City of San Diego small business relief fund and resource guide

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Economic Assistance for San Diego Businesses Affected by COVID-19

To ensure the resiliency of local businesses and assist in job retention, the City of San Diego has established a Small Business Relief Fund (SBRF) to provide grants and forgivable or low- to zero-interest-rate loans to eligible small businesses for working capital. The goal of the SBRF is to help businesses retain employees and sustain continuity of business operations impacted by federal, California, San Diego County and local emergency declarations regarding COVID-19. Approximately $6.1 million is available in the SBRF, which is being administered by the City of San Diego Economic Development Department.

Financial assistance, in the form of grants and loans, will range from $10,000 to $20,000 and will be allocated to eligible, qualified small businesses based on the availability of funds, program guidelines and the submission of all required information and supporting documentation.

Businesses that are NOT eligible to request or receive SBRF financial assistance include, but are not limited to:

  • Lending and investment institutions and insurance companies
  • Golf courses, race tracks or gambling facilities
  • Nonprofit entities
  • Businesses engaged in any illegal activity per local, state or federal regulations with federal regulations taking precedence over local or state regulations.
  • Home-based businesses
  • Chain stores
  • Businesses with more than 100 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees as of Feb. 28, 2020.

How to Apply

Coming soon. A Small Business Relief Fund Application will be posted in the coming days. The online completion of this form will assist the Economic Development Department staff is assessing the needs of your business and connecting you with the most appropriate resources. 

Additional Economic Resources

The establishment of the SBRF is in addition to other steps the City is taking in consultation with–and at the direction of–County of San Diego public health officials to help people affected by and prevent the spread of the global pandemic known as COVID-19.

public health officials to help people affected by and prevent the spread of the global pandemic known as COVID-19.

On March 18, 2020, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer unveiled and outlined the City’s economic relief package that reduces fees, provides certainty and offers support to local employers. (Read the full press release.)

“Businesses are following public health orders, and we recognize this has an impact. This relief effort is about restoring some balance to the current situation,” Mayor Faulconer said. “San Diego businesses are making a necessary sacrifice while bearing a tremendous burden as they comply with these orders. We’re taking aggressive action today to help businesses stay afloat and continue to pay as many employees as possible.”   

Businesses are advised to reach out to their nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which has developed the Small Business Survival Resources Guide to help business owners navigate through the chaos COVID-19 is having on our communities. Download it here.

SBDC can help with applying for relief, guiding you through available resources and assisting with cash flow concerns, supply-chain interruptions, workforce capacity, insurance coverage and more–all at no cost.

Additionally, please consider the following federal and state resources listed below. We will continue to update resources as they become available.

U.S. Federal Support

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide $2M in Disaster Assistance Loans to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Learn More
  • SBA Guidance for employers to plan and respond to COVID-19. Learn more
  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers interim guidance for businesses and employers to plan, prepare and respond to coronavirus. Learn More
  • Department of Labor OSHA has guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.  Download now.

California State-Level Support

  • Employment Development Department (EDD): Reduced Work Hours | Unemployment Insurance Work-sharing Program (alternative to layoffs) Employer Info
  • EDD Tax Assistance: Request a 60-day extension to file payroll and more. Call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center 1-888-745-3886 (toll-free). Learn more
  • CA Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBANK): Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program (DRLGP) | Jump Start Loan Program and more.
  • Department of Industrial Relations: Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus. Review the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) and required protection.
  • California Department of Public Health (CDPH): Guidance document for “retail food, beverage, and other related service venue owners and management”  Read it here.
  • California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED): Economic Development Resources for novel Coronavirus and COVID-19 Learn more

Other Support and Resources

  • Emergency 0% interest loans to restaurants in San Diego’s South County. Learn more 
  • County of San Diego: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) information. Learn more
  • California Small Business Development Center (SBDC): Read the COVID-19 Small Business Survival Guide 
  • San Diego Workforce Partnership: Information and services that may assist employers who are forced to consider work stoppages, layoffs or furloughs. Also, SDWP has information about resources for impacted employees, including unemployment Insurance information, tax assistance, a work-sharing program to avoid layoffs, financial planning, remote career services and more. Learn more

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