The Restaurant Revitalization Fund program website is live with both sample application, program guide and cross-program eligibility chart on SBA COVID-19 relief options. You will be able to apply through SBA-recognized Point of Sale Restaurant Partners or directly via SBA in a forthcoming online application portal. Registration with SAM.gov is not required. DUNS or CAGE identifiers are also not required.
Please note, the portal for submitting applications will be opened in the coming weeks. The official application launch date will be announced shortly. Ahead of the application launch and over the next two weeks, the SBA will establish a seven-day pilot period for the RRF application portal and conduct extensive outreach and training on how to apply, application requirements and where to apply. Participants in this pilot will be randomly selected from existing PPP borrowers in priority groups for RRF and will not receive funds until the application portal is open to the public.
Following the pilot, the application portal will be opened to the public. For the first 21 days that the program is open, the SBA will prioritize reviewing applications from small businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Following the 21-day period, all eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications.
Information is available at Restaurant Revitalization Fund (sba.gov) and www.sba.gov/restaurantes for Spanish. Get the program details such as eligibility, funding amount, allowable use of funds and more. If you haven’t already, sign up for RRF email updates.
CA COVID-19 Relief Fund: Round 6 State of California + CalOSBA: Application Window: April 28 - May 4, 2021 Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and/or nonprofits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, 3, or 5 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria. Eligible grant award: $5,000 to $25,000. Details: Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, 3 & 5 do not need to re-apply and will be automatically moved into Round 6. New applicants will need to apply on this website. Click Here to Learn More + Apply
Keep Our Shops on the Block: LISC Application Window: April 26 - May 2, 2021 The Fund will be disseminating $4.7 million in financial relief through the new Keep Our Shops on the Block Grant, a $10,000 grant for small brick-and-mortar businesses in the personal care and retail sectors. Eligible businesses include: hair and beauty salons, nail salons, esthetic, skin care, electrology, barbershops, shoe repair shops, dry cleaners, automotive or appliance repair, flower shops, party supply stores, bookstores, apparel stores, bakeries, donut shops, community grocery stores/markets and variety discount stores. Click Here to Learn More + Apply.
Pasadena enters Yellow Tier: As of May 5, 2021, the City of Pasadena has entered the Yellow Tier of the State of California's Reopening Framework. The Pasadena Public Health Officer has issued a revised Public Health Order.
As part of the new Public Health Order, the following business protocols have been updated for compliance with the Yellow Tier:
- Restaurants, Bars & Breweries
- Family Entertainment Centers
- Office Worksites
- Fitness Facilities
- Museums & Galleries
- Indoor Seated Live Events
- Outdoor Seated Live Events
Portal for Indoor & Outdoor Events: Under the Yellow Tier, certain types of events may now occur in accordance with the Health Order and State framework. Businesses, cultural institutions, and event sponsors should submit their event to the Pasadena Public Health Department for review to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 health protocols for these business activities. To access the Event Portal, click here. Note that certain events may require additional city permits depending upon the nature of the activity.
City Hall Meeting for Pasadena Restaurateurs- May 13th at 3 pm: All restaurant owners and managers are invited to attend a virtual meeting with Pasadena's City Manager Steve Mermell and key city staff to discuss updates related to outdoor dining within the public right-of-way and private parking lots. City Staff will discuss important updates that all restaurants will need be aware of as it pertains to future plans and allowances for these business activities that were expanded during the pandemic. The meeting will take place on Thursday, May 13th at 3 pm and attendees can log-in with Zoom at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89582442605 or dial-in by calling 1-669-900-6833 and using passcode: 895 8244 2605.
Vaccines Available for Pasadena Businesses: Pasadenans, including individuals who work in Pasadena, 16 years of age or older may register for the COVID vaccine. Pasadena's Public Health Department will be hosting a number of vaccination clinics in the coming weeks. A schedule of Pasadena's upcoming clinics can be found here. To register for clinics, visit myturn.ca.gov. All vaccines will be administered on a first come, first serve basis.
COVID-19 Infection Rate Hits Record Low in Pasadena-California exceeds 60,000 total pandemic deaths: The rate of daily COVID-19 infections in Pasadena again reached a record low on Friday as the city reported a single new case of the virus and no additional fatalities for a second day in a row. Over the prior week, Pasadena reported an average of 2.1 new infections daily, according to city data. The same average was recorded on April 17. Prior to that, the city had not seen such a low rate of infection since March of 2020. In total, Pasadena Public Health Department officials had documented 11,205 cases of COVID-19. The local death toll has held at 340 since the last fatality in the city was reported on April 15.
Los Angeles County health officials announced that the county would resume use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine formulation on Saturday. Use had previously been halted nationwide as authorities investigated potential serious side effects. It was not immediately clear of the Pasadena Department of Public Health would follow suit. Officials previously said the city had only a small supply of that formulation, amounting to a couple of hundred doses.
Meanwhile, county officials reported 489 new infections and 27 deaths on Friday. Since March of 2020, the county had seen 1,230,786 documented infections and 23,759 fatalities. Just over 450 patients were being treated at county hospitals, with 24% of them in intensive care units, authorities added. Los Angeles County’s daily positivity rate was recorded at 0.8%. As of Friday, L.A. County represented 34% of California’s total COVID-19 infections and 40% of the state’s fatalities.
At the state level, public health officials announced 1,818 new infections and 94 deaths on Friday, bringing the pandemic totals to 3,626,656 cases of the virus and 60,086 fatalities. The statewide average positivity rate over the prior week held at 1.5%, according to California Department of Public Health records.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced new employer tax credits and other steps to encourage people reluctant to be inoculated to get the COVID-19 vaccine as his administration tries to overcome diminishing demand for the shots. The moves came as Biden celebrated reaching his latest goal of administering 200 million coronavirus doses in his first 100 days in office.
With more than 50% of adults at least partially vaccinated and roughly 28 million vaccine doses being delivered each week, demand has eclipsed supply as the constraining factor to vaccinations in much of the country.
In a White House speech Wednesday, Biden acknowledged entering a “new phase” in the federal vaccination effort that relies on increased outreach to Americans to get their shots, both to protect them and their communities.
President Joe Biden will propose almost doubling the capital gains tax rate for wealthy individuals to 39.6% to help pay for a raft of social spending that addresses longstanding inequality, according to people familiar with the proposal.
For those earning $1 million or more, the new top rate, coupled with an existing surtax on investment income, means that federal tax rates for wealthy investors could be as high as 43.4%. The new marginal 39.6% rate would be an increase from the current base rate of 20%, the people said on the condition of anonymity because the plan is not yet public.
A 3.8% tax on investment income that funds Obamacare would be kept in place, pushing the tax rate on returns on financial assets higher than rates on some wage and salary income, they said.
California lawmakers Monday revived a multibillion-dollar tax break for some businesses after the Biden administration assured them the proposal would not jeopardize the state’s own federal coronavirus aid.
The federal government has given California companies about $97 billion in loans during the pandemic, the majority of which business owners won’t have to pay back. Congress already lets business owners deduct expenses associated with those loans from their federal taxes. But California business owners still owe state taxes on that money.
California lawmakers wanted to change that, and they were prepared to do it earlier this year. But they put it off because they were afraid the proposal could force them to lose some of their own federal coronavirus aid.
That’s because Congress barred states from using coronavirus relief money to pay for tax cuts. Since the proposal would reduce how much money business owners pay in state taxes, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration worried it would count as a tax cut and would put some of the state’s $26 billion in federal aid at risk.
The U.S. Treasury Department assured the state it could pass the bill without forfeiting billions of dollars in federal aid. Monday, the state Senate voted 37-0 to do just that. The bill now heads to the state Assembly, where Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon called it “one of the biggest proposed tax cuts in California history.” The California Department of Finance says the tax break will cost the state between $4.4 billion and $6.8 billion over the next six years.
Vaccines: From the Wall Street Journal: Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at least one Covid-19 shot, the government said Sunday.
Economy: From the Wall Street Journal:Almost 130 million people 18 or older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, or 50.4% of the total adult population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Almost 84 million adults, or about 32.5% of the population, have been fully vaccinated.
The U.S. cleared the 50% mark just a day after the reported global death toll from the corona-virus topped three million, according to totals compiled by Johns Hopkins University, though the actual number is believed to be significantly higher.
The country’s vaccination rate, at 61.6 doses administered per 100 people, currently falls behind Israel, which leads among countries with at least five million people with a rate of 119.2. The U.S. also trails the United Arab Emirates, Chile and the U.K., which is vaccinating at a rate of 62 doses per 100 people, according to Our World in Data, an online research site.
U.S. employers might have trouble hiring workers fast enough in coming months to keep up with the projected burst of economic growth. Consumer spending at restaurants, hotels and salons is already starting to take off as the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic eases and more people get vaccinated and draw on their stimulus checks and savings.
But many economists expect economic activity to pick up faster than payrolls, at least initially, for several reasons, causing bottlenecks and wage pressures.
This happened last year for many manufacturers that experienced labor shortages as Americans working from home ordered more furniture, exercise equipment and other goods than before the pandemic. This year, it is likely to be the case particularly for providers of services requiring proximity to people, since they saw the biggest drops in business and employment during the pandemic and are poised to see the biggest rebound in demand this year.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal project U.S. gross domestic product— the value of all goods and services produced—will grow 6.4% this year, measured from the fourth quarter of last year to the same period of this year. That would lift output to nearly 4% above its pre-pandemic level measured in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Meanwhile, the economists expect employers to add 7.1 million jobs in the 12 months ending in December 2021, a gain of 5%. That would leave employment 1.6% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Unemployment claims in California rose slightly last week but remained below 100,000 for the second week in a row.
Workers across the state filed approximately 72,000 initial jobless claims during the week ending April 17, up about 3,000 from the 69,000 claims filed the previous week, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.
The latest unemployment filings in California marked the sixth time during the last 57 weeks that jobless claims ran below 100,000. Governmentordered business shutdowns and restrictions began in mid-March 2020.
Nationwide, unemployment claims totaled 547,000 for the week ending on April 17, a decline of 39,000 from the 586,000 claims filed the week ending April 10.
The current level of jobless claims is still far above what was the typical weekly amount prior to the start of the business shutdowns. During January and February of 2020, unemployment claims in California averaged 44,800 a week.
Workforce: From the Pasadena Star-News: Californians who swapped mind-numbing traffic and packed trains for “commutes” to a home office or living room don’t want to go back to their old daily grind. That’s according to a USC survey released Monday, which found more than half of those surveyed who are now telecommuting want to keep working from home at least three days a week after the pandemic ends. Just 18% are hoping they’ll go back to in-person work every day. USC professor Hernan Galperin, the study’s lead researcher, said the results show remote work has “great potential to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions.”
Then again, the shift might also pose a threat to public transportation agencies that count on streams of daily commuters for much of their revenue. The survey, from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the California Emerging Technology Fund, looked at the impact that access to broadband internet has had on people’s ability to work, learn and conduct doctor’s visits remotely.
Like other research on remote working during the pandemic, the survey found wealthier workers are more likely to telecommute — those who were considered “lowincome,” meaning they earned less than 200% of the federal poverty level, were twice as likely to report they are working in-person five days per week compared with higher earners.
Vaccine Passports: From the New York Times: Baseball is back across the state. Tickets to see Bad Bunny early next year were snatched up in no time. The Musso & Frank Grill — the iconic, very much indoors Hollywood haunt — has announced it will reopen on May 6.
That’s all been possible, officials and experts say, because increasing numbers of Californians are vaccinated.
And though the biggest hurdle for the state’s vaccine campaign has been a limited supply of doses, that’s changing quickly, officials say.
As of Monday, one in four Californians was fully inoculated and more than 40 percent of Californians have received at least one shot. All adults 16 and older are eligible to be vaccinated.
Many businesses have been allowed to reopen — but some can open at higher capacity if they require proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test. The state is also allowing larger groups to gather, if everyone is tested or fully vaccinated.
So how does one quickly and consistently prove they’ve been vaccinated? One option is what has come to be known as a “vaccine passport.”
Here’s what you need to know about what that would mean in California:
What is a vaccine passport?
Mostly, the term has been used to describe a digital certificate of vaccination. Think of the boarding pass you’d show on your phone to get through airport security, or of a digital concert ticket with a QR code.
Right now, you should receive a paper vaccination card when you get your first dose, but, of course, any kind of paper document is vulnerable.
Still, experts say that the term “passport” is misleading. It’s actually more like vaccine verification — something that has long existed in various contexts and forms. (Schools and summer camps, for instance, often require children to be inoculated against certain diseases.)
“We’re not calling it a passport, because that implies it’s a government-issued document,” Dr. Christopher Longhurst, U.C. San Diego Health’s chief information officer, told me. “That’s not what we’re talking about.”
Why is there a debate over the use of vaccine passports?
As with most things that involve health data, there are concerns about privacy. And as with everything that involves sorting people into groups of haves and have-nots, there are questions about fairness and ethics.
There are wide disparities in vaccination rates among countries, and vaccine passports could make international travel much easier for residents of wealthy countries.
In the United States, my colleagues reported, conservative politicians have turned “vaccine passports” into a political and cultural flash point, arguing that they infringe on Americans’ freedom. Some states, like Texas, have barred organizations receiving state money from requiring vaccine credentials.
The White House has said the federal government won’t support “a system that requires Americans to carry a credential.”
But legal experts have said that businesses like airlines, concert venues or warehouse operators are within their rights to require employees or customers to do things in the interest of public health. Many businesses have said they want to be able to assure customers that their fellow patrons are inoculated in order to coax them back.
Dr. Michael Jerrett, a professor of environmental health science at the U.C.L.A. Fielding School of Public Health, told me that as long as there is “equal access” to vaccines themselves, vaccine verification could be used to help prevent workplace outbreaks in the future.
The White House has said the federal government won’t support “a system that requires Americans to carry a credential” to prove they have received a coronavirus vaccine.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Will I need a vaccine passport if I live in California?
Not exactly. As The Los Angeles Times reported, the state is effectively encouraging venues to require proof of vaccination, as they are allowed to bring in more people if they do.
But state officials have emphasized they won’t require them.
So, Dr. Longhurst said, the state has effectively “tossed the ball” to private companies.
U.C. San Diego Health is partnering with the Vaccine Credential Initiative in an effort to ensure that whatever digital vaccine verification is required, there’s an “open standard” that’s consistent and secure no matter where you go.