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COVID-19: Resources for Small Businesses

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have talked with business owners and nonprofit leaders in the San Diego community and across the state. So many have adapted to these challenging circumstances and I heard their calls for help. This is why I supported legislation to provide $7.6 billion in emergency relief funding for small businesses, nonprofit organizations, families and individuals who have been impacted the most by the pandemic.

The COVID-19 Relief Budget Package provides recovery aid in various forms, including fee waivers and grant programs for small businesses. Find a list of available small business support below.

COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program

I am a proud Principal Co-author of SB 87, one of the bills included in this package. The bill adds $2.1 billion in additional funding to the COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program, which offers a lifeline to small businesses who need it most, specifically in industries hit hardest by the pandemic. Thanks to a strong bipartisan effort in the legislature, we were able to negotiate nearly $1.5 billion more than the Governor initially proposed. With the additional funding, this bill will help expand access and availability of direct grants to small businesses and nonprofits throughout the state. The program provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 depending on 2019 fiscal year revenue.

You can find more information on eligibility and the grant program application timeline HERE.

Access to Capital & Technical Assistance

The California Rebuilding Fund is now taking loan applications to support California's small businesses, especially those located in economically disadvantaged and historically under-banked areas. Businesses with 50 employees or less and revenues less than $2.5 million or below in 2019 are eligible to apply.

Find more information and apply HERE

Fee Waivers for Heavily Impacted Licensees

Various licensing fees are now being waived through 2023 for some of the most heavily impacted industries. Nearly 59,000 businesses licensed under the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will not be required to pay annual renewal fees that range from $455 to $1,235. Licenses with an expiration date of March 1, 2021 through January 31, 2022 may be eligible for the fee waiver. Find additional information and determine your eligibility HERE.

This fee waiver also applies to more than 600,000 barbershops, nail salons, and other cosmetology professionals licensed through the Department of Consumer Affairs. All licensees in this industry are eligible for the fee waiver. Find more information HERE.

Additional Support for Business Owners

During this unprecedented economic time, California has taken multiple actions to support small businesses. This includes:

  • Expanding eligibility for the California Earned Income Tax Credit to self-employed and small business owners. 
  • Waived $800 minimum franchise tax for small and medium-sized businesses during their first year of business creation. 
  • Exempting Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans provided to California small businesses under the CARES Act.

Find a complete list of resources available to small businesses HERE.