1,000 on their energy bills. Additional funding is also expected with the recent passage of the federal economic stimulus package. To learn more about income eligibility guidelines and participating agencies, visit 211sandiego.org.

Late Payment Fees: SDG&E will not charge late payment fees for business customers whose finances have been hit by the coronavirus situation. We do not charge residential customers late payment fees.

Branch Offices/Payment Locations: At this time, our branch offices are closed. Some payment locations in retail stores may be open, but that can change as the days go on. We encourage our customers to follow the order from authorities to remain at home. You can always pay your bill online via My Account or through our mobile app.

San Diego International Airport wants you to know they are ready to serve you when you are ready to fly. Check out the new health and safety measures they've implemented. Visit san.org/gosafely for more information.

Videos

March 17 Video Update from the Chamber with:

  • County Supervisor Jim Desmond
  • County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar
  • County Medical Director Dr. Nick Yphantides
  • Peter Zien, Owner, AleSmith Brewing Company

Resources & Tools to Help Navigate Crisis
April 2, 2020

  • Small Business Development Center – Danny Fitzgerald
  • Employment Law Updates – Katie Fox, Buchalter, Apc.
  • San Diego Workforce Partnership – Laurie Ganz
  • City of San Diego– Almis Udrys, Office of Mayor Faulconer                          
  • Federal Updates – Jason Bercovitch, Office of Congressman Peters

SBA Loan Application Process
April 2, 2020

Jamye Pritchett-Solorzano, Administrative Officer and Economic Development Specialist with SBA gives an informational webinar about the application process for the SBA small business loans.

  • Low Interest, Long Term Economic Injury Disaster Loans
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance
  • Bridge Loan Pilot Program
  • Paycheck Protection Program

Updates from the Chamber

  • As an employer, the Chamber will have our team work remotely until the state order to shelter in place is lifted.
  • For the time being, we will not rent out our conference room.
  • All Advisory Council meetings will be held remotely through June 30, 2020.