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(December 3, 2020) Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that due to the steeply increasing rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations and infections, regions of California where hospital intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity is less than 15% will be subject to a Safer at Home Order. This new Order will direct residents to cease gathering with others outside their households, limit nonessential travel, limit capacity on retail stores to 20%, shut down restaurants except for takeout and delivery, and close the following sectors: personal care services, hair salons/barbershops, bars, and wineries.

Southern California is expected to fall under these restrictions within days due to its regional ICU capacity. Once enacted, the Safer at Home Order would last for at least three weeks. Regions will have 48 hours to comply with the order after the announcement. After three weeks, the Order would be lifted when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15%. This will be assessed on a weekly basis after the initial three weeks.

According to Newsom, statewide hospitalizations related to COVID-19 increased by 86% in the last 14 days. Mayor Robert Garcia announced two days ago that hospitalizations in the Long Beach area have increased 413% within the last 30 days – 29 patients to 149 patients. The ICU occupancy at these five hospitals is 64%. There has been a 313% increase in new reported COVID-19 cases over the past month, according to Garcia.

The current rising rates are expected to increase even more sharply within weeks due to infections caused by Thanksgiving gatherings. Newsom explained he is taking this action to ensure California’s hospitals have enough capacity to care for residents.

The Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) understands that these restrictions will undoubtedly cause further strain to our community, particularly struggling businesses and their workers. DLBA will continue to keep the community informed of resources to assist them through these advisories and our COVID-19 Resource Page. Businesses are encouraged to sign up for DLBA’s bi-weekly Business Resource Newsletter by clicking here.

NEW FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR BUSINESSES

This week, the State of California announced additional financial support available to small and medium sized businesses. Information about these programs will be posted to www.Covid19.ca.gov. These include:

  • Sales Tax Deferral: California is allowing businesses generating less than $1 million in sales tax to automatically defer their sales tax payment for three months.
  • The Main Street Tax Credit: $1,000 per qualified employee and up to $100,000 for each business employer.
  • COVID-19 Relief Funds: $500 million in COVID relief funds will be available for small businesses, nonprofits, and cultural institutions, which are eligible for grants of up to $35,000 each.

Local financial aid opportunities for restaurants announced this week include:

  • The Keep Los Angeles County Dining Grant Program: Grants of up to $30,000 are provided to restaurants for use in working capital, employee payroll, outstanding business expenses, and adaptive business practices needed to remain open. The application period closes this Sunday, December 6, at 11:59 PM OR when 2,500 applications are received – whichever comes first. Previous beneficiaries of L.A. County CARES Act funding are ineligible. Click here for more information: keeplacountydining.lacda.org
  • Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has also announced plans for assistance for the restaurant industry. His $5 million Restaurant, Brewery & Bar Resiliency Fund will be considered by the Long Beach City Council on Tuesday, December 8. If approved, the initiative would leverage anticipated federal COVID-19 stimulus funding to assist businesses that are closed or have limited operations due to health orders.