• COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

  • Business Operations

    What types businesses are required to be closed and what businesses are allowed to stay open?

    The Governor and both Los Angeles and Ventura counties have issued “shelter-at-home” orders.  All businesses are required to close unless they are exempted because they are deemed an “essential need”.  Businesses and organizations that provide critical infrastructure for the state are considered essential, including health care and public health, public safety, food and agriculture and media.

     

     

    What are common types of businesses that can stay open?

    • Archery/Shooting Ranges
    • Banks
    • Childcare
    • Dentistry for preventative care (Click here to read updated guidance)
    • Equestrian Centers/Horseback Riding
    • Food.  Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
    • Gas stations
    • Jet Ski/Boat/Bike Rentals
    • Laundromats/laundry services
    • Logistics
    • Office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged)
    • Outdoor Museums
    • Outdoor Photography
    • Pet Grooming
    • Pharmacies
    • Remote Control Plane Range

     

     

    What are some common types of businesses that should close?

    • Dine-in restaurants and bars (convert to take-out and delivery)
    • Night Clubs
    • Entertainment venues
    • Gyms and fitness studios
    • Hair and nail salons

     

     

    What types of businesses are allowed to be open, but only for curbside pickup or delivery?

    Retailers. This can include but is not limited to:

    • Bookstores
    • Jewelry stores
    • Toy stores
    • Clothing stores
    • Shoe stores
    • Home and furnishing stores
    • Sporting goods stores
    • Antique stores
    • Music stores
    • Manufacturing
    • Florists.

    Note: There are certain types of “high risk” retail that still must remain closed because they cannot operate and also maintain social distancing.

    • Personal Care Services (salons, barbershops, massage parlors)
    • Bars
    • Gyms

     

     

    I am a retail business. What do I need to do in order to open?

    The state has put out a set of guidelines and a checklist that all California businesses must follow. There is a bunch of information for businesses at https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap/ , but this is the information specific to retailers.

    • State Checklist for Retailers: http://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/checklist-retail.pdf
    • State Guidelines for Retailers: http://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-retail.pdf

    In addition to the state rules, the local counties are allowed to have additional requirements.

     

    Special Requirements for Ventura County (Thousand Oaks) businesses.

    Before they reopen, Ventura County retailers must go to www.VCreopen.com and “self-attest” that they are following all of the Ventura County guidelines.

    The guidelines include the following:

    • My business is in one of the designated industries permitted to reopen by the State of California & the VC Health Officer order
    • I have performed a detailed risk assessment of my business in accordance with the state guidelines
    • I have a written worksite-specific COVID-19 prevention plan and have posted it at my business
    • I have implemented control and screening measures for my business
    • I have implemented disinfecting protocols for my business in accordance with CA Department of Public Health guidance
    • I have trained employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19 including how to screen themselves for symptoms
    • I agree to have an on-duty employee responsible for monitoring compliance with my plan
    • I have posted the compliance hotline flyer provided in a prominent location visible to the public and employees
    • Complete the attestation form

    In order to help business self-attest, Ventura County has created a sample “Worksite Specific COVID-19 Prevention Plan” that they will need to complete.

    • Download the sample plan document: https://s30623.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Worksite-Specific-COVID-19-Prevention-Plan-Retail-050720-v4.xlsx

    You can also view it on www.VCreopen.com

     

    Special Requirements for Los Angeles County (Westlake Village and Agoura Hills) businesses.

    Los Angeles County does not require any additional protocols beyond the State of California requirements. As long Los Angeles County businesses are following the state guidelines for retailers they are allowed to operate.

     

     

    My business not essential and we work in an office environment.  We are able to conduct business virtually.  Do we need to close?

    No you do not.  You can continue to operate virtually with your employees working remotely.

     

     

    What kind of special requirements must my business follow in order to stay open as an essential business?

    The counties of Los Angeles and Ventura have each developed their own protocols that explain specifically what rules must be followed.  These requirements are called Social Distancing Protocols.  These protocols are required at least until May 15th, but businesses should expect to follow them for the foreseeable future.

     

    Los Angeles County

    • Requires all businesses to cease in-person operations and remain closed to the public unless they are an essential business through May 15, 2020.
    • Requires essential businesses to adopt and post Social Distancing Protocols in their facilities. Must be easily viewable to the public and their employees.
    • All essential business customers are required to wear a face covering over mouth and nose during their time at the facility.

    Click here to view and download the required LA County Social Distancing Protocols.

     

    Ventura County

    • Prohibits all gatherings, no matter the size, outside of residences with limited exceptions.
    • Requires essential businesses to adopt and post Social Distancing Protocols in their facilities. Must be easily viewable to the public and their employees.

    Click here to view and download the required Ventura County Social Distancing Protocols.

     

     

    Everything I am reading says this is all “guidance” or a “suggestion.”  Do I really have to comply with these orders?

    Yes, you need to follow the orders issued by the state and the counties.  Violation or failure to comply with the orders is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

     

     

    My business won't be able to pay our rent this month.  Is there any relief for us?

    The cities of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills have all put in place emergency orders to protect commercial tenants during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    • You still owe your rent to your landlord, but you have more time to pay.
    • You cannot be served with an eviction notice for the non-payment of rent until May 31st or the end of the COVID-19 local emergency, whichever comes first.
    • You have until 6 months after the end of the COVID-19 emergency declaration to pay back the rent owed.

     

     

    Paycheck Protection Program

    How can I get access to funding to help my business?

    The Federal Government has passed the CARES Act, a federal stimulus package that among other things provides funding for businesses under 500 people.  The new funding program is called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and it should be available through your lender starting on Friday, April 3, 2020.  The federal government is giving guaranteed loans to banks so they can loan that money to you.

     

    The US Chamber of Commerce has issued detailed guidance to help businesses figure out how much funding they can receive.

     

     

     

     

    Does My Business Qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program?

    Businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees are eligible.  Individuals who are self-employed also qualify.

     

     

    How much money can I borrow?

    You can borrow 2.5 times the monthly amount you spend on payroll (the average of the last 12 months).

     

     

    I hear this loan is forgivable.  How does that work?

    Certain expenses will be forgiven if you keep your employees until June and do not reduce their wages more than 25%.  These expenses include payroll, rent and mortgage interest, and other similar expenses.

     

     

    How do I apply?

    You will apply directly with your lender.  Applications will start being accepted on Friday, April 3, 2020 and will be accepted until June 30, 2020.  Existing SBA lenders are already approved and other lenders are currently being approved by the SBA.  Contact your lender to see if they can offer you a PPP loan.

     

     

     

    Additional Funding Options

    Are there other sources of funding to help my business?

    In addition to the Payroll Protection Program, there are funding opportunities available from the Small Business Administration and the Economic Development Collaborative.

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) administers the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.  Loans are offered at 3.75% interest and can be for terms up to 30 years, in order to make the payments manageable.

     

    The Economic Development Collaborative offers low interest micro loans from $5,000- $50,000 through their Disaster Loan Fund to give a cash flow boost to businesses impacted by reduced sales, supply chain disruption or other challenges related to COVID-19.

    • Contact Marvin Boateng, Lending Manager to apply at marvin@edcollaborative.com or call (805) 409-9158.

     

     

    I run a nonprofit organization. Is there additional financial assistance for us?

    Nonprofits can get funding from the Ventura County Community Foundation and financing from the Small Business Administration.

    The Ventura County Community Foundation has created a fund called the Ventura County Rapid Response Fund to help nonprofit organizations in our community. The fund helps nonprofits that provide basic human needs to individuals, families or small business owners in Ventura County.

    • Examples of approved uses are food and housing support, childcare, wage replacement, mental health care and more.
    • Register and apply at https://vccf.spectrumportal.net.

     

    Nonprofits are also eligible for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program administered by the Small Business Administration.   They can get financing at a 2.75 percent rate with a loan term of up to 30 years, to make the payments manageable.

     

     

    I have to lay off employees or reduce their hours because of the Coronavirus.  Is their financial help for them?

    Yes.  If your employees have their hours reduced or are temporarily or permanently laid off, then they should qualify for unemployment benefits from the Employment Development Department (EDD).  Employees can apply for benefits immediately after a work cut back or stoppage.

    If employees have to miss work to take care of a child subject to a school closure they may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits too. Eligibility considerations include if they have no other care options and if you are unable to continue working your normal hours remotely.

     

     

    Tax Questions

    The income tax filing deadline is coming up on April 15th.  Do I still need to file my State and Federal Taxes?

    You have a little more time for both Federal and California State taxes.  The IRS has moved this year’s federal income tax filing deadline back 90 days to July 15th, 2020.  California’s Frnachise Tax Board has moved its income tax filing deadline back July 15th, 2020.

    • Federal Income Tax - July 15th
    • California Income Tax - July 15th

     

     

    Do I still need to pay my property taxes by April 10th?

    Property Taxes are still due April 10, however, on April 11th property owners unable to pay on time for reasons related to COVID-19 may submit a request for penalty cancellation online.  Proven significant economic hardship, directly caused by the COVID-19 situation will be grounds for a late penalty cancellation and will be issued on a case-by-case basis.

    • Los Angeles County - https://ttc.lacounty.gov/
    • Ventura County - https://www.ventura.org/ttc/

     

     

    Is there any other tax relief I should know about?

    Yes there is.  The Federal Government has postponed the payment of the Federal portion of your 2020 Payroll Taxes.  You still owe it, but your 2020 payroll taxes can now be deferred.  50% is due in 2021 and 50% in 2022.

    Also, the California Governor has eliminated the late fee for Sales Tax payments until July 31st, effectively giving businesses an extension.  You still need to pay your sales taxes to your local municipality, but you have more time to do it.

     

     

    Other Questions

    Who can I contact if I have any more questions?

    Contact the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce if you have any questions.  These can be general guidance questions, or questions specific to your business.  You do not need to be a Chamber member to contact us.  We are here to support all businesses through this COVID-19 pandemic.

    We are here to help.  There is no question too small.

    Call us at 805-370-0035 or email us at chamber@conejochamber.org.

  • Last updated on 5/19/2020 at 4:00pm.