COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
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?
- Gas stations
- Food. Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
- Laundromats/laundry services
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
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.
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.
- See the US Chamber Guidance on PPP
- See the program details at the Small Business Administration (SBA)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
- For more info on SBA Financing, visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.
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.
- The website to apply for benefits is https://edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Last updated on 4/1/2020 at 12:00pm.