What does it mean that the Regional Stay at Home Order has been lifted?

On Jan. 25, the California Department of Public Health issued guidance lifting the Regional Stay at Home Order due to projected increasing ICU capacity. All California counties will return to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and color-coded tiers. Santa Barbara County has returned to the Purple Tier and a Health Officer Order outlining the specific restrictions and allowances for Santa Barbara County businesses and residents took effect on Jan. 26.

The Limited Stay at Home Order, which limited non-essential activities between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., expired with the Regional Stay At Home Order ending. Some businesses that may reopen outdoors with modifications in the purple tier include restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters, museums, and zoos and aquariums. Personal care services may reopen indoors with modifications.

The County Health Order also includes the following changes:

  • Limited gatherings are allowed but must be private, outdoors, with wear face coverings, and are limited to no more than three households.
  • Outdoor dining is allowed, but no more than ten people can be at one table or tables pushed together.
  • Brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs that provide sit-down meals can operate outdoors only and must follow restaurant guidelines.
  • Live music is allowed at restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, bars, pubs, breweries, and brewpubs but must be outdoor only and with physical distance.
  • Hotels, short term rentals, open with modifications
  • Campgrounds can reopen

For more information about changes in the purple tier, visit https://publichealthsbc.org/purple-tier/. All businesses in Santa Barbara County, which are open or will be reopening, must follow all State guidance for their industry and self-certify that they are ready to reopen through completing the Online Self-Attestation. Businesses that have already self-certified are not required to do so again.

Is Santa Barbara County vaccinating people ages 65+?

Residents of Santa Barbara County who are age 65 and older will be eligible to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16. This expanded eligibility means that local health care providers, pharmacies, hospitals, and Public Health vaccination sites can open appointments to those 65+ once vaccines become available to them. Vaccine supplies are still very limited and health care providers are simultaneously ensuring those that received a first dose will also be able to receive a second dose. Appointments will be very limited. For information about the COVID-19 vaccine and countywide availability, visit www.publichealthsbc.org/vaccine/ or call 2-1-1 and press “4” for assistance. The County Call Center is available 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How can I stay up to date on SB County vaccination news?

Santa Barbara County is sending up-to-date, local vaccination information via email by registering at http://bit.ly/3nOnhnx. Updated information is also available at www.publichealthsbc.org/vaccine or by calling 2-1-1.

Am I eligible for the 2021 PPP loans?

The federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) resumed on Jan. 11, 2021 with new funding. The US Small Business Administration has opened its portal to accept First Draw PPP loan applications from lenders for businesses.

WHAT CAN PPP FUNDS BE USED FOR?

First Draw PPP Loans can be used to help fund payroll costs, including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations.

WHO QUALIFIES FOR FULL FORGIVENESS?

First Draw PPP Loans made to eligible borrowers qualify for full loan forgiveness if during the 8- to 24-week covered period following loan disbursement employee and compensation levels are maintained, the loan proceeds are spent on payroll costs and other eligible expenses; and at least 60 percent of the proceeds are spent on payroll costs.

WHO CAN APPLY?

Eligible small entities, that together with their affiliates (if applicable), have 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors—can apply. Entities with more than 500 employees in certain industries that meet SBA’s alternative size standard or SBA’s size standards for those particular industries can also apply.

CAN I REAPPLY OR INCREASE MY LOAN?

Existing PPP borrowers that did not receive loan forgiveness by Dec. 27, 2020 may: (1) reapply for a First Draw PPP Loan if they previously returned some or all of their First Draw PPP Loan funds, or (2) under certain circumstances, request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount if they previously did not accept the full amount for which they are eligible.

HOW AND WHEN CAN I APPLY?

Borrowers can apply for a First Draw PPP Loan until March 31, 2021, through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, eligible non-bank lender, or Farm Credit System institution that is participating in PPP.

HOW TO LEARN MORE?

Visit http://bit.ly/3i4GY9t for full details on the new round of PPP loans.

What are the basic COVID-19 elements of the federal COVID-19 relief act of 2021?

On Dec. 20, the House and Senate passed The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA), which the President signed into law on Dec. 27. The bill includes a $900 billion comprehensive package to provide COVID-19 relief to businesses and individuals, including a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for small businesses, extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), extension of unemployment insurance and $600 Economic Impact Payments (EIP) for individuals.

STIMULUS CHECKS & FAMILY RELIEF: The package includes another round of Economic Impact Payment for individuals. The payments are expected to begin in late December and will be made by Jan. 15. Unlike the CARES Act, which provided a maximum payment of $1,200, this bill provides up to $600 per individual before phasing out the amount. Direct payment checks will be provided to every adult and child earning up to $75,000. Individuals earning between $75,000 and $99,000 will get smaller checks, and individuals earning over $99,000 will not receive a payment.

The bill also includes other relief for families, such as allowing families who experience income loss to use 2019 income to determine eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. It also provides greater flexibility for families with Flexible Spending Accounts, since many experienced changes in child care expenses. Finally, the bill prioritizes educational assistance for individuals—provisions include allowing up to $5,250 of employer-provided student debt payments to be excluded from gross income.

SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF: The federal act provides significant relief for small businesses, including $284.45 billion for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to operate and administer initial and second draw Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The second draw loan program lays out new parameters for eligibility—in order for a business to qualify, it would need to have 300 or fewer employees and have a 25% decline in revenue in any quarter of 2020 as compared to the same quarter in 2019. The bill also simplifies the loan forgiveness process for borrowers with PPP loans of $150,000 or less, and it expands the types of expenses that are forgivable to include operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs and worker protection expenditures.

The State of California provides details about small business financial assistance at https://covid19.ca.gov/business-and-employers/.

UNEMPLOYMENT: There will be a second round of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments to supplement state benefits. Weekly unemployment payments will include up to $300 in additional assistance through March 14, 2021. People who are self-employed and gig workers will also receive extended assistance. The $600 FPUC payments included in the CARES ACT expired at the end of July of 2020. The State of California is still updating its information but should soon have new resources at https://edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/pandemic-unemployment-assistance.htm

RENTAL ASSISTANCE: The eviction moratorium now in effect will be extended until Jan. 31. It also includes $25 billion to help families cover the cost of rent. Resources for renters impacted by COVID-19 can be found at https://www.hud.gov/coronavirus/renters

What is SB County's prioritization plan for the COVID-19 vaccine?

In accordance with guidelines from the California Department of Public Health, Santa Barbara County is taking a phased approach to vaccinating individuals for COVID-19. The strategy is designed to ensure high-risk community members are prioritized as vaccine distribution continues. Details on the anticipated timeline and prioritization plans are available at https://publichealthsbc.org/vaccine/. For further questions about COVID-19 vaccination, email vaccine@sbcphd.org or call 2-1-1.

What is the State's Blueprint for a Safer Economy?

The Blueprint for a Safer Economy incorporates new data and research about the disease. The Blueprint has replaced the County Data Monitoring List for determining which businesses can and cannot open. By adopting the Blueprint, the State has made it easier for counties to see how changes affect the disease’s trajectory and for businesses and customers to plan ahead. Within the Blueprint, every County is categorized based on its case rate and its positivity rate. Learn more HERE.

Are face-covering required in the City of Carpinteria?

A statewide face covering order requires all individuals age 2 and over to wear face coverings within businesses and outdoors at all times when social distancing is difficult to maintain. Additional details are available HERE. Free face coverings can be obtained at the Santa Barbara County Administration building lobby (105 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara) and at the Santa Barbara Health Care Center (345 Camino del Remedio, Santa Barbara).

What parking restrictions are in place now?

Normal parking enforcement is now taking place in the City of Carpinteria.

How do I know if a business is certified for reopening?

The County of Santa Barbara has released an interactive map at https://bit.ly/2CuTDl7 that identifies businesses which have gone through the County process and received their certification for reopening. Map users can scroll through the county and magnify cities and neighborhoods of interest. Additionally, the search tool can be used to locate a business by typing in its name or address. Businesses identified with check marks have met the requirements for reopening.

Where can I find updates on COVID-19 data in SB County?

Daily status reports are posted at https://publichealthsbc.org/status-reports/ SB County reopening metrics are posted at https://publichealthsbc.org/santa-barbara-county-reopening-metrics/

Can I expand my business onto sidewalks & parking areas?

The City of Carpinteria has implemented a temporary COVID-19 outdoor business permit program to allow businesses to operate in the City right-of-way and other privately owned outdoor spaces. Businesses can apply for permission to use sidewalks and parking areas for restaurant seating, retail merchandise or other permitted operations.

To be eligible, businesses must complete the self-certification process through the County of Santa Barbara. Businesses interested in expanding onto private property, such as private parking lots and walkways, can learn more HERE. Businesses interested in expanding into public right-of-ways, including sidewalks and parking spaces, can learn more HERE. To find out more, contact Joshua Patricio at (805) 755-4445.