Carlsbad, CA –As we start the month of April, we are entering a critical time for “flattening the curve.” If you’re wondering what this phrase means, it refers to the need to slow the spread of COVID-19 so cases don’t exceed the health care system’s ability to provide needed care at any given time. The strategy for this is twofold: slow the spread of cases and increase capacity at local hospitals. To date, I have focused these updates on information most of interest to our residents. Today, I want to also share some information about our local businesses.
Resources for businesses Local businesses, like businesses everywhere, are being hard hit by the current crisis. Many have had to close or significantly modify their operations. The city is working with the Chamber of Commerce and the Carlsbad Village Association to share information and resources specific to businesses. We recently set up a business resources webpage, and our Life in Action economic development website is capturing stories of how Carlsbad companies are doing their part to help combat this global pandemic.
Restaurant guide One creative resource we created to help connect people with local businesses is an interactive map of nearly 100 restaurants operating consistent with the public health orders (takeout and delivery). If you have the means, please consider supporting these local restaurants. If you know someplace that’s open but not yet on the list, email us the information at email@example.com.
Fees and taxes The city has given companies more time to pay for license renewals, and state tax payments have been pushed out until July by the Governor. Details are on our business resources page.
CARES Act The Corona Aid, Relief and Economic Security – also known as CARES – Act has a number of programs and resources for residents and businesses. As you can see in the link, it’s lengthy and complex. We will be sharing summary information most relevant to our community in the coming days. Here are a few details related to business:
- Significant funding to expand the Small Business Administration and its programs including loan guarantees, small business development centers, emergency economic injury disaster loans, loan subsides and secondary market guarantee sales.
- $349 billion has been authorized for potentially forgivable loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees as well as nonprofits and sole proprietorships.
- Businesses that closed or suspended operations due to coronavirus can take a one-year credit against the qualified wages it continues to pay employees between March 13, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020.
- Employer Payroll Tax and Self-Employment Tax payments are delayed by CARES.
Other resources Local companies can apply for low-cost loans through the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is producing a live blog dedicated to providing companies with information during this emergency.
Their Coronavirus Small Business Guide is a helpful resource outlining steps small businesses, independent contractors, and gig economy workers can take to access federal support.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers provides information on how businesses that continue to operate can do so safely.
Business survey The city is participating with our regional economic development partners to assess the impact of the crisis on our businesses. There is a survey that has gone out across the region that we are encouraging our local companies to fill out. Our team is also working directly with our Carlsbad companies and organizations to find additional ways the city can help. You can sign up to receive updates on business information, and submit questions and input by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latest numbers Yesterday the County of San Diego made two changes to how it reports the daily number of cases:
- County numbers will now be released at 2:30 p.m. instead of the evening.
- Location information is now broken down by ZIP code.
To date, the county reports:
- 734 confirmed cases total, 27 in Carlsbad
- 9 deaths
Disclaimer I will continue to share this data with you, and I will also continue to share the same disclaimers public health officials are stressing – numbers to date reflect who is being tested, not all cases in the community. Right now, this mostly includes:
- People already in the hospital
- First responders and health care workers
- People in high risk groups who have symptoms
The recommended actions do not change based on how many cases are near you, at your grocery stores or other places you might go. That’s because we know COVID-19 is spreading in our community, and most people are not yet being tested. Avoiding a certain essential store or service because of reported cases will at best give you a false sense of security. So, again, stay at home except for essentials, stay 6 feet from everyone not in your immediate household, don’t go out when you’re ill and wash your hands a lot.
- County breakdown by age, gender, need for hospitalization
- Bar chart showing changes in number of cases over time
- Cases by city, ZIP code and a map
- Detailed look at cases requiring hospitalization
New program for seniorsYesterday, Governor Newsom announced a new initiative to help Californians who are over the age of 65 stay connected while they stay at home.
The initiative urges all Californians to check in on their older neighbors with a call, text or door knock (followed by immediate physical distancing) to make sure they’re okay.
The governor also announced the creation of a statewide hotline, 833-544-2374, in partnership with 2-1-1, that anyone can call to ask questions or get guidance on how to help seniors.
City senior programs As a reminder, here in Carlsbad we are offering a free weekday lunch pickup at the senior center for Carlsbad residents 60 and older who make a reservation by noon the day before. Delivery can also be arranged. Our You Are Not Alone Program also offers free daily check ins via phone for seniors. More information on our senior programs is on our website.
Food safety We continue to hear a lot of questions about the safety of food from grocery stores and restaurant takeout and delivery. The main message is that COVID-19 is not known to spread through food. It spreads by inhaling droplets of fluid when people who have it cough or sneeze around you, and it spreads when you get the virus on your hands and touch your face. It needs to enter your respiratory system to infect you. It won’t survive in your stomach. It’s still good practice to wipe down surfaces and wash your hands frequently. Wash your fruit and vegetables. Wipe down the outsides of containers and put boxes and bags in the trash or recycling. Keep at least 6 feet from others when you go out. Here is a link to an updated list of local grocery store hours, along with those stores that offer special shopping hours for seniors and those at risk.
Mask confusion Information about who should wear what kinds of masks for what reasons remains somewhat inconsistent among global, national and local public health entities. The governor said he will issue statewide guidance this week. In the meantime, continue to follow all the health orders and guidelines already in place, which focus on physical distance, frequent hand washing and other precautions.
Stay informed We are keeping our website and social media up to date, seven days a week, with new developments. I encourage you to follow along and encourage that your friends and neighbors do the same. Here are those links:
Stay safe, stay home Thanks to everyone for complying with the stay at home order. We know it’s hard, and it will go on for a while still. We are also continuing to follow up in areas where people haven’t yet gotten the message. Based on this video – you can see by and large people are doing the right thing. That will make the difference for our community. Until tomorrow, stay safe, stay at home and continue to #Care4Carlsbad.
Scott Chadwick, City Manager