Information for Businesses

March 3, 2021 Update

Santa Clara County has moved back to the Red Tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and will align with the State's framework. As a result, many of the industry/activity specific local directives will be lifted, including the Health Officer's travel restriction. 

Below is a summary of changes effective March 3, 2021. 

  • Indoor dining at a maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer;
  • Retail stores at a maximum 50% capacity;
  • Gyms and fitness centers at a maximum 10% capacity;
  • Movie theaters at a maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer; and
  • Zoos, museums, and aquariums at 25% maximum indoor capacity.

For more information on what the State allows in the Red Tier, visit the State's website.

The County's October 5, 2020 Risk Reduction Order, which requires everyone to follow all State orders and guidance, maintain distance, and wear face coverings as much as possible, will remain in effect. The Order also requires all businesses and other entities to maximize telework, post Social Distancing Protocols outlining specific COVID-19 safety plans, and promptly report cases to the Public Health Department. Key rules remain in effect and applicable to all businesses:

  • Telework: All businesses must continue to require workers to do their jobs from home whenever possible. Workers can go into work only to complete the job duties they can’t complete from home.
  • Social Distancing Protocol requirements:All businesses must complete and submit a Revised Social Distancing Protocol for each of their facilities on the County’s website at COVID19Prepared.org.Social Distancing Protocols submitted prior to October 11, 2020 are no longer valid. The Revised Social Distancing Protocols must be filled out using an updated template for the Social Distancing Protocol at COVID19Prepared.org.
  • Positive case reporting:All businesses (and governmental entities) are legally required to report to the Public Health Department within 4 hours if they learn that any of their workers are confirmed to be positive for COVID-19. They must also ensure workers alert them if they test positive.
  • Capacity Limitation and Metering: All businesses must comply with applicable capacity limitations. All businesses (except for acute care hospitals) with indoor facilities open to the public must establish a “metering system” to ensure that the applicable capacity limits are not exceeded by, for example, posting an employee at the facility entrance to track the number of people entering and exiting.

Remember, the County Health Officer urges residents to continue taking precautions, including:

  • Stay outdoors. Outdoor activities are safer than indoor ones. 
  • Stay Masked. Consistent use of face coverings both indoors and outdoors, especially double-masking, effectively prevents the spread of COVID. 
  • Maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others. Social distancing from those who do not live with you is effective at keeping COVID away. 
  • Avoid crowds. The fewer people you encounter and the fewer interactions you have, the lower the chance the virus will spread. 
  • Get vaccinated when it is your turn. All federally approved vaccinations work well and help keep you, your family, and your friends safe. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the Federal and State governments have issued disaster declarations paving the way for Federal and State assistance.

The City of Morgan Hill and the Economic Development Team are deeply grateful for your efforts during these unprecedented times. We know how much this is affecting you and we recognize that the damage to some businesses is irreparable.

Business Resiliency 

The Small Business Development Centers have published materials on small business resiliency including guides and templates. These are excellent resources to review as business models continue to evolve.  Learn how to make your business plan more resilient to natural hazards and business shocks. 

Small Business Resiliency tools and resources (LINK)  

Loan Programs and Resources

Below you will find information on loan programs and tax assistance.

Note that this situation remains fluid and information about programs is still evolving.   These are the known resources available to businesses currently.  The information will start with the different loan programs that are available to Morgan Hill businesses along with SBA funding that has recently become available due to Federal and State disaster declarations.

The State of California Treasurer’s Office Small Business Resources Page has a great deal of information available for businesses including grants and other programs by County and City. 

Business Resources:

In addition to their Grant Program, Facebook is offering several other resources.

EBay Up & Running Program.  Offers a free basic online storefront for three months to impacted businesses that do not currently sell online. 

IRS Deferrals and Credits

If your business does not qualify for Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury loan from SBA or you did not receive funding under those programs you can take advantage of Employee Retention Credit (“ERC”) from the Internal Revenue Service.   The ERC provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of the wages paid by employers during the COVID-19 pandemic up to $5,000 per employee per quarter. This credit is applied to the employer’s quarterly tax liability reported on Form 941.

In addition, employers and self-employed individuals can defer payment of the employer share of Social Security taxes incurred to December 31, 2020.  More guidance from the IRS and Payroll Tax deferral can be found by visiting the  IRS website.

Any business that claimed a loss in the tax year 2018, 2019, or 2020, may be able to carry that loss back five years. More guidance from the IRS and Payroll Tax deferral can be found by visiting the  IRS website.

Business Grants:

Barstool Grant. The nonprofit 30 Day Fund was launched by Virginia technology entrepreneur Pete Snyder and his wife, Burson. Working with other business leaders throughout the nation, the Fund’s goal is to help save as many jobs as possible.  The funds disbursed do not need to be repaid, but if businesses who receive the Fund’s assistance do, at a later date, wish to “pay it forward,” they may do so by directing those dollars back to the Fund. The Barstool Fund

California Relief Grant Program:  https://careliefgrant.com/

Round 3 (waitlisted applicants from Rounds 1 and 2): Friday, March 5th through Thursday, March 11th, 2021

  • Eligible applicants: This is a closed round and only available to eligible applicants who were waitlisted in Rounds 1 and 2 – only existing applicants will be selected. If you were waitlisted, you do not need to reapply. New applications will not be accepted in this round.
  • Eligible grant award: $5,000 to $25,000
  • Details: This is a closed funding round; no new applications will be accepted

Round 4 (non-profit cultural institutions only): Tuesday, March 16th through Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

  • Eligible applicants: Only non-profit cultural institutions with any revenue size that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com
  • Eligible grant award: $5,000 - $25,000
  • Details: Eligible non-profit cultural institutions must complete a new application even if they already applied in Rounds 1 and 2; grants will only be available to non-profits cultural institutions  that did not receive funding in Rounds 1, 2 or 3; grants will be prioritized based on the documented percentage revenue declines based on a reporting period comparing Q2 and Q3 of 2020 versus Q2 and Q3 of 2019

Round 5: Thursday, March 25th through Wednesday, March 31st 

  • Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and non-profits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, or 3 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com>
  • Eligible grant award: $5,000 - $25,000
  • Details: Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, & 3 do not need to reapply as they will be automatically moved into Round 5. New applicants will need to apply at CAReliefGrant.com

Round 6: Date to be announced soon

  • Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and/or non-profits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com
  • Eligible grant award: $5,000 - $25,000
  • Details: Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, 3 & 5 do not need to re-apply and will be automatically moved into Round 6. New applicants will need to apply at CAReliefGrant.com

Business Loan Programs:

  • Grow Morgan Hill Fund: A small business loan program specific to businesses located in Morgan Hill.
  • California IBank: Program provides loan guarantees in support of small businesses. Small Business Finance Center
  • CARES Act: Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans: The program provides cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency.  This can include loan Forgiveness.
  • The California Rebuilding Fund is a loan program to support California’s small businesses—especially those located in economically disadvantaged and historically under-banked areas of the state. Businesses that employed 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) and had gross revenues of less than $2.5 million or below in 2019 are eligible to apply.
  • Jumpstart loan program:  Small business loans over 5 years from $500 to $10,000
  • Opportunity Fund:  Micro loans starting at $2,500 up to $250,000.
  • California Treasurers Office: The California Capital Access Program (CalCAP) is a loan loss reserve program supporting small business lending.
  • Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Program: Businesses with up to 15,000 employees or up to $5 billion in annual revenue are now eligible, Loan size for two of the options starts at $500,000.  For details please visit the Federal Reserve website.  These loans will be issued through your lender.
  • Information on SBA Economic Injury Loans   

    What is an SBA-approved Economic Injury Disaster Loan?

    If your business or not-for-profit has suffered a substantial economic injury in a declared disaster area, you may be eligible to apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. These loans generally offer up to $2 million in assistance to businesses experiencing temporary loss of revenue. The key terms of these loans are:

    • A 3.75% interest rate for small businesses without credit available elsewhere. (Businesses able to get credit elsewhere are not eligible.)
    • A 2.75% interest rate for nonprofits.
    • A maximum 30-year term, determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • How does a business apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan? 

    A business should be able to apply to the SBA either online or by mail. The applicant must provide substantial financial detail to analyze the applicant’s creditworthiness. You can use the services of a CPA or a technical expert, but the SBA will not pay for these services.

    Free advice can be sourced from local Technical Assistance providers.
    Partners available to help prepare loan paperwork to include:

    • Small Business Development Center SBDC.  Morgan Hill’s SBDC rep is Senior Business Advisor Allie Lopez- allie4svsbdc@gmail.com or 408.579.9943
    • Service Corp of Retired Executives SCORE
    • Minority Business Development Agency MBDA
  • What is the maximum loan amount limit? 

    Disaster loans generally max out at $2 million, but if a business is a major source of employment the SBA has the authority to waive that limit.

    What can the loan be used for? 

    These 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. The loans are not approved to refinance the long-term debts of a business.

    What credit requirements does the SBA use to determine the application? 

    The SBA typically use the following criteria when considering an application:

    • An acceptable credit history
    • An ability to repay
    • Collateral is required for all loans over $25,000
  • Does the SBA take into account any insurance policy that may be applicable? 

    Yes. If a business has business interruption insurance or other relevant claims, then the SBA may reduce the amount of the loan.

    What evidence demonstrates economic injury? 

    Examples can include:

    • Financial statements from the bank and cash flow statements demonstrating the impact on the business prior to and since the onset of the disaster.
    • Written evidence of canceled orders that have a material impact on the cash flow or profitability of the business since the onset of the disaster.
    • Proof of layoffs or reduced hours for staff as a consequence of a decline in income or canceled orders.
  • TAX ASSISTANCE

    IRS Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic (Federal Government)

    The Secretary of the Treasury has been instructed “to provide relief from tax deadlines to Americans who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency".  Please read the grant of relief offered to all taxpayers.

    Notice 2020-17 (PDF), Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic.

    The Governor of California issued an executive order that outlines other programs to assist businesses and employees.

    Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) 

    Emergency Paid Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave: the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that private small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Employers are encouraged to visit the U.S. Department of Labor website and IRS website for additional information on purpose, qualification, and frequently asked questions. (Currently not applicable to State and local governmental units).

    Sales Tax (State of California)

    California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) has the authority to assist individuals and businesses impacted by complying with a state or local public health official’s imposition or recommendation of social distancing measures related to COVID-19. This assistance includes granting extensions for filing returns and making payments, relief from interest and penalties, and filing a claim for refund.

    For more information please contact CDTFA: https://www.cdtfa.ca.gov/services/covid19.htm

    Small Business Relief Payment Plans (CDTFA)

    Effective April 2, 2020, small business taxpayers, those with less than $5 million in taxable annual sales, can take advantage of a 12-month, interest-free, payment plan for up to $50,000 of sales and use tax liability.

    Other Expenses

    Payroll (State of California)

    Employers experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for an extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return. For questions, employers may call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center toll-free from the U.S. or Canada: 1-888-745-3886.

    Workshare Program (State of California)

    Employers can apply for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Work Sharing Program if reduced production, services, or other conditions cause them to seek an alternative to layoffs.

    The Work Sharing Program helps employees whose hours and wages have been reduced:

    • Receive UI benefits.
    • Keep their current job.
    • Avoid financial hardships
  • More details and forms are available at https://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Work_Sharing_Program.htm 

    Business Insurance

    The California Department of Insurance has put together an FAQ on business insurance recognizing that COVID-19 is affecting many businesses throughout the state. The Department issued guidance for businesses regarding insurance coverage and particularly about Business Interruption Insurance coverage.

    City of Morgan Hill water and wastewater services

    To assist our residents and businesses during these uncertain times, Morgan Hill will not assess late penalties nor terminate services due to delinquency through June. We ask customers to reach out to Utility Billing for more information or request a payment arrangement.

    Transient Occupancy Tax (Hotels Only)

    To assist our Hoteliers, Morgan Hill will waive the penalties on late TOT payments for up to 30 days after the Shelter-In-Place Order is lifted. Please note that interest on late payments still applies.  

    Pacific Gas & Electric

    PG&E has made service modifications for Impacted Customers.

    1. Suspended service disconnections for non-payment and waive new service deposit requirements for residential and small business;
    2. Implemented flexible payment plan options; and
    3. Provided additional support for low-income and medical baseline customers.
  • If a customer is experiencing financial hardships and has trouble paying their bill due to the economic impact of COVID-19, they can help. Please call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

    RELATED TO EMPLOYEES (FOR EMPLOYERS)

    Sick Leave

    Employers can receive payroll tax relief for providing employees with up to 80 hours for paid sick leave for those unable to come to work due to COVID-19 illness. Employers are compensated through reduced payroll tax payments. In addition, compensation is available to allow employees to take care of a family member or their child due to school closure. Additional information about the caps on compensation amounts, the duration of additional leave, and potential for small business exemptions is available through the Department of Labor www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave.

    Telework/ Telecommuting

    The State human resources website and Federal human resources website may provide good insights into the benefits and limitations of allowing employees to keep productive if they are unable to go to the job site. 

    Evictions

    County of Santa Clara Eviction Moratorium Includes Small Businesses:
    The County of Santa Clara adopted a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions related to COVID 19. If the eviction is due to financial inability to pay rent or medical issues resulting from the coronavirus, commercial and residential tenants are safe from eviction through August 31 unless extended.

    Santa Clara County has issued an Ordinance covering March 24 through to August 31, unless otherwise extended, ordering that small businesses located in the County renting or leasing real property for commercial, business, income-producing, or otherwise non-residential use, cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent if such business suffered a substantial loss of income due to COVID-19. Refer to County Ordinance NS-9.289 for further details. The County’s ordinance relies on U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) definitions of small businesses based on industry. Find detailed information and an FAQ on the Santa Clara County moratorium page.

    On August 31, 2020, the State of California legislature enacted Assembly Bill No. 3088, effective immediately, that provides state-wide eviction and foreclosure protections for many tenants and property owners suffering from economic hardship due to COVID-19. For small business tenants who qualify for protection under the County’s ordinance, the County's eviction moratorium has been extended through April 30, 2021. Protected small business tenants have up to 6 months after the moratorium expires or terminates to repay at least 50% of the past-due rent, and up to 12 months after the moratorium expires or terminates to repay in full the past-due rent.

    The residential tenant protections of the County’s eviction moratorium are deemed to have expired on August 31, 2020 and replaced by state law protections.