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COVID-19 Update for June 21, 2021: Masks Still Recommended, Outdoor Dining to 2022? and More

Cases: For the third day in a row, Pasadena health officials on Thursday detected a single new COVID-19 case in the city.

It had been two weeks since the city reported a fatality, according to Pasadena Public Health Department data.

In total, the city has recorded 11,317 infections and 349 deaths.

Over the prior week, an average of 1.9 Pasadenans contracted the virus daily, according to city data.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 249 infections and eight deaths on Thursday, bringing the county’s pandemic totals to 1,247,032 COVID-19 cases and 24,428 fatalities.

Additionally, 223 patients were being treated for the virus county-wide, with 22% of them being treated in intensive care units, officials said

“Although there is concern that overall vaccination numbers are slowing, the County is seeing some gratifying increases in vaccination in younger age groups,” the L.A County Department of Public Health said in a written statement. “Nearly one-third of 12 to 15-year-olds have received at least one vaccine, as have nearly half of 16 to 17-year-olds.”

L.A. County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer said she’d like to see thoe figures climb even faster.

“Given how much protection vaccinations provide, it will be important to improve the rates of vaccination among young and middle-aged adults, many of whom are part of our essential workforce and who may be participating in more activities now that we are fully reopened,” Ferrer said.

“The most effective strategy to reduce the likelihood that outbreaks will arise due to large numbers of unvaccinated people exposed at worksites or gathering at events, is closing vaccination coverage gaps,” she said.

“We urge everyone, especially those who are not or cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19, to continue to exercise caution and good judgment as physical distancing requirements and capacity limitations are removed,” Ferrer added. “This includes always wearing a mask when indoors at workplaces, public settings, and businesses. If you are unvaccinated and will have sustained close contact with others whose vaccination status is not known or they are unvaccinated, consider using a respirator to protect yourself more effectively from the virus.”

At the state level, authorities announced 829 new infections and 31 deaths on Thursday, raising the overall totals to 3,699,455 cases of COVID-19 and 62,565 fatalities.

The state’s average positivity rate over the prior week was recorded at 0.9%, according to the California Department of Public Health Data.

As of Thursday, L.A. County accounted for 34% of California’s COVID-19 infections and 39% of the state’s deaths.

Los Angeles County businesses whisked away many coronavirus restrictions Tuesday and many residents shed their long-required masks for rolling around town.

But officials warned, amid the celebrations, that people shouldn’t toss those masks in the garbage just yet.

Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that unvaccinated people should continue to wear face coverings as statewide capacity and physical distancing restrictions are lifted, noting that many people in the county still are not vaccinated.

As of Tuesday, 5.4 million county residents, representing 66% of the eligible population, had received at least one dose of vaccine. About 4.66 million, or 56% of eligible residents, were fully vaccinated.

Los Angeles County reported six new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, along with 210 new infections.

To date, the county has recorded 24,416 deaths and 1,246,619 infections during the pandemic.

According to state figures, there were 216 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19 as of Tuesday, down from 218 on Monday. There were 49 people in intensive care, up from 43 a day earlier.

Mandatory face mask requirements, along with social distancing, will remain in place in L.A. County courthouses despite changes in state and county public health COVID-19 guidelines that went into effect today, the presiding judge of the county’s court system announced.

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor said workplaces have to continue to comply with Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards.

Vaccines: From the LA Times: Businesses see ease and risk in digital vaccine records-Many are worried that asking for proof of vaccination could scare off customers. By Carly Olson, Andrea Chang and Hugo Martín

Since California’s full reopening on June 15, employees of Rustic Canyon Family restaurants have been asking diners if they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who say they’ve been fully vaccinated are told they don’t have to wear a mask inside any of the 10 restaurants owned by the Santa Monica group, which include Cassia and Birdie G’s. Those who say they haven’t been jabbed must keep masks on while not eating or drinking.

But a new statewide system unveiled on Friday could mean the end of this kind of unverified self-reporting. By enabling residents to obtain digital versions of their vaccine cards, the new tool could make it easier for businesses to ask customers for proof of vaccination — if they choose to do so. Up until now, few have, fearful of alienating customers. With state officials taking pains to note that the new digital documents, which include scannable QR codes, are not so-called vaccine passports, it’s unclear whether a technological solution will do much to alter that status quo.

Rustic Canyon Family plans to keep asking customers to “self-attest” their vaccination status rather than seeking digital proof, said Joel Dixon, the group’s president. He noted that the state didn’t make proof of vaccination a requirement for customers and, given the staffing strains that restaurants are already under, having employees check each diner’s QR code or vaccine card “isn’t realistic from an operational perspective.”

Away from the customer-facing side of operations, it’s a different story. In March, Rustic Canyon Family implemented a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy for all 400 or so of its employees, who have until July 1 to show proof of vaccination unless they have a medical or religious exemption. Before Friday, employees could bring their physical cards or show a digital copy; the new QR codes will now be another acceptable form of proof, Dixon said.

Chris Cole, president of Roncelli Plastics Inc, a contract manufacturer in Monrovia, said that digital vaccine verification may be helpful once his plant begins having more visitors on site again for in-person meetings, which have largely been put on hold for the last 15 months.
Internally, Cole is already keeping records of his employees’ vaccination status. “I don’t see it having a big impact when it comes to our employees,” he said.

One subset of businesses that may be more directly affected are venues that host large gatherings. Los Angeles County health protocols require proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test for entry to indoor events with over 5,000 people and outdoor gatherings, like sports games, with at least 10,000 in attendance.

The Los Angeles Convention Center is hosting several gatherings of 5,000 or fewer people over the next few months and not requiring documentation from attendees. But once the center hosts larger gatherings, probably in the fall, convention officials plan to accept digital vaccination proof, said Ellen Schwartz, general manager of the center. She added that the pandemic protocols for the convention come from the county Department of Public Health, not the state, and she feels comfortable with the requirements imposed on the facility so far.

As of June 15, visitors to Staples Center are required to be vaccinated or have a negative test result within 72 hours of attending an event but are allowed to self-attest that they meet such guidelines before entering the arena. The arena requires all visitors to wear a mask or a face covering, regardless of their vaccination or negative test status, spokesperson Cara Vanderhook said. Asked if the protocol guidelines were sufficient, she said only that it is Staples Center’s policy to “follow all state and county guidelines and protocols as directed along with the NBA guidelines for current games.”

Dodger Stadium relies on fans to self-report their vaccination status and act accordingly. Vaccinated and unvaccinated fans can now sit next to one another during games, but unvaccinated fans are recommended under county health protocols to wear a mask or an appropriate face covering, except when eating or drinking, Dodgers spokesperson Jon Chapper said. But the Dodgers are not requiring or asking guests to verify their vaccination records, he said.

At the Disneyland Resort, parkgoers who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear a mask; Disney doesn’t request proof of vaccination. Instead, visitors have to attest they are in compliance when buying a ticket. The state’s new digital record system won’t change Disney’s policy, a spokesperson said.

For small businesses that don’t have to worry about capacity rules, the upside of being able to ask for digital proof of vaccination is less obvious than the potential pitfalls.

EconomyRetail sales fell in May, dragged down by a decline in auto sales and a shift by Americans to spend more on vacations and other services instead of goods. Total sales dropped a seasonally adjusted 1.3% in May from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday. Wall Street analysts expected a smaller decline of 0.5%.

Economists predicted retail sales to drop in May because of the lack of cars available for sale due to a worldwide shortage of chips, which are needed to power in-car screens and other features. Sales at auto dealerships fell 3.7% last month, the government said. Another reason for the decrease: More Americans are vaccinated and want to head out more, they are spending more of their money on haircuts, trips and other services that are not included in Tuesday’s report. Last month, sales fell at furniture, electronics and home building stores.

That switch will also likely help reduce the supply shortages that have plagued some parts of the economy and pushed up inflation. There are signs this is already happening: With car prices rising, auto sales have slowed. Vehicle sales soared in the pandemic, which means fewer people need new cars. And according to a separate government report Tuesday, automakers ramped up production in May, after it fell in two of the previous three months.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week for the first time since April despite widespread evidence that the economy and the job market are rebounding steadily from the pandemic recession.

The Labor Department said Thursday that jobless claims rose 37,000 from the week before to 412,000. As the job market has strengthened, the number of weekly applications for unemployment aid has fallen for most of the year. The number of jobless claims generally reflects the pace of layoffs.

Weekly applications for unemployment aid had dropped for six straight weeks, and economists had expected another dip last week. Still, the report showed the the fourweek average of claims, which smooths out week-to-week ups and downs, fell by 8,000 last week to 395,000 — the lowest four-week average since the pandemic slammed the economy in March 2020.

From the LA TimesReopening of California fuels job growth- Employers added over 100,000 positions in May, but experts say full recovery is far off. By Margot Roosevelt

California has added jobs at a torrid rate since the beginning of the year, but the state’s economy has a long way to go before it recovers its pre-pandemic prosperity. May was the fourth month that Golden State payrolls grew by more than 100,000 positions — a faster post-recession rate than in any previous recovery. Employment grew to 16.35 million jobs, but just 51.8% of the 2.7 million lost in March and April 2020 had returned as of last month, state officials reported Friday.

The Golden State’s jobless rate fell slightly last month, to 7.9% from a revised 8% in April. It was a vast improvement from a 16% peak in April 2020, but that rate was considerably higher than the pre-pandemic rate of 4.3% in February 2020.

Unemployment in Los Angeles County, which is still suffering from the loss of international tourism and the slow recovery of entertainment industry jobs, was stagnant at 11.1% in May, the same as in April.

Nationwide, unemployment stood at 5.8% in May, and the U.S. had recovered 66% of the jobs it lost during the pandemic.
Still, many economists are optimistic that with expanding vaccinations and the lifting of restrictions on California businesses this week, the labor market will accelerate. “We are emerging from the scourge of COVID-19,” said Lynn Reaser, an economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. “With California’s economy fully open as of June 15, job prospects for the rest of the year are very strong.”

In May, California’s leisure and hospitality industry added the most workers — 62,300 — with gains in restaurants, bars and hotels, as well as entertainment and recreation businesses. But the hard-hit sector is still down more than 517,000 payroll jobs since the pandemic hit.

Education and health services added 16,500 workers. Information gained 11,200 jobs, mainly in motion picture and sound recording companies.
Construction lost 1,600 jobs, more than any other sector, mainly due to losses in commercial building. But lumber prices, a lack of buildable land and labor shortages could be weighing on residential payrolls too, Anderson said.

Regionally, Northern California’s technology-rich economy continued to outshine the rest of the state. May unemployment was 4.6% in San Mateo County, 4.7% in Santa Clara County and 5.1% in San Francisco. Joblessness was at 5.9% in Orange County, 7.2% in Riverside County and 7.3% in San Bernardino County. About 48% of California residents are fully vaccinated. After falling in the spring, inoculation rates have risen with expanded neighborhood distribution and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “Vax for the Win” program offering cash, vacations and event tickets to the newly vaccinated. The lifting of many COVID-related restrictions on physical distancing and capacity at businesses, along with new rules allowing vaccinated workers and customers to go unmasked, is expected to further buoy the economy.

Still, many small businesses have closed and, overall, small-business revenues are down 28.7% since the start of the pandemic. 

One indication that California’s recovery is still lagging behind came as the state this week reported a jump in workers filing for first-time unemployment.
Last week’s 68,600 new claimants represented more than 17% of U.S. filings, although the state accounts for 11.7% of the nation’s civilian labor force. That compares with about 44,000 a week in the two months before the pandemic.

As businesses seek to bring back workers, UCLA economists warned in a forecast this month that the recovery will be more uneven than in previous recessions, given how abruptly and drastically it devastated the economy. Job postings in the state have returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to Opportunity Insights, a Harvard University research group. Still, 1.49 million.

State unemployment insurance, along with a federal $300 weekly supplement, has enabled many Californians with lingering health concerns and child-care responsibilities to delay rejoining the workforce.

With the pandemic waning, Californians who receive jobless benefits will have to show next month that they are looking for work, a requirement the state waived last year when COVID-19 kept people indoors. May’s employment data are based on two federal surveys taken in the second week of the month. Payroll job numbers are based on a survey of 80,000 California businesses. The unemployment rate comes from a separate survey of 5,100 households.

From the New York Times: Millions of workers have voluntarily left their jobs recently, one of the most striking elements of the newly blazing-hot job market. According to the Labor Department, nearly four million people quit their jobs in April, the most on record, pushing the rate to 2.7 percent of those employed. The rate was particularly high in the leisure and hospitality industry, where competition for workers has been especially fierce. But the number of those quitting registered across the board.

Economists believe that one reason more workers are quitting is simply a backlog: By some estimates, more than five million fewer people quit last year than would otherwise be expected, as some workers, riding out the labor market’s convulsions, stuck with jobs they may have wanted to leave anyway. (And the millions of involuntary job losses during the pandemic surely accounted for some of the reduction in quitting.) Now that the economy is regaining its footing, workers may suddenly be feeling more emboldened to heed their impulses.

But another factor may be the speed with which the economy has reawakened. As the pandemic has receded and the great reopening has swept across the country, businesses that had gone into hibernation or curtailed their work force during the pandemic have raced to hire employees to meet the surging demand.

At the same time, many people remain reluctant to return to work because of lingering fears of the virus, child care or elder care challenges, still-generous unemployment benefits, low wages or other reasons.

The Fed: The economy is changing so fast that just making sense of it is no easy task. Within a few months, the United States has gone from no jobs and depressed prices to widespread labor shortages and uncomfortably high inflation.

In this most unusual recovery, the signals that economic policymakers use to inform their decisions are going haywire. What is one to make, for example, of the combination of strong growth in jobs and wages paired with millions of working-age people who seem to have no interest in returning to the workforce? It’s easy to imagine Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, as a pilot in unfamiliar territory with malfunctioning gauges. He’s doing what you’d want a pilot to do in those circumstances: looking to the horizon.

A recurring theme Wednesday, as he spoke to the news media after a Fed policy meeting, was his focus on the things that haven’t changed about the economy, the lessons learned in the expansion of the 2010s. He is resisting the urge to conclude that the pandemic fundamentally changed the most important dynamics.

To Powell’s mind, these are those lessons: American workers are capable of great things. The labor market can run hotter for longer than a lot of economists once assumed, with widely beneficial results. There are many powerful structural forces that will keep inflation in check. And for those reasons, the Fed should move cautiously in raising interest rates, rather than risk choking off a full economic recovery too soon.

His is a profoundly optimistic view of the coming years. He does not see the labor shortages of 2021 as evidence of lasting scars to the potential of American workers but rather as a reflection of the difficulty of reopening large sectors of the economy and reallocating labor after a pandemic. And he was dismissive of the possibility that spikes in both wages and prices would turn into a lasting 1970s-style spiral.

Inflation: From the New York Times: Lumber prices soared over the past year, frustrating would-be pandemic do-it-yourselfers, jacking up the costs of new homes and serving as a compelling talking point in the debate over whether government stimulus efforts risked the return of 1970s-style inflation.

The housing-and-renovation boom drove insatiable demand for lumber, even as the pandemic idled mills that had already been slowed by an anemic construction sector since the 2008 financial crisis. Lumber futures surged to unprecedented heights, peaking at more than $1,600 per thousand board feet in early May.

But since then, the prices of those same plywood sheets and pressure-treated planks have tumbled, as mills restarted or ramped up production and some customers put off their purchases until prices came down. It’s a dance of supply and demand that has reassured many experts and the Federal Reserve in their belief that painful price spikes for everything from airline tickets to used cars will abate as the economy gets back to normal.

Lumber prices in the futures market, for example, are down more than 45 percent from their peak, slipping below $1,000 for the first time in months. That’s still high — between 2009 and 2019, prices averaged less than $400 per thousand board feet — but the sell-off has been gaining momentum over the last few weeks. The price has fallen in 11 of the last 12 trading sessions, including a 0.5 percent drop to settle at $900.80 on Friday, according to FactSet data.

The Federal Reserve has created trillions of new dollars since the coronavirus hit and kept interest rates at rock-bottom levels. At the same time, the federal government is running record deficits, driven by spending on relief measures like stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits and small-business relief efforts in a bid to hasten the recovery from the pandemic.

Recent economic indicators have given credence to the idea that all that easy money will trigger inflation: In May, the Consumer Price Index, a broad measure of the costs of typical items that Americans buy, rose 5 percent compared from a year earlier — the fastest pace in 13 years.

But runaway inflation of the kind seen in the United States in the late 1960s and 1970s is a psychological process as much as an economic one. When inflationary expectations take hold, people become convinced that prices are on a never-ending escalator. They rush to buy now, at any price, and increases become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Instead, the lumber market’s behavior is a sign of consumer sanity, said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at the investment management firm Invesco.

Officials at the Fed, who have long argued that any price rise would be temporary, view the situation in much the same way.

More: The Biden administration is moving to end exemptions that allowed technology developed with U.S. government research funding to be exported for manufacturing overseas, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in an interview.

The change affects billions of dollars of grant money allocated by the Energy Department and is the latest effort to boost the country’s competitiveness with China. It primarily blocks small companies and nonprofits—largely universities and their spinoff businesses— from exceptions that allowed them to outsource manufacturing of technology developed with federal help, according to the department.

The department is making the change as part of President Biden’s supply-chain initiative, a strategy announced last week for boosting domestic manufacturing across high-tech industries. Those include semiconductors, rare-earth elements and large-capacity batteries used in electric vehicles, all industries in which Energy Department grants often feed key research and development.

 

COVID-19 Update for April 26, 2021-Information, Reopenings, Grants and more

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund program website is live with both sample applicationprogram 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.

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.

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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.

COVID-19 Coronavirus Update 4-19-2020-here is the latest information: grants, protocols, important links and more.

Final Round of COVID-19 Relief Grants from the State of California: The final round of the State of California's COVID-19 Relief Grant Program will open on April 28th and close on May 4th. This final round will accept new applications. Grant award amounts will be between $5,000 - $25,000. For more information and to apply, visit www.CAreliefgrant.com

Round 2 of 'Keep Our Shops on the Block' - Personal Care and Retail Recovery Grants Coming Soon! Retail & personal care service businesses are encouraged to apply for the LA Regional COVID-19 Fund grants. Brick and mortar businesses that meet minimum criteria may submit an application beginning April 26th and no later than May 2nd. Grants of $10,000 will be awarded through an online, random application system. For more information about the program and to apply, click here.   

Restaurants Care Resilience Fund- $3,500 Grants: Small restaurants are invited to apply for a grant of up to $3,500 from the recently launched Restaurants Care Resilience Fund. Funded by SoCal Gas in partnership with the California Restaurant Foundation, these grants are intended to support restaurants that have suffered losses related to COVID-19 and to pay for things like payroll and the hiring back of employees. The application deadline is Sunday, April 18th. For more information and to apply, visit www.restaurantscare.org/resilience/.

IFundWomen Grants Available: Deadline: April 26, 2021-Neutrogena® is teaming up with IFundWomen to give women-owned businesses in the health and wellness space a fresh start in 2021. Through this program, 10 qualified women entrepreneurs across the U.S. will each receive a $10,000 grant to support their fresh start after a challenging year in business. Applications are open through April 26. Click Here to Learn More + Apply

As part of the First Women campaign, Jane Walker and IFundWomen have teamed up to help create more opportunities for women to achieve their goals. Jane Walker will be funding a total of 30 groundbreaking women-owned businesses through the end of the year. Businesses will be selected across the Entertainment & Film, Music, Sports, STEM, Journalism and Hospitality industries to receive a $10K grant plus a one-year Annual Coaching Membership on IFundWomen. Click Here to Learn More + Apply

How to Identify and Apply for Small Business Grants: Small Business Majority, April 20, 2021 | 10:00 AM (PT) One year into the pandemic, small business owners are still having to navigate changing health regulations, ongoing stay at home orders and an influx of funding options. We know that many small business owners need help to address these immediate financial concerns and to access critical resources for their employees and their businesses. Click Here to Register

Property owners can now apply for the Mortgage Relief Program, a partnership with Neighborhood Housing Services of LA County and local HUD-approved housing counseling agencies. The $5.5 million initiative developed by the LA County Board of Supervisors will support property owners who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mortgage Relief Program will include a relief fund which provides grants of up to $20,000 for qualified property owners, plus expanded foreclosure prevention counseling services. The program is structured to benefit single-family homeowners and property owners with four or fewer units living in communities highly impacted by COVID-19. To apply now for the Mortgage Relief Program, call (888) 895-2647 or visit nhslacounty.org/mortgagereliefprogram.

Virtual Forum: Bankruptcy Law for Small Businesses-Questions about bankruptcy law? Join the Los Angeles County Consumer & Business Affairs on Thursday, April 22 at 11:00 am to learn about its application to small businesses. RSVP Now

Globally: The global death toll from the coronavirus topped a staggering 3 million people Saturday amid repeated setbacks in the worldwide vaccination campaign and a deepening crisis in places such as Brazil, India and France.
The number of lives lost, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Kyiv, Ukraine; Caracas, Venezuela; or metropolitan Lisbon, Portugal. It is bigger than Chicago (2.7 million) and equivalent to Philadelphia and Dallas combined.
And the true number is believed to be significantly higher because of possible government concealment and the many cases overlooked in the early stages of the outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019.

Cases-the Numbers and More: Pasadena’s coronavirus infection rates held steady last week as of Thursday — though officials say they’d prefer if it was going down a little more. Meanwhile, the city’s vaccination rate accelerated with an 8 percentage point jump — an improvement over the past few weeks that have mostly seen 5 or 6 percentage point increases — as nearly 66% of all residents have now received at least one dose, city data shows. Four out of 10 residents have been fully vaccinated as everyone over the age of 16 is now eligible to get the jab, whether it’s from the city, county, local pharmacy or a medical network such as Kaiser Permanente.

Within the next day or so, the Pasadena Public Health Department will release an updated health order to align with recent guidance from the state around indoor live events, such as theaters, as well as private social gatherings of many types. Most of the guidance will be similar to existing rules, Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, the city’s health director and medical officer, said in a Thursday interview, though it will be more nuanced and complicated. There will be instructions for buildings’ ventilation systems and social distancing, while indoors; there will be protocols for using tests to keep folks safe and will say how the rules should change when the majority of folks have been vaccinated.

The biggest shift in guidance will be around indoor live events — something that still hasn’t returned in earnest after more than a year of closures — but the state has said could reopen as soon as June 15. Goh said the city’s soon-to-be-released guidance will require a worker testing program to be in place. It will bar patrons from eating in their seats, though it will allow for an indoor dining space that will be the only place one is allowed to take their mask off. It also will have instructions for how businesses can optimize their ventilation systems.
Goh said her department has been talking to Pasadena’s local venues, helping them figure out ways to get back up and running for the summer. Guidance and protocol information from the Pasadena Public Health Department can be found at: https://www.cityofpasadena.net/covid-19/#health-orders.

The city’s infection rate largely held steady past week, declining slightly from 2.7 cases per day on average to 2.4, measuring from April 8 to Thursday. It’s a bit higher than April 9, when cases dipped to 1.7 cases per day — a pandemic low — but these are typical fluctuations that are most noticeable when case counts are hovering so low. Since April 9, case counts have wavered between 2.9 and 2.4 cases per day on average, depending on the day.

On the vaccine front, the city saw big gains in two age groups: 45- to 64-year-olds as well as 18- to 44-year-olds.
The younger folks received about 4,000 doses last week; the older ones got about 3,500. Nearly half of all 18to 44-year-olds have now received at least one vaccination — 48.8% — while 72.7% of 45- to 64-year-olds have gotten the jab once. The vast majority of those older than these two groups have gotten at least one shot.

Meanwhile, about 1 in 5 of those younger than those two groups also has gotten a shot. That number is expected to rise in the coming weeks now that eligibility has expanded to everyone over age 16.

The city’s racial data was a little skewed last week, making it difficult to say how progress fared in that arena. The city found racial data for more than 4,200 patients, who already received a shot, city data shows, making it difficult to observe week-toweek progress.
However, at this point, communities of color are still lagging behind white and Asian residents.

• 62% of White residents have received at least one shot.
• 30.4% of Latino residents have received at least one shot.
• 42.3% of Black residents have received at least one shot.
• 59.1% of Asian/Pacific Islander residents have received at least one shot.

Los Angeles County reported 527 new cases of COVID-19 and 29 additional deaths Saturday and the county’s daily test positivity rate of 0.9% is the lowest it has been since the beginning of the pandemic. According to state figures — which are typically one day ahead of county figures — the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Los Angeles County dropped from 498 Friday to 486. That’s down from 512 Thursday and 518 Wednesday. There were 112 people in intensive care, down from 117 Friday. The latest numbers brought the county’s totals to 1,228,564 cases and 23,626 fatalities since the pandemic began, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

This week, the county will receive an allocation of 361,750 doses, a 12% increase from last week. That supply will be supplemented by direct allocations by the state and federal governments to specific providers such as major health systems, health care centers and pharmacies. With those allocations, more than 600,000 new doses will be available across the county this week, Simon said.

Vaccines: The State of California has expanded vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 years-old or older. 

Out of an abundance of caution, Los Angeles County is following the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reports that six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed unusual types of blood clots 6 to 13 days after receiving the vaccine. This pause will last until the FDA and CDC complete their review, which is expected to take several days. Vaccine providers in LA County will contact patients about rescheduling or providing a new appointment for Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

These reactions are extremely rare, as nearly 7,000,000 people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States to date. People who received the vaccine in the last 3 weeks should look for any symptoms of these unusual clots, including severe headaches, abdominal or leg pain, and shortness of breath, and contact their medical provider if symptoms develop. People who don't have a medical provider can call 2-1-1 to connect with a healthcare provider. To learn more, visit FAQ's: Johnson & Johnson Pause or VaccineLACounty.com.

The Economy: Pacific Theaters, which operates about 300 screens in California, including the ArcLight theaters and the historic Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, said Monday that it will not be reopening.

Employment: From the LA Times: California’s economy is slowly picking up as businesses reopen and new unemployment claims fall, but stubborn joblessness persists as many simply stop looking for work. In March, employers added 119,600 positions, state officials reported Friday. The Golden State has yet to recover 56% of the 2.7 million jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic last spring.

California’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.3% in March from 8.5% a month earlier but remained far higher than the 4.5% in March 2020, before the virus took hold. And last month’s slide was mainly caused by nearly 40,000 workers quitting the labor force, economists said.

The state’s economy is recovering more slowly than the nation’s as officials have been more cautious in lifting restrictions on businesses than in other states. After New York and Hawaii, California unemployment was the third-highest in the nation, tied with New Mexico. The U.S. jobless rate stood at 6% in March. “California is clawing back some of the huge job losses suffered during the pandemic, but much progress remains to be achieved,” said Lynn Reaser, an economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Payrolls nationally were 5.5% below pre-pandemic levels, compared with California’s 8.6% drop.

Along with its more restrictive policies to contain the virus, the state’s greater dependence on tourism has devastated its hotel, convention, restaurant and live entertainment industries and accounts for much of the difference with the broader U.S. recovery, Reaser said. Many people have either quit their jobs or stopped looking for work,” she said. “Some needed to care for children and for parents. Some feared becoming infected at work. Some despaired at finding a job and opted for unemployment benefits. Still others have simply burned out.”

Although the entertainment industry is recovering more slowly than several other sectors, the state’s overall economy is showing encouraging signs since the March jobs numbers, which are collected mid-month.

Since early April, with the pace of vaccinations accelerating, many California counties have emerged from the most restrictive tiers that regulate business closures, and the number of newly unemployed workers filing for benefits is dropping sharply.
For the week ending April 10, new jobless claims totaled 91,756, the lowest level since the pre-pandemic week ending March 14, 2020, and a sharp decrease from the previous week’s total of 169,902.

“That’s the strongest sign so far of the start of an employment recovery,” said Michael Bernick, a former director of the state’s Employment Development Department. “It’s rooted in the combination of widespread vaccinations, schools reopening and the economic lockdowns being lifted.”

The March report showed a broad recovery with payrolls expanding across 10 of the state’s 11 industry sectors. Leisure and hospitality businesses such as restaurants, bars, entertainment and hotels accounted for 42,400 new jobs, more than a third of last month’s gains.
Trade, transportation and utilities, which include retail stores and e-commerce warehouses, saw the second-highest jump with 32,200 new jobs.

Other recovering sectors: professional and business services, which include jobs ranging from low-wage office clerks to well-paid lawyers and executives (22,000); the “other services” sector such as hair salons and auto repair shops (7,300); and construction (6,000).
The only sector to shrink in March was financial activities, which lost 600 jobs.

Earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state can expect to fully reopen its economy by June 15 assuming Californians continue to wear masks, hospitalizations diminish, more Californians are vaccinated and contagious variants of the coronavirus are controlled.

“Stars are aligned right for a strong job recovery in the state,” said Sung Won Sohn, a business economist at Loyola Marymount University. Yet it could take years for employment to return to peak levels before the pandemic, he said: “Many of the jobs won’t come back at all. Many small businesses have closed permanently.”

In Los Angeles County, the unemployment rate remained high in March, at 11.3%, a slight drop from February’s 11.5%, due in part to 12,000 workers who stopped looking for work. Countywide, 579,000 workers were counted as unemployed. L.A. County added 34,200 jobs in March for a total of about 4.1 million, with leisure and hospitality posting the largest gain of 13,300 positions.

In Orange County, the March unemployment rate was 6.4%, down from 6.7% in February. The county gained 17,800 jobs for a total of about 1.52 million. Leisure and hospitality businesses added 9,800 positions, the most of any sector.

In the Inland Empire, which encompasses Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the March unemployment rate was 7.7%, down from 8.1% in February. The region added 12,500 jobs, with leisure and hospitality, up by 4,900, accounting for the largest increase.
In Northern California, buoyed by a tech economy in which many were able to work from home, unemployment stood at 5.4% in San Francisco County, 5.1% in Santa Clara County and 5% in San Mateo County.

Now that Gov. Gavin Newsom is letting more businesses reopen as coronavirus cases decline, the California Legislature on Thursday passed a bill requiring some hotels and other hospitality companies to offer laid-off workers their jobs back.

Hospitality companies were some of the hardest hit by the state’s stay-at-home order, with no people to stay in hotels while empty office buildings and deserted airports needed fewer janitors and food service workers.

Newsom has been relaxing coronavirus restrictions as more people are getting vaccinated and the number of new cases declines. If things continue to improve, Newsom said he will lift all restrictions on June 15.

With companies preparing to resume normal operations, Democrats who control the state Legislature said they wanted to make sure laid-off hospitality workers are first in line to get their old jobs back. The bill requires hotels, private clubs and janitorial service companies to let their former employees know when their jobs are available again and give them five days to decide on whether they want to come back.

COVID-19 Update fo April 12, 2021-Economic Indicators, Reopening News, Grants and more

The California Restaurant Foundation launched a new Restaurant Resilience Grant Program.  SoCalGas, PG&E and SDG&E all contributed (and our goal is to find more donors so we can help more restaurants/in other areas).  But for now, small, independently owned restaurants in LA County may qualify for a $3,500 grant.  

The grants are open to restaurants in Los Angeles County with fewer than 50 employees and priority will be given to restaurants owned by women and people of color. Applications will be accepted from April 11- April 18, 2021. The organization is also offering Zoom webinars which will cover details regarding eligibility, applications and additional questions. For additional information, visit Resilience Fund - Restaurants Care. Download the flyer here: PDF icon N21J041A_Final.pdf

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant: Small Business Administration Now Open
The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act. The program includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees. Click Here to Learn More

LA County Mortgage Relief: The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) is pleased to announce the new LA County Mortgage Relief Program, a partnership with Neighborhood Housing Services of LA County (NHS) and local HUD-approved housing counseling agencies. The $5.5 million initiative developed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will support property owners who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mortgage Relief Program will include a relief fund which provides grants of up to $20,000 for qualified property owners, plus expanded foreclosure prevention counseling services. The program is structured to benefit single-family homeowners and property owners with four or fewer units living in communities highly impacted by COVID-19. This includes low- and moderate-income communities and those who have suffered a higher percentage of significant health impacts during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Properties must be owner occupied.

California Rent Relief for Tenants and Landlords: The state recently introduced the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program that offers income-qualified renters financial assistance to help pay for past due and future rent and utilities. This program applies to Pasadena renters who meet the qualifying income levels and landlords who rent to eligible tenants.

Under the program, an eligible renter can receive up to 25% ofunpaid rent that was accrued between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, as well as receive additional financial assistance to pay for future rent, which is equal to 25% ofthe monthly amount. Renters can also be granted up to 100% of up to 12 months ofunpaid or future utility bills. This combined offering is intended to support qualified renters to stay housed when California's eviction protections expire on June 30, 2021.

Pasadena landlords can also qualify to receive reimbursement from this program for up to 80% of unpaid rent from "eligible" renters accrued between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. The California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency is administering the program. Interested tenants and landlords can apply for rent and utility bills payment relief at https://housing.ca.gov or by calling 833.430.2121.

California Re-opening: As California COVID-19 metrics improve — the state now has the lowest positivity rate in the country — Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday announced plans to reopen the economy on June 15 if there is sufficient vaccine supply for residents 16 years and older and if hospitalization rates are stable and low.

The date is not set in stone as the state will monitor hospitalization rates, vaccine access and vaccine efficacy against variants to determine whether the goal needs to be changed.

The Numbers: Pasadena reported six new cases on Friday with no new fatalities. The city ahs seen 11,169 total cases to date with 339 deaths. The city remains in Phase 1B but businesses are being allowed to reopen at a faster pace due to rapidly declining case rates. Pasadena Public Health has received 22,730 vaccine doses and administered 19, 409. In total, 71, 890 doses have been allocated to Pasadena providers with 49, 160 adminstered by PPHD and other partners. 

LA County reported an additional 753 new cases on Saturday, April 10th with 36 additional deaths. California saw an additional 2,977 cases with 89 new fatalities. 

The past 12 months have been challenging for every Californian. In keeping with the focus of putting the health and safety of Californians first, the California Franchise Tax Board has joined with the Internal Revenue Service to extend their tax filing deadlines to May 17! For more information, visit the Internal Revenue Service and the California Franchise Tax Board websites. Internal Revenue Service and CA Franchise Tax Board

Virus: When the coronavirus began to spread in the United States last spring, many experts warned of the danger posed by surfaces. Researchers reported that the virus could survive for days on plastic or stainless steel, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that if someone touched one of these contaminated surfaces and then touched their eyes, nose or mouth, they could become infected. Americans responded in kind, wiping down groceries, quarantining mail and clearing drugstore shelves of Clorox wipes. Facebook closed two of its offices for a “deep cleaning.” New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority began disinfecting subway cars every night. Reversing some of those concerns, the CDC updated its surface cleaning guidelines and noted that the risk of contracting the virus from touching a contaminated surface was less than 1 in 10,000.

During the early days of the pandemic, many experts believed that the virus spread primarily through large respiratory droplets. These droplets are too heavy to travel long distances through the air but can fall onto objects and surfaces. In this context, a focus on scrubbing down every surface seemed to make sense.

But over the last year, it has become increasingly clear that the virus spreads primarily through the air — in both large and small droplets, which can remain aloft longer — and that scouring door handles and subway seats does little to keep people safe.

Catching the virus from surfaces remains theoretically possible, but it requires many things to go wrong: a lot of fresh, infectious viral particles to be deposited on a surface, and then for a relatively large quantity of them to be quickly transferred to someone’s hand and then to their face. In most cases, cleaning with simple soap and water — in addition to hand-washing and mask-wearing — is enough to keep the odds of surface transmission low, the C.D.C.’s updated cleaning guidelines say. In most everyday scenarios and environments, people do not need to use chemical disinfectants, the agency notes.

City of Hope infectious disease and medical oncology experts offer the latest Covid advice and recommendations for cancer patients, caregivers and survivors.

The Economy: Unemployment claims in California shot to their highest level in three months, topping 145,000 filings last week, the government reported Thursday. California workers filed 145,400 initial claims for unemployment during the week that ended April 3, an increase of 39,000 from the 106,400 claims filed the prior week, the U.S. Labor Department said. Nationwide, jobless claims totaled 744,000 during the week ending April 3, up 16,000 from the week before. California now accounts for 19.6% — about one out of every five — of the jobless claims being filed in the United States, Labor Department data shows. The current weekly claims totals in California are the highest they’ve been since the week ending Jan. 9, when workers filed 182,600 initial jobless claims.

For the week ending March 27, more than 3.7 million people in the U.S. were receiving traditional state unemployment benefits, the government said. If you include supplemental federal programs that were established last year to help the unemployed endure the health crisis, a total of 18.2 million are receiving some form of jobless aid the week of March 20.

Fed Chair Powell says a new normal is near: The U.S. economy, boosted by quickening vaccinations and signs of rapid hiring, is headed toward a strong recovery, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Thursday. But he cautioned that not all will immediately benefit. “There are a number of factors that are coming together to support a brighter outlook for the U.S. economy,” Powell said during the virtual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Those factors are putting the nation “on track to allow a full reopening of the economy fairly soon.”

Still, Powell said many Americans who are out of work will struggle to find new jobs because some industries will likely be smaller than they were before the pandemic. In other cases, employers are seeking to use technology instead of workers where possible, he said. “It’s important to remember we’re not going back to the same economy,” Powell said. “This will be a different economy.”

Powell stressed on Thursday that even as economic prospects look brighter in the United States, getting the world vaccinated and controlling the coronavirus pandemic remain critical to the global outlook. While some advanced economies, including the United States, are moving quickly toward widespread vaccination, many emerging market countries lag far behind: Some have administered as little as one dose per 1,000 residents.

Mr. Powell joined a chorus of global policy officials in emphasizing how important it is that all nations — not just the richest ones — are able to widely protect against the coronavirus. Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said policymakers needed to remain focused on public health as the key policy priority.

From the New York Times: As office vacancies climb to their highest levels in decades with businesses giving up office space and embracing remote work, the real estate industry in many American cities faces a potentially grave threat. Businesses have discovered during the pandemic that they can function with nearly all of their workers out of the office, an arrangement many intend to continue in some form. That could wallop the big property companies that build and own office buildings — and lead to a sharp pullback in construction, steep drops in office rents, fewer people frequenting restaurants and stores, and potentially perilous declines in the tax revenue of city governments and school districts.

In only a year, the market value of office towers in Manhattan, home to the country’s two largest central business districts, has plummeted 25 percent, according to city projections released on Wednesday, contributing to an estimated $1 billion drop-off in property tax revenue.

JPMorgan Chase, Ford Motor, Salesforce, Target and more are giving up expensive office space, and others are considering doing so. Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, the largest private-sector employer in New York City, wrote in a letter to shareholders this week that remote work would “significantly reduce our need for real estate.” For every 100 employees, he said, his bank “may need seats for only 60 on average.”

Across the country, the vacancy rate for office buildings in city centers has steadily climbed over the past year to reach 16.4 percent, according to Cushman & Wakefield, the highest in about a decade. That number could climb further, even as vaccinations allow some people to go back to work, if companies keep giving up office space because of hybrid or fully remote work.

So far, landlords like Boston Properties and SL Green have not suffered huge financial losses, having survived the past year by collecting rent from tenants locked into long leases — the average contract for office space runs about seven years.

But as leases slowly come up for renewal, property owners could be left with scores of empty floors. At the same time, many new office buildings are under construction — 124 million square feet nationwide, or enough for roughly 700,000 workers. Those changes could drive down rents, which were touching new highs before the pandemic. And rents help determine assessments that are the basis for property tax bills.

From the New York Times:

The Biden administration has unveiled its corporate tax overhaul, intended to raise $2.5 trillion over 15 years to pay for an infrastructure program. “Debate is welcome. Compromise is inevitable. Changes are certain,” President Biden said, but he stressed that “inaction is not an option.”

“America’s corporate tax system has long been broken,” the Treasury secretary Janet Yellen wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed coinciding with the plan’s release. In addition to raising the headline corporate tax rate, the administration’s proposal takes aim at companies that shift profits abroad, especially to low-tax havens like Bermuda or Ireland. Some of the changes could be enacted by regulation, but things like raising the corporate tax rate will need the approval of Congress.

What’s in the plan? Here are the main provisions:

  • Raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent. The increase from 21 percent would put the U.S. more in line with other big countries and, the administration says, lift corporate tax receipts that have fallen to their lowest levels as a share of the economy since World War II.
  • Ensure big companies pay at least 15 percent in taxes. A minimum tax on book income for companies with annual profits of $2 billion or more would mean firms that use deductions, exemptions and other methods to reduce their liability wouldn’t be able to go lower than a certain level. If this had been in place in recent years, 45 companies would have faced the tax.
  • Strengthen the global minimum tax to end profit shifting. This would double the rate on foreign intangible assets introduced by the Trump administration in 2017. The Biden administration also says it will push for global agreement on common rates, to discourage companies from shopping around for tax jurisdictions. Finance ministers from the Group of 20 nations said yesterday that they hoped to agree on a global minimum tax rate by midyear, but previous efforts have faltered when it came to nailing down the details.
  • Punish companies that headquarter in low-tax countries. A provision in the plan would target “inversions,” where American companies merge with a foreign entity in order to move headquarters to a low-tax country.
  • Replace fossil-fuel tax subsidies with clean-energy incentives. Previous attempts to eliminate subsidies on oil and gas met with stiff industry and congressional opposition.
  • Beef up the I.R.S. The agency’s enforcement budget has fallen by 25 percent over the past decade, and the proposal would bolster the budget for experts in complex corporate litigation.

What effect would it have? A Wharton School budget model concluded that the corporate tax rate increase would “not meaningfully affect the normal return on investment,” but when combined with the proposed minimum tax on book income, business investment would fall somewhat. All told, by 2050 the tax provisions would reduce government debt by more than 11 percent from the current baseline, but also reduce G.D.P. by 0.5 percent over that period.

Looking Ahead: U.S. intelligence officials are painting a dark picture of the world’s future, writing in a report released Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic has deepened economic inequality, strained government resources and fanned nationalist sentiments.
Those assessments are included in a Global Trends report by the government’s National Intelligence Council, a document produced every four years. This year’s report is designed to help policymakers and citizens anticipate the economic, environmental, technological and demographic forces likely to shape the world through the next 20 years.
The document focuses heavily on the impact of the pandemic, calling
it the “most significant, singular global disruption since World War II, with health, economic, political, and security implications that will ripple for years to come.”

 

COVID-19 Update for April 5, 2021-Grants, Local Reopening Info, Support, Our Economy, Travel and More

Pasadena has qualified to advance to the less-restrictive orange tier of the state’s COVID-19 business-reopening blueprint, but will not ease restrictions until Monday. Qualifying for the orange tier requires L.A. County, where Pasadena is located, to have an average daily rate of new COVID infections of 3.9 per 100,000 residents, along with a testing-positivity rate of 4.9% or less, and maintain those levels for two consecutive weeks. The county, including Pasadena, fell into the orange-tier range last week, with a case rate of 3.7 per 100,000 residents, and a testing-positivity rate of 1.8%. 

After months of seeing a steady flow of COVID-19 patients through its intensive care units, Huntington Hospital’s ICUs contained zero coronavirus patients on Friday. Fourteen patients were being treated for the virus at the hospital, but none required the extra level of care provided in ICUs, according to hospital data. At the height of the pandemic in December and January, the hospital saw more than 200 total patients, with dozens being cared for in intensive care units.

As of Monday, April 5 at 12:01 a.m., many sectors in the City of Pasadena will be able to open or increase capacity due to movement of the Pasadena Public Health Jurisdiction into the Orange Tier 3 (Moderate COVID-19 disease transmission) of the state of CA Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the city said Wednesday morning.

At that time the following activities will be permitted to occur in strict adherence with the updated Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) protocols:

  • Restaurants may open for indoor dining at a maximum of 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer, in compliance with the protocol for restaurants, bars and breweries;
  • Bars that are not able to provide a sit-down, bona fide meal with each alcohol transaction may operate outdoors with modifications including closing for on-site consumption at 10 PM, and in compliance with the protocol for restaurants, bars and breweries;
  • Breweries that are not able to provide a sit-down, bona fide meal may operate indoors at a maximum of 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, with modifications in compliance with the protocol for restaurants, bars and breweries;
  • All retail may operate indoors at 75% capacity and with physical distancing in compliance with the protocols for retail operations;
  • Museums and galleries may open for indoor operations at a maximum capacity of 50%, in compliance with the protocol for museums and galleries;
  • Movie theaters may operate indoors at a maximum of 50% capacity or 200 people, per auditorium, whichever is fewer, in compliance with the protocol for movie theaters;
  • Hotels and lodging may operate with modifications in compliance with the protocol for hotels and updated protocols for restaurants, pools, and fitness facilities where applicable;
  • Fitness facilities, gyms, yoga and dance studios may operate indoors at a maximum of 25% capacity, in compliance with the protocol for fitness facilities, and indoor pools may open at a maximum 25% capacity in compliance with the protocol for public pools;
  • Offices may reopen indoors, in compliance with the protocol for office workspaces, but telework is strongly encouraged;
  • Places of worship may operate indoors at 50% capacity, in compliance with the protocol for places of worship;
  • Family entertainment centers may reopen for indoor operation at 25% capacity for naturally distanced activities including bowling, in compliance with the protocol for family entertainment centers.

 

Continued adherence to public health COVID-19 prevention measures such as wearing masks, washing hands and physical distancing can help keep cases low and prevent another surge, particularly as more indoor activities are permitted, more infectious variants become prevalent, and travel increases over spring break and the holidays, officials said.

A revised Health Order and industry protocols will be posted to the City's COVID-19 Information page over the next few days. Please continue to check the website for the latest information. 

The following have been updated on the Pasadena COVID-19 website:

 

Statewide: (From PasadenaNOW) In a major advancement in the state’s COVID-19 economic recovery, California health officials announced changes Friday that will allow a resumption of indoor activities such as concerts, conferences and theater performances — and a return of fans to indoor sporting events.

The rules, however, include strict capacity mandates based on counties’ tier placement within the state’s economic-reopening blueprint, along with requirements for attendees to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID- 19 tests.

The new rules will take effect April 15 — subject to the approval of local health authorities, who are permitted in each county to impose stricter regulations than the state allows.

For private events such as receptions or conferences:

  • Counties in the most restrictive purple tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy can permit outdoor gatherings up to 25 people, or up to 100 people if all attendees show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
  • In the red tier, the outdoor gatherings can be 50 people or up to 200 with vaccination/testing proof, while indoor gatherings of up to 100 people are permitted with vaccination/testing proof.
  • In the orange tier, outdoor gatherings can be 100 people or up to 300 with vaccination/testing, while indoor activities are permitted for 150 people with vaccination/testing.
  • In the yellow tier, outdoor gatherings are allowed up to 200 people, or 400 with vaccination/testing, and indoor events allowed up to 200 people, with vaccination/testing of all attendees.

For indoor live events and performances, which state officials said includes sports arenas, theaters and other event venues, such events are banned in counties in the restrictive purple tier, but permitted in other tiers, with varying capacities, advance ticket purchases, physical distancing, designated eating/drinking areas and in-state guests only.

For venues with a capacity of up to 1,500 people:

  • in the red tier, capacity is limited to 10% or 100 people, and capacity increases to 25% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination;
  • in the orange tier, capacity is limited to 15% or 200 people, increasing to 35% if all guests are tested or vaccinated; and
  • in the yellow tier, capacity is limited to 25% or 300 people, increasing to 50% with testing/vaccination of all guests.

For venues with capacity of 1,501 or higher:

  •  in the red tier, capacity is limited to 20% with testing or vaccination proof required for all guests;
  • in the orange tier, capacity is limited to 10% or 2,000 people, increasing to 35% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination; and
  • in the yellow tier, capacity is limited to 10% or 2,000 people, increasing to 50% if all guests are tested or vaccinated.

 

Keep Our Shops on the Block! New Grant Funding Available for Small Businesses: Retail & personal care service businesses are encouraged to apply for the LA Regional COVID-19 Fund grants. Additional funding has been received and will be dispersed to eligible brick and mortar businesses that meet minimum criteria and complete an application by April 11th. Grants of $10,000 will be awarded through an online, random application system. For more information about the program and to apply, click here. Businesses can attend an information webinar about the grant program. The next webinar will take place tomorrow, Friday, April 2nd at 2 pm. To register, click here. 

The county added new eligible business categories under this grant program. Please see full list of eligible businesses below:

  • Hair salon
  • Beauty salon
  • Nail salons
  • Esthetician office
  • Skin care office
  • Electrology office
  • Barbershop
  • Shoe repair shop
  • Dry cleaners
  • Flower shop
  • Party supply store
  • Bookstore
  • Bakery
  • Donut shop
  • Variety discount store
  • Community grocery store/market
  • Apparel or clothing store
  • Automotive or appliance repair shop
  • Acupuncturist office
  • Personalized gift store
  • Video game store
  • Jewelry store
  • Tattoo shops
  • Music stores
  • Accessory store

 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline extended to May 31, 2021. Congress authorized and the president signed legislation extending the deadline to apply for a PPP loan to the end of May. Please contact your lender if you haven't already. If you don't have a local bank you work with, email paul@pasadena-chamber.org and we will help you find a financial institution you cna work with. These loans are 100% forgivable as long as funds are used for appropriate expenses such as employee salaries, rent and utility payments.

Vaccines: Vaccine eligibility expanded April 1st to all residents aged 50 and over, but with vaccine supplies still relatively limited, getting an appointment could prove difficult. The city of Los Angeles’ appointment system through Carbon Health was accepting appointment slots for the 50-and-over group on Monday, but the state’s MyTurn site was not.

More than 49,900 Pasadenans over the age of 16, amounting to 42.4% of the city’s population, have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, officials said Wednesday. Nearly 28,500 city residents, or 24.2% of Pasadena’s population over 16 years old, which is the minimum age for which the vaccines are currently approved, have been fully vaccinated, according to city data. Additionally, just under 90% of the city’s residents over 65 years old have received at least an initial dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Officials also announced Wednesday that Pasadenans 50 years old and up are eligible to fill out the city’s online vaccine information inquiry form to be notified when supplies are available, Derderian said. The form can be accessed at https://www.cityofpasadena.net/public-health/covid-19-vaccine/#covid-19-vaccine-inquiry. Groups including health workers, first responders, residents over 65, long-term care facility residents, teachers, and food and agriculture workers have already been declared eligible to fill out the form, which does not immediately result in an appointment for vaccination.

Eligibility will expand to everyone aged 16 and up on April 15.

LA county this week was set to receive its largest weekly allotment of vaccines to date — 338,100 doses — and tens of thousands more doses will be sent directly to other local vaccination providers, such as pharmacies and health care centers. But when eligibility expands to those 50 and over on Thursday, it will add an estimated 800,000 to 1 million people to the pool of residents competing for limited doses. That’s on top of the millions of people who are already eligible for the shots. Noting that case totals are typically low on Mondays due to weekend reporting lags, the county on Monday reported seven new COVID-19 deaths, lifting the countywide total from throughout the pandemic to 23,084.

With Spring Break upon us, LA County's Department of Public Health encourages everyone to remain close to home and adhere to the State travel advisory which recommends no recreational travel outside a 120-mile radius. Recreational travelers and residents coming to LA County are required to self-quarantine for 10 days after returning from out-of-state or out-of-country travel. It is recommended that resident travelers who are exposed to crowds and/or unmasked individuals in close proximity get tested upon their return. There is a heightened risk if traveling to places with high rates of community transmission, like Miami, which is recently reporting a 9% test positivity rate; this is 6 times higher than the test positivity rate in LA County.  Remember how easily this virus can spread, and take every action you can to protect yourself and others until we all can get vaccinated. To see when it's your turn for a vaccine, go to: VaccinateLACounty.com.

A clinical trial found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was highly effective in adolescents aged 12 to 15, the companies said today. The trial found no infections among the children who received the vaccine, and the vaccines produced even stronger antibody responses in the children than they did in young adults. The children experienced no serious side effects. The findings have not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal, but they excited experts.

From the New York Times: Answers on vaccine side effects. Tara Parker-Pope, the founding editor of Well, recently asked readers to send in their questions about vaccinations. Here are some answers, condensed.

Q: I’ve heard the Covid vaccine side effects, especially after the second dose, can be really bad. Should I be worried?

Short-lived side effects like fatigue, headache, muscle aches and fever are more common after the second dose of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines. People interviewed by The Times reported a wide spectrum of responses, from no reaction at all to symptoms like uncontrolled shivering and “brain fog.” They are a sign that your own immune system is mounting a potent response to the vaccine.

Q: Is it true that women are more likely to get worse side effects from a vaccine than men?

It’s true that women may be more likely to report side effects, which has a biological explanation. Estrogen can stimulate an immune response, whereas testosterone can blunt it. In addition, many immune-related genes are on the X chromosome, of which women have two copies and men have only one. These robust immune responses help to explain why 80 percent of autoimmune diseases afflict women.

Q: Are the side effects worse if you’ve already had Covid-19?

Research and anecdotal reports suggest that people with a previously diagnosed Covid-19 infection may have a stronger reaction and more side effects after their first dose of vaccine compared to those who were never infected with the virus. A strong reaction to your first dose also may be a sign that you were previously infected, even if you weren’t aware of it.

Q: What about taking a pain reliever after the shot?

While most experts agree it’s safe to take a pain reliever after you get vaccinated, they advise against taking it as a preventive or if your symptoms are manageable without it.

Read Tara’s full F.A.Q. about vaccine side effects.

The Economy: According to the Financial Times, the US economy added 916,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate edged down to 6 per cent in a sign that the recovery was accelerating in the month that Joe Biden signed his $1.9tn stimulus into law.

The non-farm payrolls data released on Friday exceeded economists’ expectations and marked a sharp improvement from the upwardly revised 468,000 jobs created in February and 233,000 positions created in January.

From the Wall Street Journal: U.S. hiring surged in March as the economic recovery accelerated, the start of what economists say could be a sustained run of job growth to industries, regions and workers hardest hit during the pandemic. U.S. employers added a sea- sonally adjusted 916,000 jobs in March, the best gain since August, the Labor Department said Friday, and the unemployment rate, determined by a separate survey, fell to 6%, a pandemic low. Still, as of March, there are 8.4 million fewer jobs than in February 2020 before the pandemic hit.

The jobs rebound is gaining renewed momentum as more people are vaccinated against Covid-19, states lift restrictions on business activity, and consumers grow more comfortable dining, shopping and traveling outside their homes.

President Biden Releases American Jobs Plan, $2 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal: President Biden announced the American Job Plan, a $2 trillion proposal to address the nation’s aging infrastructure, and utilize infrastructure to reduce economic inequity, and mitigate climate change. The initial proposal includes:

  • $621 billion for physical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and public transit;
  • Delivering 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations nationwide, and increasing tax incentives for consumers to purchase electric vehicles;
  • $100 billion to expand broadband internet access;
  •  $100 billion to update the electrical grid;
  • $213 billion for building upgrades in disadvantaged communities, such as schools and VA hospitals;
  • $400 billion for “care infrastructure” to expand community and in-home care;
  • $100 billion for workforce development, specifically targeted at underserved and low-income communities.

 

The American Jobs Plan’s proposed pay fors are an increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, and an incentive for corporations to onshore and repatriate funds. The Chamber is actively monitoring the proposed plan, and the White House released this fact sheet.

From Kevin Smith at the Pasadena Star-News: With hopes rising for a powerful rebound in hiring this year, today’s jobs report for March will provide crucial insight into whether those rosy expectations may prove true. The most optimistic economists are predicting that the government will report that as many as 1 million jobs were added in March — a blistering gain that would help recover a decent chunk of the 9.5 million jobs that remain lost to the pandemic. Still, the increase might not be quite that large: Overall, economists surveyed by data provider Fact-Set have forecast an increase of 615,000.

After a year of epic job losses, waves of coronavirus infections, and small business closures, numerous trends are brightening the outlook. Consumer confidence in March reached its highest level since the pandemic intensified. Americans have increased their spending as the latest stimulus checks have been distributed. More states and cities are easing restrictions on restaurants, bars and indoor gatherings. Vaccinations are being increasingly administered, although new confirmed infections have risen from lower levels in recent weeks.

Spending had begun to rise in March even before the stimulus checks arrived as viral case counts have tumbled from their heights in January. Americans are increasingly willing to venture out from home to travel and eat out, though not yet at their prepandemic pace. Roughly 1.5 million people traveled through airports on March 28, according to the Transportation Services Administration. That was roughly eight times the figure of a year ago, although it was still down sharply from 2.5 million on the same day in 2019.

The transportation analytics firm Inrix has calculated that daily car trips returned to prepandemic levels late last month. Many of those trips have likely been to restaurants, where the volume of seated diners was just 25% below pre-pandemic levels, on average, in the last week of March, according to OpenTable, a restaurant software provider. That’s up from 50% below pre-pandemic traffic just six weeks earlier. 

The burgeoning economic activity is showing signs of translating into more jobs. Karen Fichuk, CEO of Randstad North America, a recruiting firm, said the company is seeking to fill 38% more permanent jobs than it was at the end of last year. Demand for workers is particularly strong in manufacturing, information technology, logistics, and health care.

The Biden plan is opposed by most Republicans in the House and Senate. Democratic members are pushing for inclusion of provisions favorable to their states, as well. 

Unemployment: Filings for unemployment benefits rose last week but remained near their lowest levels since the pandemic’s onset, amid signs of a broader U.S. economic recovery. Workers filed 719,000 initial jobless claims, on a seasonally adjusted basis, in the week ended March 27, the Labor Department said Thursday. The increase followed a downward revision to 658,000 initial claims the prior week, the lowest point since the pandemic hit in March 2020. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility in the numbers, fell to 719,000, also a low during the pandemic. Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, remain well above pre-pandemic levels—the weekly average in 2019 was 218,000—but have trended downward since the start of the year.

The labor market has shown other signs of gaining steam, which economists expect will be captured in the Labor Department’s March employment report that will be released Friday. Economists forecast the U.S. economy added 675,000 jobs last month, compared with a gain of 379,000 in February, and that the jobless rate ticked down to 6% from 6.2%.

Travel: (From PasadenaNOW) Southland residents anxious to travel got some good news Friday from federal health authorities, who issued new guidance stating that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely travel domestically. “You do not need to get tested or self-quarantine if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “You should still follow all other travel recommendations.”

People who are not vaccinated are still urged to delay any travel, “because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.”

Despite the CDC’s relaxing of its guidelines, many local jurisdictions still have travel rules in place. Los Angeles County requires travelers who enter or return to the county from other states or countries to self-quarantine for 10 days.

It was unclear if the county plans to revise that requirement in light of the CDC’s new guidance.

According to the CDC guidance, people who are fully vaccinated do not need to get tested for COVID-19 before or after travel “unless their destination requires it,” nor do they need to self-quarantine.

Vaccinated travelers, however, still must follow safety guidelines while traveling, including wearing a face covering, maintaining six feet of social distancing and frequently washing hands or using hand sanitizer.

What you’re doing (a little fun from the New York Times online):

A is for absolutely nothing getting done.
B is for boredom.
C is for the covidiots.
D is for “doing our best.”
E is for extra time at home.
F is for my father who died without a visit from me.
G is for grim milestones.
H is for heart-heavy numbers.
I is for inoculation, a word misused.
J is for Jack in the Box drive-through, the only place we eat out now.
K is for knowing someone who died of Covid.
L is for living simply.
M is for meals at home.
N is for never going out unmasked.
O is for outdoor eating in the cold.
P is for pandemic.
Q is for quirky Zoom weddings and funerals.
R is for relatives who don’t understand my fear.
S is for sick and tired of this.
T is for ticking time bomb.
U is for unprecedented.
V is for vaccines versus variants.
W is for wanting my shot.
X is for X-rays of Covid lungs.
Y is for yelling at strangers who get too close.
Z is for zoonotic.

— Margaret “Page” Kakowski, Portland, Ore.

 

COVID-19 Update for March 29, 2021 - Grants and much more

New Grants: Now in its fourth round, KKR Small Business Builders is here to support entrepreneurs and their small businesses around the world. More than a hundred recipients have already been selected to receive a $10,000 grant as well as mentoring and coaching opportunities with KKR employees. Everyone who applies receives free access to the thousands of curated resources and a community of 360,000+ small business owners on Hello Alice.

To qualify, you must: Operate in the United States, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Singapore, Luxembourg, Japan, Ireland, India, Germany, France, England, China, or Australia. Be a for-profit business. Have 5 – 50 employees. Have generated annual gross revenues in 2019 of less than $7 million. Have a demonstrated need for support. Propose a strong plan for moving forward

Although the application asks for the name and email of the KKR employee who nominated you, those questions are optional! Anybody who meets the eligibility rules can apply.

To learn more about the program and submit an application, visit kkr.helloalice.com or Apply now!

In December 2020, the state began the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program that provides micro grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to eligible small businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 and the related health and safety restrictions. The State built on the program it began in December by allocating an additional $2.1 billion, including a special program allotment of $50M for non-profit cultural institutions. The California Office of the Small Business Advocate, through their selected intermediary, Lendistry, will administer the new $2.1 billion allocation.

The remaining additional rounds will be conducted as follows:

Round 5: Thursday, March 25th through Wednesday, March 31st

  • Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and nonprofits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, or 3 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com.
  • Eligible grant award: $5,000 - $25,000
  • Details: Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, & 3 do not need to reapply as they will be automatically moved into Round 5. New applicants will need to apply at CAReliefGrant.com.

Round 6: Date to be announced soon

  • Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and/or nonprofits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com.
  • Eligible grant award: $5,000 - $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 at CAReliefGrant.com.

If you are small business owner who already applied for a loan, do not worry about reapplying. If you have not applied, additional information on eligibility, required documentation and the application can be found at CAReliefGrant.com.

The Numbers: Pasadena reported secen new cases on Saturday with no fatalities. 

Los Angeles County has reported 700 new cases of the coronavirus and 23 additional deaths, as health officials warned that Spring Break and upcoming religious holidays present a danger of greater transmission of the virus. The number of COVID-19 patients in county hospitals declined slightly from 676 on Friday to 669 Saturday, with the number of those in intensive care dropping from 170 to 166, according to state figures. Saturday’s numbers brought county’s totals to 1,217,707 cases and 23,078 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

California: As of March 28, California has 3,562,191 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 57,746 deaths. On Saturday, the state reported 2998 new cases and 195 fatalities. 

PPP Loans: Friday, the Senate voted to pass H.R. 1799, the “PPP Extension Act” which will ensure that small businesses have appropriate access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as they continue to struggle due to the impact of the pandemic.

 

Vaccines: COVID-19 vaccines will be made available to everyone in the state aged 50 and older beginning April 1, then to everyone aged 16 and up on April 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today, saying vaccine supply is expected to quickly skyrocket. The state has been receiving roughly 1.8 million doses a week, but the state anticipates receiving 2.5 million weekly doses by early April, then more than 3 million per week by the end of that month. The news comes as Pasadena and LA County approach the even-less restrictive Orange Tier that would increase indoor capacity at several businesses, including local restaurants.

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility has been slowly expanding in the state in recent weeks. Most recently, eligibility was extended to people aged 16 and over with serious underlying health conditions that put them at risk of severe illness or death from COVID. An array of essential workers are already eligible for vaccines, such as teachers and food workers. Health care workers were the first to be given access to the vaccine, and everyone in the state aged 65 and over is already eligible. Thursday’s announcement means everyone in the state aged 16 and up will be eligible for the shots in mid-April. However, given the state’s vast population, it will still take months to provide the vaccines to everyone who wants one.

School: From PasadenaNOW: The Pasadena Unified School District and United Teachers of Pasadena on Friday announced an agreement on reopening middle and high schools for in-person instruction, setting the date for student cohorts to begin returning to campus on April 20, according to a statement issued by the district.

As previously announced, PUSD student cohorts in preschool through second grade will begin returning April 13. Student cohorts in grades 3-5 return April 20. Student cohorts in grades 6-12 will begin to return for in-person instruction on April 20 in the hybrid simultaneous learning model where groups of students are in the classroom and their classmates remain in distance learning, the statement said.

Students who select in-person learning will be on campus in cohorts for two consecutive days between Tuesday and Friday and the remainder of the week in distance learning.  Students will be on campus either Tuesday-Wednesday or Thursday-Friday, depending on their cohort assignment.

Cohorts will be assigned according to the results of the Return to Campus Survey which closes for 6-12 parents/guardians on April 7, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Schools will notify parents/guardians about their students’ cohort assignments the week of April 12. Middle and high schools will hold orientation sessions for their school communities the week of April 12.

 

The Economy: From the Financial Times: Fed expects US economic growth to hit 6.5% this year but signals no rate rises until 2024: Federal Reserve officials sharply upgraded their growth forecasts for the world’s largest economy but signalled that they expected to keep interest rates close to zero until at least 2024. The median estimate from Fed officials now predicts that US economic growth will reach 6.5 per cent this year, compared with 4.2 per cent in its December forecast. The rosier projections from the Fed came at the end of a two-day meeting of the FOMC on Wednesday held against a backdrop of growing optimism about the US economy in the wake of Joe Biden’s $1.9tn fiscal stimulus and the country’s swift vaccination rollout.

 

From The Wall Street Journal: On Wednesday, it was the durable goods report’s turn. The Commerce Department said that new orders for long-lasting manufactured items dropped 1.1% in February from January, snapping a nine-month streak of gains. Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, seen as a gauge of the direction of companies’ capital spending, slipped 0.8% in the first decline since April of last year.

It was probably the weather that drove the drop in orders, just as it was probably the weather that accounted for the decline in February existing and new home sales, reported earlier this week, and for the decline in February retail sales and industrial production reported last week. The strong winter storms that hit the country last month, and particularly the Texas blackouts, pushed the pause button on all types of economic activity.

There are signs that things got back on track this month. Creditcard data suggest retail sales have already bounced back. March manufacturing surveys indicate that fac- tories are, if anything, struggling to keep up with demand, which should help push capital spending along.

Indeed, the bigger question in the months ahead may not be whether manufacturers continue to experience growing demand, but what the contours of that demand will be as more people are vaccinated, allowing the economy, with hope, to reopen further. Orders for computers and electronic goods, which were a source of strength through much of last year, were softening even before February. Industrial categories, such as manufacturing equipment, have done better.

Still, until March data arrives it won’t be possible to know for sure if February’s economic setbacks were about anything more than the weather. Worse, while it makes sense that demand will rise with Covid-19 cases down sharply from earlier this year and vaccinations rolling out, the ultimate size and shape of that rebound remains muddled. February’s economic reports might not be worth worrying much about, but neither were they helpful.

 

COVID-19 Update for March 22, 2021-Information, Reopenings, Grants and more

PPP Loans: The House passed a bill extending the deadline for applying for a Paycheck Protection Program loan to May 31, sending the legislation to the Senate as the current March 31 deadline looms. Under the bill, which passed by a vote of 415-3, firms have until May 31 to apply for a loan and the SBA faces a June 30 deadline to process them. Small business advocates had called for an extension of the March 31 deadline to give lenders more time to implement a series of changes the Biden administration made to the program.

State Grants: You may be eligible to apply for the Nonprofit Arts & Cultural Program (Round 4). This is a separate grant than the original CA Relief Grant and is specifically for nonprofit cultural institutions. Please be aware that this application period closes on 3/23/21. You must apply by this date to be considered. Eligibility for this new grant is determined by your institution’s NAICS code. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies to classify business establishments.

You are eligible to apply ONLY if your NAICS code is listed as any of the following:

453920 - Art Dealers
711110 - Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters
711120 - Dance Companies
711130 - Musical Groups and Artists
711190 - Other Performing Arts Companies
711310 - Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events with Facilities
711320 - Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events without Facilities
711410 - Agents and Managers for Artists, Athletes, Entertainers, and Other Public Figures
711510 - Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers
712110 - Museums
712130 - Zoos and Botanical Gardens
712190 - Nature Parks & Other Similar Institutions

If you’re interested in applying for this grant, you must submit a new application by 3/23/21. Please click HERE to apply. Please view our resource guide for additional details.

The Numbers: Pasadena public health officials on Sunday reported no new COVID-19 cases or virus-related fatalities. The city’s total case count remained at 11,080 with 330 deaths. Public health officials in Pasadena documented 11 new cases of COVID-19 in Pasadena on Friday, but no additional fatalities. On Thursday, the reported one additional fatality. The death took place in early-February but was only just added to city records, according to city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian. In total, the city has seen 11,072 COVID-19 infections and 329 fatalities. During the prior week, health officials recorded an average of 7.7 new cases of the virus each day.

At Huntington Hospital, officials reported treating 18 COVID-19 patients on Friday, with five of them being housed in intensive care units.

Public health officials in Pasadena reported the first known case of the so-called U.K. variant of COVID-19 in the city on Friday. The strain of novel coronavirus, also known as variant B.1.1.7, is believed to as much as 50% easier to transmit than its predecessor, “and likely causes more severe disease based on hospitalizations and case fatality rates,” the Pasadena Public Health Department said in a written statement. The patient confirmed to have the U.K. variant was described by health officials only as an adult. The infection was identified via genomic testing of lab specimens by the California Department of Public Health.

But the number of COVID-19 patients at Huntington Hospital continues its steady plummet, reaching 18 on Thursday, officials said. Five of the patients were being treated in intensive care units.

City data showed 43,877 Pasadenans, or 37.2% of the population over 16 years old, had received at least one vaccine dose, and 25,056 more were listed as fully vaccinated.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced 933 new infections and 88 additional deaths, raising the county’s pandemic totals to 1,212,586 known infections and 22,664 fatalities. The daily test positivity rate for Los Angeles County was recorded at 1.8%, lower than the statewide rate of 2%, according to public health records. Total COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county numbered 861, with 26% of the patients being treated in ICUs, according to county officials.

At the state level, the California Department of Public Health reported 3,038 new infections and 2018 new deaths on Thursday, bringing the state’s totals to 3,535,534 COVID-19 cases and 55,795 deaths. As of Thursday, L.A. County accounted for 34% of California’s COVID-19 infections and 41% of the state’s fatalities.

Pasadena Unified School District and UTP have now reached an agreement on reopening schools for in-person instruction, agreeing to adjust the date for preschools and elementary schools to begin opening with a hybrid simultaneous learning model after spring break. Student cohorts in prekindergarten, transitional kindergarten, first and second grades, and early childhood education programs will return to campus on April 13 immediately after spring break. Third through fifth grade will return on April 20.

The City of Pasadena is promoting local shopping and dining. Calling All Businesses! Participate In A Shop Pasadena Instagram Takeover Next Week! The easing of certain COVID restrictions on businesses is a breath of much needed fresh air. Join other businesses across the city by participating in an Instagram Takeover on Friday, March 26th. Show solidarity with your fellow business owners by posting a photo for your business anytime on March 26th  with the "We're Open, Keep Us Open" graphic overlay on your Instagram account. Be sure to tag #shoppasadena. Businesses that post photos with the graphic overlay and tag #shoppasadena will be reposted on the City's social account via Instagram Stories. Shopping local is incredibly important. This is a great opportunity to remind the public that you are open for business. To download the "We're Open, Keep Us Open" graphic overlays, click here.

 

Revised Pasadena Public Health Order & Industry Protocols

As of Monday, March 15th, Pasadena latest Public Health Order Update eased restrictions to allow for more sectors of the economy to open or expand operations. Pasadena's Public Department has updated COVID health protocols to align with the new health order:

 

Helpful Links Regarding COVID-19:
 

 

Landlord/Tenant Relief: Federal relief is on the way for struggling landlords and tenants.
A complex hybrid of state and local programs designed to distribute $2.6 billion in federal aid to ailing California landlords and low-income renters began accepting applications March 15. The federal funds come from a relief package passed by Congress in December and are restricted to poor and moderate- income renters. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan package signed by President Joe Biden on March 11 is expected to bring an additional $2.2 billion in rental assistance to California in coming months.
The state gave large cities and counties three options to distribute the aid: use a state program, have a hybrid of state and local distribution sources or go it alone.

The Economy: From The Wall Street Journal: U.S. retailers and manufacturers slumped in February due to winter storms and supply- chain disruptions, but a broader economic rebound appears poised to accelerate this spring because of the easing pandemic and another round of government stimulus.

Retail sales—a measure of purchases at stores, at restaurants and online—fell by 3% in February compared with the prior month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The decline followed robust January sales that were propelled by stimulus payments to households from the December pandemic-relief package. January sales advanced a revised 7.6%, up from the earlier estimate of a 5.3% increase.

Severe winter weather wreaked havoc across a swath of the U.S., affecting retail shopping and manufacturing output last month. The Federal Reserve separately said industrial production fell a season- ally adjusted 2.2% in February compared with January. Manufacturing, the largest component in the industrial-production index, drove the decline because of the weather disruptions and supply shortages in semiconductors for autos, the Fed said.

Consumers, meanwhile, spent less on autos, furniture, electronics, home improvement, healthcare and clothing. Sales at food and beverage stores were unchanged, while sales at gas stations were up strongly, by 3.6%, as gas prices have accelerated this year.

Despite the February decline, retail sales were up 6% over the past three months compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the Commerce Department.

The backlog of claims for unemployment benefits filed by California workers has been stuck over 1 million for more than a month, according to the Employment Development Department.

As of Tuesday, the EDD’s dashboard was the official measure of department lags in paying unemployed workers.
On March 10, the most recent update available, 1.06 million claims had taken more than 21 days for the EDD to process. That includes 933,100 initial unemployment claims and 122,700 continuing claims. An initial claim is deemed to be part of the backlog if it has taken more than 21 days to issue the first payment or to disqualify the claim. A continuing claim is placed in the backlog if the worker has received at least one payment and is now waiting more than 21 days for more payments or disqualification from the program. The EDD began tracking the claims backlog in a dashboard format starting Sept. 30, and for six weeks all seemed well. On Jan. 6, the backlog had dropped to 516,000 claims. Then matters deteriorated and the agency reported a surge in the claims bottleneck, which soared past 1 million Feb. 3.

COVID-19 Update for March 8, 2021-New Round of State Grants, PPP Application Deadline is Tomorrow, Vaccine Availability and Sign-ups, More

The deadline to apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans is tomorrow, March 9th. The application process is simple and eligibility is focused on samll businesses. It is not too late to apply for (potentially forgiveable) funds. Call your bank now!

Four New Rounds of the California COVID-19 Relief Grant Program: The State of California just announced 4 new rounds of the COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. Additional funds above and beyond the original $500 million currently being distributed have been earmarked for small businesses and non-profit cultural institutions. 

  • Round 3 opens March 5th thru March 11th and is open to applicants who were waitlisted during the prior rounds. There is no need to reapply; no new applications will be selected in this round.
  • Round 4 opens March 16th through March 23rd and is open to non-profit cultural institutions only. Eligible non-profit cultural institutions must complete a new application even if they have previously applied in an earlier round.
  • Round 5 opens March 25th thru March 31st and open to waitlisted applicants as well as new applicants that meet eligibility criteria.
  • Round 6 dates will be announced soon.

For complete program details, including applications and eligibility criteria, visit CAReliefGrant.com

In partnership with the LA84 Foundation, the Play Equity Fund and the National Football League (NFL) Foundation, the Super Bowl LVI Legacy Program – Champions Live Here seeks to shine a spotlight on the achievements of local community organizations who often go unrecognized and provide grants to help these nonprofits continue fulfilling their missions. The Los Angeles Super Bowl Host Committee will recognize 56 “unsung hero” grassroots organizations and nonprofits who are making a transformative impact in underserved communities across the Los Angeles region. The legacy program will honor each of the selected “Champion organizations” with a $10,000 grant award, a professionally produced marketing video spotlighting their organization, and public recognition of their work in lead up to the Super Bowl.  Additionally, six of these 56 organizations will be selected to each receive a total grant award of $50,000, to make an even bigger impact in their community. Click Here to Nominate an Organization

Stimulus/Relief: The Senate passed a version of President Biden's pandemic relief package. It includes payments to individuals, relief for small businesses, continued expansion of unemployment benefits and funds for restaurants and other hard-hit industry segments.

From the New York Times: President Biden’s sweeping $1.9 trillion stimulus bill passed a deeply divided Senate on Saturday, as Democrats pushed through a pandemic aid plan that includes an extraordinary increase in safety net spending in the largest antipoverty effort in a generation.

The package, which still must pass the House before it heads to Mr. Biden’s desk to be signed into law, is the first major legislative initiative of his presidency. The measure seeks at once to curtail the coronavirus pandemic, bolster the sluggish economy and protect the neediest people within it. Republicans voted unanimously against it and assailed it as unnecessary and unaffordable.

It would inject vast amounts of federal resources into the economy, including one-time direct payments of up to $1,400 for hundreds of millions of Americans, jobless aid of $300 a week to last through the summer, money for distributing coronavirus vaccines and relief for states, cities, schools and small businesses struggling during the pandemic.

Beyond the immediate aid, the bill, titled the American Rescue Plan, is estimated to cut poverty by a third this year and would plant the seeds for what Democrats hope will become an income guarantee for children. It would potentially cut child poverty in half, through a generous expansion of tax credits for Americans with children — which Democrats hope to make permanent — increases in subsidies for child care, a broadening of eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, and an expansion of food stamps and rental assistance.

You can find more detailed information on the releif package here: https://pasadenastarnews-ca.newsmemory.com

The Numbers: On Saturday, Pasadena reported an additional 6 new cases and one additional fatality. So far, Pasadena has seen 10,983 cases and 320 associated deaths. 33,865 Pasadenans have received at least on dose of vaccine as of Saturday. On Sunday Pasadena reported no new cases and no new deaths.

On Friday, LA County reported an additonal 1,823 cases and 98 fatalities. LA County has seen more than 1.2 million cases of the virus and 22,008 deaths from COVID-19. 

California has reported more than 3.6 milion cases and 54, 140 deaths. 

Reopenings:

Following revised guidelines from the state, the Rose Bowl announced a return of in-person events. Rose Bowl Manager Darryl Dunn said Saturday that under new California Department of Public Health orders announced late last week the stadium will host the return of the in-person Rose Bowl Flea Market on April 11 and confirmed the Bowl’s first scheduled major sporting event will come August 28 when UCLA hosts the University of Hawaii.“The new guidelines and tier protocols that were announced by the Governor [were] very exciting as this may allow patrons to get back to attend events inside our beloved stadium,” Dunn said in an email. “At this time we are planning the Rose Bowl Flea Market and hope people come to the event on April 11,” he said.

Under the guidance announced Friday, outdoor sports and live performance venues can reopen on April 1, with capacity limits based on the county’s tier ranking. For counties in the most restrictive “purple” tier, outdoor venues will be limited to a total of 100 people, with only local residents permitted, advance reservations or tickets required and no concessions or concourse sales allowed. But when counties reach the less-restrictive “red” tier, capacity will be increased to 20%, with primarily in-seat concessions allowed. In the even less-restrictive “orange” tier, 33% capacity will be allowed, and in the top “yellow” tier, capacity will increase to 67%. Only in-state visitors will be permitted to the venues in counties in the “red,” “orange” and “yellow” tiers.

Pasadena Unified School District will reopen classrooms for Pre-K to 2nd Grade beginning March 29th. After a seven hour meeting, the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education voted 5-2 to resume the process of opening classes for PreK-2 students on March 29, with Board Members Michelle Richardson Bailey and Tina Fredericks voting against the resolution. Pre-K and kindergarten students will return to class on Tuesday, March 30 and first and second graders will return on Thursday, April 1. Students in grades 3 to 5 will return April 13. High schools can reopen once the county maintains a ratio of 7 infections per 100,000 people. On Tuesday the state reported a case count of 7.2 per 100,000. The district must open its doors to K-2nd grade students before April 1 in order to get its share of $2 billion promised by Gov. Gavin Newsom. In total, the legislature passed $6.6 billion in aid to California schools. Half of the district 2400 employees have now been offered the vaccine. It was not immediately known how many of those employees are teachers.

Vaccines: From the New York Times: Health officials have worried that some people may see the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson as inferior to those from Pfizer and Moderna, but the initial rollout of the new shot is turning that notion on its head. From a public health standpoint, the latest vaccine is shaping up to be the best choice for many people, including for the country’s most vulnerable populations.

Because it’s a single shot, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine can offer protection for those who might not have access or time for a second shot — like people in rural areas, migrant workers, those on the verge of release from prison and meatpacking plant workers, among others. Dr. Joseph Kanter, the top health official in Louisiana, called it “a potential breakthrough.”

In North Dakota, Johnson & Johnson doses will be put to use at pharmacies and urgent care clinics where people don’t have regular access to health care. In Missouri, most of the state’s Johnson & Johnson doses are going to community health centers, which are taking advantage of the easier storage conditions because the vaccine doesn’t require ultracold temperatures. And in North Carolina, health providers are holding a series of events to inoculate meatpacking, farm and grocery workers.

The vaccine also tends to have fewer side effects than other options, and it may be a better choice for people who don’t want to risk missing a day of work to recover from chills or fever. Importantly, it may also help address vaccine inequality. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine’s comparatively easy delivery may allow states to use it to target communities with low inoculation rates. 

The Pasadena Public Health Department is pleased to invite the following eligible groups to receive the COVID-19 vaccine: 

  • Healthcare Workers 
  • Residents and Staff at Long-Term Care Facilities 
  • Pasadena residents over age 65 
  • Childcare and Education Workers 
  • Food and Agricultural Workers 

 

  • You ARE REQUIRED to have an appointment to receive a vaccine. Individuals without an appointment will NOT be able to receive a vaccine.  

 

Food industry workers, including restaurant and grocery workers, are now eligible for the vaccine. The City of Pasadena, however, is awaiting its next vaccination supply from the state, so food and agricultural workers may sign up to be notified when the vaccine is available. To sign-up to be notified when appointments become available, click here.

Food and agricultural workers need not wait to get a vaccine through the City's vaccination supply. Individuals may also contact their local healthcare provider or local pharmacy for vaccine availability. For more information, click here.

You will be required to present proof of eligibility.  
For 65 and over: Proof of age and proof of City of Pasadena residency required. 

For those eligible by employment:  Valid identification PLUS proof of employment (ID/pay stub) at a Pasadena healthcare, childcare or education or food or agricultural employer; OR Valid identification PLUS proof of employment (ID/paystub) at a healthcare, childcare or education or food or agricultural employer outside of Pasadena AND proof of Pasadena residence required. 

Here are your options for appointments. We will continue to email you as new clinics and opportunities to access vaccine are available:   California Department of Public Health My Turn: https://myturn.ca.gov  
 
For more information on vaccine availability at local pharmacies, visit:  
Rite Aid: https://www.riteaid.com/pharmacy/covid-qualifier  
Vons: https://www.vons.com/pharmacy/covid-19.html  
Pavilions: https://www.pavilions.com/pharmacy/covid-19.html  
Ralphs: https://www.ralphs.com/rx/covid-eligibility  
CVS: https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine  
Walgreens: https://www.walgreens.com/topic/promotion/covid-vaccine.jsp  

To view more information on COVID-19 vaccination locations by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/ncorona2019/covidvaccinedistribution/.  

Offerings by the Pasadena Public Health Department: If you have any questions about the registration process or need additional assistance, please reach out to the Citizen's Service Center at (626) 744-7311, or by email at csc@cityofpasadena.net.  The citizen service center is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  
 
Pasadena Public Health Department and Huntington Hospital Clinics: This clinic is a walk up clinic, not a drive through clinic. The vaccine you will be receiving is the Pfizer vaccine. These vaccines are very safe and effective. If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Pfizer-BioNTech.html.  Proof of a valid Pasadena address (either business or residential) and proof of eligible employment will be required at the time of your appointment to be eligible for a vaccine.  This clinic is for people who need their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.  

The Economy:

From the Wall Street Journal: Most businesses are optimistic about the economic recovery this year as coronavirus vaccines are more widely distributed and hiring picked up slowly across the country, a Federal Reserve report said Wednesday. The Fed’s periodic compilation of anecdotes from business contacts, known as the Beige Book, said the U.S. economy continued to grow modestly in the first several weeks of 2021, though some industries, such as leisure and hospitality, continued “to be restrained by ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.”

The U.S. economy is set up for a stronger recovery this spring after a February surge in hiring at restaurants and other hospitality businesses created the best monthly job growth since last fall. Employers added 379,000 jobs in February and January gains were revised higher to 166,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Friday. The pickup comes after employers cut jobs late last year. The unemployment rate, determined by a separate survey, ticked down to 6.2% last month. The rate is well below a near 15% pandemic peak in April 2020, but remains above 2019’s 50-year lows. Overall, the U.S. has 9.5 million fewer jobs than a year earlier, just before the coronavirus pandemic took hold in much of the country.

From the New York Times: Even as the economy shows signs of rebounding, employers continue to lay off large numbers of workers, a sign of how long it will take for the job market to recover fully from the pandemic. The pressure was evident Thursday with a new report from the Labor Department showing a rise in initial jobless claims last weekafter a big drop the previous week.

Although unemployment claims are down from their peak early in the year, when a spike in coronavirus cases prompted new restrictions on business, layoffs remain extraordinarily high by historical standards. A jump in claims after the devastating winter storms in Texas contributed to the increase last week, but the weakness was broad-based.

A total of 748,000 workers filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week that ended Saturday, 32,000 higher than the week before. In addition, 437,000 new claims were filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program covering freelancers, part-timers and others who do not routinely qualify for state benefits, a rise of 9,000. Neither figure is seasonally adjusted. On a seasonally adjusted basis, new state claims totaled 745,000, an increase of 9,000.

 

COVID-19 Update for March 1, 2021-Information, Vaccines, Funding, Education, the Economy and more!

 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Round 2 Still being accepted-Immediate Relief for Small Businesses Quadrupled in State Legislation

If you haven't already, please contact your bank or credit union to see about getting a PPP (forgiveable) loan to help your business through these disastrous financial times.

 

Non Sequitur dogs in heaven cartoon

Governor Newsom signed the California Relief Program for business and individuals. The Relief Program reflects a four-fold increase – from $500 million to more than $2 billion – for grants up to $25,000 for small businesses impacted by the pandemic, and also allocates $50 million for cultural institutions. The agreement also partially conforms California tax law to new federal tax treatment for loans provided through the Paycheck Protection Plan, allowing companies to deduct up to $150,000 in expenses covered by the PPP loan. All businesses that took out loans of $150,000 or less would be able to maximize their deduction for state purposes. Larger firms that took out higher loans would still be subject to the same ceiling of $150,000 in deductibility. More than 750,000 PPP loans were taken out by California small businesses. This tax treatment would also extend to the Economic Injury Disaster Loans as well.

 

Fee Waivers for Most Impacted Licensees: The agreement provides for two years of fee relief for roughly 59,000 restaurants and bars licensed through the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control that can range annually from $455 to $1,235. The agreement also reflects fee relief for more than 600,000 barbering and cosmetology individuals and businesses licensed through the Department of Consumer Affairs. Applications are still being accepted at: https://lendistry.com/partner/lendistry/

The Virus:

Two more people have died of COVID-19 and another 28 infections have been detected in Pasadena, authorities said Friday. One of the recent deaths was that of a long-term care resident, while the other involved a member of the general community. The new figures raised Pasadena’s overall totals to 10,862 documented cases of COVID-19 and 314 associated deaths. Over the prior week, the city saw an average of 17.1 new infections daily, according to city data.

Huntington Hospital officials reported a continuing decline in COVID-19 patients housed at the facility at 49. Eleven of those patients were being treated in intensive care units.

On Wednesday, California surpassed 50,000 known coronavirus deaths, the first state to reach that chilling milestone. The news comes as a bleak reminder that the recent progress the state has made against the pandemic may be fragile. Most of those deaths were recorded recently, during the winter surge, which followed a period of relatively low case counts and a spreading hope that the virus could be controlled until vaccines arrived. According to a New York Times database, California, the country’s most populous state, averaged more than 560 deaths a day at its peak in January. By contrast, for much of November, it reported fewer than 50 deaths a day on average. The end-of-day totals from California public health websites for Thursday, Feb. 25, registered 5,525 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases there have been in the state to 3,530,703. The 14-day total of new cases, 6,423, is down 84.8% from the Jan. 1 high of 42,268. There were 394 new deaths reported Thursday, for a total of 51,384 people in California who have died from the virus.

The California Department of Public Health announced 5,400 new infections and 391 additional deaths on Friday, bringing the statewide totals to 3,465,726 cases of the virus and 51,382 deaths. The CDPH reported the average positivity rate over the prior week had declined to 2.7%. The 14-day rate was 2.9%, which was the lowest since Oct. 26.

LA County surpassed 20,000 fatalities from COVID-19 this past week. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported another 144 COVID-19 deaths on Friday. Since the pandemic began, 21,246 COVID deaths have been confirmed countywide. Another 1,838 cases were confirmed by the county, bringing the new total from throughout the pandemic to 1,189,363.

Although vaccine supplies remain limited, county health officials expressed hope that conditions will improve dramatically with federal approval of a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Hospitalizations continue to decline, averaging a 1% drop daily. There were 6,152 hospitalizations of people with coronavirus-related infections reported on Thursday. That’s a 73% drop since the Jan. 1 high of 22,853 people who needed hospital care.

The count comes as daily coronavirus cases and COVID-19 deaths have dropped considerably in recent weeks, although some scientists remain concerned about the potential spread of mutant variants that are more contagious and possibly more lethal. While California has the largest number of COVID-19 deaths of any state in the nation, it ranks 32nd among the 50 states and the District of Columbia for COVID-19 deaths per capita.

The backlog of 806 new COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County, which mostly occurred in December and January, was discovered following extensive checks of death records, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday.

Less than 2,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Los Angeles as of Thursday, Feb. 25, reaching the lowest levels since before the winter surge that began with Thanksgiving gatherings three months ago. As of Thursday, there were 1,886 people in L.A. County hospitals that tested positive for the coronavirus, based on a state database. Roughly 30% of the patients were in intensive care units. A similar number of hospitalized patients last occurred Nov. 25, when 1,893 people were recorded hospitalized. In between that period, hospitals expanded their capacities in ways they could have never imagined, facing during the peak in early January more than 8,000 patients with COVID-19. Earlier this month, hospitals returned to normal diversion rates — the percentage of time they need to divert ambulances — and most hospitals resumed elective procedures.

After closing to visitors on Nov. 18, Huntington Hospital in Pasadena has reopened its doors, now allowing one visitor per patient each day, according to a news release on Wednesday, Feb. 24. It’s the latest move from public and private agencies alike, which have begun to loosen restrictions as coronavirus case rates continue to fall and vaccination rates slowly improve. According to the news release, visiting hours are between 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. each day. It’s limited to one visitor per patient, per day. There will be a symptom and temperature check when they set foot in the hospital.

Covid is caused by a coronavirus — known as SARS-CoV-2 — and coronaviruses often circulate for years, causing respiratory infections and the common cold. The world is not going to extinguish coronaviruses anytime soon, nor will it extinguish this specific one. “The coronavirus is here to stay,” as a recent article in the science journal Nature, by Nicky Phillips, concluded.

The reasonable goal is to make it manageable, much like the seasonal flu. Fortunately, the vaccines are doing that. In fact, they’re doing better than that. For fully vaccinated people, serious illness from Covid is extremely rare, much rarer than serious illness from the seasonal flu.

Life this spring will not be substantially different from the past year; summer could, miraculously, be close to normal; and next fall and wintercould bring either continued improvement or a moderate backslide, followed by a near-certain return to something like pre-pandemic life.” Experts propose a simple rule of thumb for knowing when the outbreak is over. When the virus is killing as many Americans as the annual flu, we can start to move away from our emergency posture.

Prepare yourself emotionally for the end. Pandemic-spurred anxieties won’t go away overnight. The writer Lily Meyer is turning to the work of one late philosopher to tackle such fears.

Vaccines:

So far, Pasadena about 30% of Pasadena's population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

New Yorker cartoon

 

The Pasadena Public Health Department in partnership with Huntington Hospital, 711 S. Fairmount Ave hosts a vaccine clinic. This clinic is a walk up clinic, not a drive through clinic. This clinic is for eligible Pasadena residents over age 65 only. Proof of age and Pasadena residency will be required at time of vaccination. This clinic is for people that need their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. You ARE REQUIRED to have an appointment to receive a vaccine. Individuals without an appointment will NOT be able to receive a vaccine. Please sign up and fill out the questionnaire at the links below. If you have any questions about the registration process or need additional assistance, please reach out to the Citizen's Service Center at (626) 744-7311, or by email at csc@cityofpasadena.net.  The citizen service center is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
 
If you are eligible, try to with up here: Tuesday, March 2: https://www.calvax.org/reg/1360324934 
Wednesday, March 3: https://www.calvax.org/reg/4314296009 

Proof of Pasadena residency and age will be required at the time of your appointment to be eligible for a vaccine. Friends and family members accompanying the vaccine recipient will not be eligible at this time. If you get to the 7th screen and all options are grayed out/not able to be selected, that means the clinic is full and there are no available appointments. As future appointments become available, we will continue to notify you by email. Please do not contact the hospital directly as the Pasadena Public Health Department is administering this clinic and future clinics. 
   
The vaccine you will be receiving is the Pfizer vaccine. These vaccines are very safe and effective. If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Pfizer-BioNTech.html. We encourage everyone who receives a COVID-19 vaccine to sign up for V-Safe, the CDC’s after-vaccination health checker. Your participation will be helpful even if you do not experience any side effects after vaccination. Register at https://vsafe.cdc.gov. Common side effects of receiving the vaccine are injection site pain, arm soreness, headaches, and fatigue. These are signs your body is building an immune response. Not everyone experiences side effects.  

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Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE have begun a study testing in people whether the companies’ Covid-19 shot can provide protection against emerging strains of the coronavirus. The companies said Thursday they have started the small study to see whether a third dose of their authorized Covid-19 vaccine would increase its effectiveness against new variants, such as the strain first identified in South Africa.

The approach differs from that of Moderna Inc., which said Wednesday it had made a new vaccine targeting the strain found in South Africa and shipped doses to U.S. government researchers for human testing.

America is inching toward relief. But this moment doesn’t look the same for everyone.

The current chapter—in which some Americans are fully vaccinated, but not enough to protect the wider population against the coronavirus’s spread—is new territory. The rules of pandemic life are changing once again.

From the Atlantic: Here are a few things to remember in these next, awkward steps toward normal.

An anti-inflammatory drug can help reduce the risk of death in people hospitalized with Covid-19, a new clinical trial indicates, reviving hopes—and debate— about a medicine that many physicians had abandoned after earlier clinical-trial failures.

A U.K. study of more than 4,000 hospitalized patients showed that people who received the rheumatoid arthritis drug tocilizumab plus steroids had a 20% lower risk of death after 28 days compared with patients who received steroids and standard care only, according to preliminary results posted online this month.

Education:

There are two obvious ways to reopen schools. One is to take precautions like mask wearing that minimize the risk of outbreaks inside school buildings. The other is to vaccinate the country’s teachers as quickly as possible.

Both strategies now appear to be feasible — and yet neither is happening in many places.

Instead, about half of K-12 students are still not spending any time in classrooms. The rates of school closures are highest in Maryland, New Mexico, California and Oregon, according to Burbio. Experts say that the extended absences are causing large learning problems, especially for lower-income students.

The country now has enough vaccine doses to move teachers to the front of the line without substantially delaying vaccinations for everyone else.

Nationwide, about 6.5 million people work inside a K-12 school. It’s a substantially smaller group than the 21 million health care workers, many of whom were in the first group of Americans to become eligible for vaccines.

As a point of reference, Moderna and Pfizer have delivered an average of more than one million new doses to the federal government every day this month. That daily number is on track to exceed three million next month. Immediately vaccinating every school employee would push back everybody else’s vaccine by a few days at most.

A few states have already prioritized teachers, with Kentucky apparently the furthest along, according to Education Week. It has finished administering the first dose to the bulk of K-12 staff who want one. “This is going to help us safely get our kids back in school faster than just about any other state,” Gov. Andy Beshear said, “and it’s going to allow us to do it without risking the health of those that come in to serve those children.”

Even before teachers are fully vaccinated — a process which can take more than a month after the first shot — many schools have shown how to reopen.

It involves “masking, social distancing, hand-washing, adequate ventilation and contact tracing,” as Susan Dominus wrote (in a fascinating Times Magazine story on how Rhode Island mostly kept its schools open). It also involves setting up virtual alternatives for some students and staff members who want them. When schools have followed this approach, it has typically worked, according to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others.

In one of the most rigorous studies, a group at Tulane University looked at hospitalizations (a more reliable measure than positive tests) before and after school reopenings. The results suggest that at least 75 percent of U.S. communities now have Covid well enough under control to reopen schools without sparking new outbreaks, including many places where schools remain closed.

The evidence is murkier for places with the worst current outbreaks, like much of the Carolinas. And some schools do seem to have reopened unsafely, including a Georgia district that is the subject of a new C.D.C. case study.

The Economy:

Manufacturing: Malibu’s orders were up by more than half last June from a year earlier and sales of recreational boats in the U.S. in 2020 were the highest in 13 years, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, a trade group.

Consumer spending on long-lasting goods in the U.S. rose 6.4% last year but domestic production of those goods fell 8.4%, according to federal data, leading to shortages and higher prices.

Supply chains typically get beaten up during recessions. As sales decline, companies draw down inventories to conserve cash instead of purchasing more parts and materials. Entire pipelines of supplies get cleaned out.

When demand improves, even modestly, suppliers respond with an outsize increase in production to restock empty warehouses and assembly plants. The so-called bullwhip effect ripples all along supply chains, generating unusually large orders for suppliers that are far from end customers.

This time, the bullwhip effect is even more pronounced because demand for consumer products has been extraordinarily high. At the same time, companies are placing super-size orders to compensate for the extra time it takes to procure supplies from factories and freight operators constrained by global efforts to contain the coronavirus. That’s exacerbating the strain on supply chains.

Employment: The head waiter has become a grocery manager. The conference coordinator works at a software company. And the hotel-sales boss is now in marketing.

Workers at America’s hotels, restaurants, bars and convention centers have been among the hardest hit during the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns and the lack of travel have caused many gathering places to close or reduce their staff. Since February 2020, the leisure- and-hospitality sector has shed nearly four million people, or roughly a quarter of its workforce. As of January 2021, 15.9% of the industry’s workers remained unemployed; more than any other industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As a result, millions of hospitality workers—a group that includes everyone from front-desk clerks to travel managers— are trying to launch new careers. Some have transitioned to roles that tap skills honed over years of public-facing work in high-pressure environments. Others have seized the moment to remake themselves for different occupations.

The jobs market appears to be returning to growth, with new applications for unemployment benefits falling to the lowest level since November amid other signs hiring is picking up. Initial weekly unemployment claims decreased by 111,000 to a seasonally adjusted 730,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was also the biggest drop in new applications for regular state programs since last summer. The latest figures came as storms disrupted business in parts of the country and at least one state is adjusting for attempted fraud filings, factors that could have affected the totals. Still, weekly claims have dropped significantly since an early January peak above 900,000 and the four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility in the weekly figures, fell to 807,750.

Tax Info:

FREE SEMINAR  March 15, 2021 1:00pm by the LA County Assessor: Businesses with personal property valued at $100k or more are required to file a Business Property Statement. The filing period is between April 1 - May 7. Those businesses that miss the deadline will be penalized with a 10% penalty to the assessment...

 

Assessor Tax Seminar

COVID-19 Update for February 22, 2021-Governor, Legislators Agree on Relief Bill, Vaccine Update, More

 

The United States recorded our 500,000 confirmed death from COVID-19 on Sunday. 

 

PASADENA reached a grim milestone Thursday as public health officials reported the city’s 300th COVID-19 death. Pasadena reported two new fatalities on Saturday, increasing its death toll to 305; 10 new cases raised the city’s total to 10,752.. Pasadena Director of Public Health Dr. Ying-Ying Goh urged continued vigilance against the virus.

According to city data, more than 2,400 Pasadenans had received their initial doses of COVID-19 vaccines, while another 7,325 had been inoculated with both doses.

L.A. County coronavirus numbers continue to drop though officials are still urging caution, owing to continued spread of U.K. virus variant.

Los Angeles County officials continue to report a decline in new coronavirus cases but say the emergence of a more transmissible, potentially more virulent variant underscores the importance of sticking with safety measures like masking and distancing. Public health officials on Saturday recorded 2,393 new cases of the virus and 136 related deaths, as well as two more cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the U.K. that has since spread to at least 42 U.S. states. Experts predict it will become the dominant coronavirus nationwide by the end of March. That’s a cause for concern because it is believed to be 50% more transmissible than the conventional variety and may also be more deadly.

Los Angeles County has now recorded a total of 14 cases of the B.1.1.7 strain, but experts have said there are likely more, as only a small portion of samples undergo the genetic sequencing necessary to determine the variant.
The variant has also been reported in Alameda, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo and Yolo counties.
Although research has indicated that vaccines on the market remain effective against the B.1.1.7 variant, some officials have expressed fears its contagiousness could fuel another surge, particularly if a comprehensive vaccination campaign is slow to roll out and people become fatigued and disregard public safety rules.

There were 2,369 COVID- 19 patients in L.A. County hospitals as of Friday, a decline of nearly 44% from two weeks before, when there were 4,186 patients.

Orange County has reported a similar downward trend, on Saturday recording 391 new cases of the virus, 44 deaths and 591 hospitalized patients, a decline of about 46% from two weeks before.

CALIFORNIA RELIEF PROGRAM: Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers have reached a spending deal on small-business grants, stimulus checks for individuals and housing for farmworkers infected by the coronavirus, Newsom said Wednesday.

It includes a fresh $24 million for a program that puts farm and food processing workers up in hotels if they contract the virus and have no place to isolate, Newsom said as he spoke at a community vaccination clinic in the Coachella Valley, a region that’s home to many farmworkers.

“It’s candidly been underutilized, and we recognize that,” Newsom said of the farmworker housing program. “And the purpose of this new appropriation is to maximize its effectiveness.”

Newsom and lawmakers released a joint statement with details on the other spending items, including money for grants of $5,000 to $25,000 for small businesses, nonprofits and cultural centers.

The deal will also cover Newsom’s proposed stimulus plan to give a $600 one-time payment to low-income Californians.

The governor’s visit to the Coachella Valley was his latest stop in a tour around the state to highlight vaccination efforts as California’s virus numbers continue to improve. Local and county governments have teamed up with nonprofits and community groups in the valley to vaccinate farmworkers and atriskpopulations. Details of the stimulus package include:

Fee waivers: Two years of fee relief that can range annually from $455 to $1,235 for roughly 59,000 restaurants and bars licensed through the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The deal also includes fee relief for more than 600,000 barbering and cosmetology individuals and businesses licensed through the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Resources for child care: More than $400 million in new federal funds will provide stipends of $525 per enrolled child for all state-subsidized child care and preschool providers serving approximately 400,000 children statewide.

The new funding extends care for children of essential workers through June 2022. That money also increased access to subsidized child care for more than 8,000 children of essential workers and at-risk children — who are not currently served in the system — through June 2022.

More aid for families: A combined $35 million for food banks and diapers.

Community colleges: An additional $100 million in emergency financial aid will to qualifying low-income students carrying six or more units, with award amounts to be determined locally and made available by early April.

The deal also provides $20 million to reengage students who have either left their community college studies because of the pandemic or to engage students at risk of leaving.

CalFresh student outreach: Roughly $6 million will support outreach and application assistance to University of California, California State University and California Community College students made newly eligible for CalFresh. The program provides supplemental food assistance.

VACCINE

Here is a short preliminary summary of what is in the recently announced deal for Blue Shield to oversee vaccine distribution in California: The contract delineates goals to increase distribution and specifies that vaccine doses will be sent directly to providers, who will have to sign model contracts to participate.  

Blue Shield will also implement a vaccine provider credentialing and enrollment system.  Data reporting is a key component of the contract, requiring doses to be reported in a timely manner and uploaded to the state vaccine progress dashboard.  

The contract specifies most Californians should have to travel 30 minutes or less to receive a vaccine and sets an administration goal of 3 million/week by March 1 and 4 million/week by April 30.

Pasadena: Due to insufficient vaccine supply, the City of Pasadena is not able to offer appointments for the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this time.  Local pharmacies, however, are launching COVID-19 vaccine programs after receiving vaccine directly from the federal government.  

See the links below for more information: 

CVS:  https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine   
Eligible individuals without internet access can call CVS at 800-746-7287 for assistance on scheduling.

Rite Aidhttps://www.riteaid.com/pharmacy/covid-qualifier 

If you have any additional questions or need more information, please contact the Citizen Service Center at (626) 744-7311, or by email at csc@cityofpasadena.net. Agents are available by phone Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 

Los Angeles County-Operated Vaccination Sites Remain Open for Healthcare Workers, 65+ Due For Second Dose at These Sites

Los Angeles County-operated COVID-19 vaccination sites are open and continue to vaccinate healthcare workers and residents who are 65 and older and are due for their second dose of vaccine at these sites.

For the rest of this week, these vaccination sites are only providing second doses to those who are due for their second dose and who received their first dose at these sites

The County operated sites are:

  • Pomona Fairplex in Pomona (Pfizer)
  • The Forum in Inglewood (Pfizer)
  • California State University, Northridge (Pfizer)
  • L.A. County Office of Education in Downey (Pfizer)
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia (Pfizer)
  • Balboa Sports Complex in Encino (Moderna)
  • El Sereno Recreation Center in Los Angeles (Moderna)

 

More on the virus: New evidence from China is affirming what epidemiologists have long suspected: The coronavirus likely began spreading unnoticed around the Wuhan area in November 2019, before it exploded in multiple different locations throughout the city in December.  Chinese authorities have identified 174 confirmed Covid-19 cases around the city from December 2019, said World Health Organization researchers, enough to suggest there were many more mild, asymptomatic or otherwise undetected cases than previously thought. Many of the 174 cases had no known connection to the market that was initially con-sidered the source of the outbreak, according to information gathered by WHO investigators during the four-week mission to China to examine the origins of the virus. Chinese authorities declined to give the WHO team raw data on these cases and potential earlier ones, team members said.

Economic Recovery: Southern California is expected to regain more than half of the 755,400 jobs it lost in 2020 as COVID- 19 tightened its grip on the region’s economy, but low-income workers, minorities and women will face a slower recovery than those earning higher wages, a new report from the Los Angeles Economic Development Center says. An economic forecast by the LAEDC Institute for Applied Economics dubs the comeback “A Tale of Two Recoveries.”

Businesses with ready access to capital and workers who earn good wages have suffered less disruption from the health crisis and will recover faster, the report said, but low-wage workers many minority- owned enterprises that operate on thin margins will face a longer recovery.

Low-income workers are experiencing job losses at significantly higher rates during the pandemic because many of those positions — including jobs at restaurants and hotels — rely on person-topersoninteraction.

Knowledge-based industries, by contrast, have often been able to transition much of their workforce to a remote work arrangement, the report said. That includes such industries as software development, accounting and digital media.

At the worst point of the unemployment shock in April 2020, high-wage workers across the U.S. experienced a 12.9% decline in employment compared to January 2020 levels. Low-wage workers saw a decline of more than 38%.

The report likens the disparity to contrasting recoveries experienced by small and large businesses on Main Street versus Wall Street. Low-wage earners are less likely to have equity investments, the study said, while high-wage earners gained wealth as their investments increased in value, further widening the wealth gap.

The report also notes that women are leaving the labor force at a higher rate, often to care for children and oversee their online education.

Minorities impacted more

Minorities continue to be disproportionately impacted by the virus in terms of cases, deaths, jobs lost and business insolvencies, the study said. Many minority business owners have been forced into high-risk, low-margin sectors such as food service because of limited access to capital.

The Center for a Competitive Workforce, a program that partners 19 Los Angeles-area community colleges and the LAEDC with employers from high-growth industry sectors, aims to funnel low-wage workers into higherpaying careers via training, mentoring and on-the-job experience.

Southern California lost 755,400 jobs in 2020. The region is expected to recover 383,300 jobs this year and 237,300 next year, the report said, but that will still fall nearly 135,000 short of full employment recovery.

No full recovery until 2024: The LAEDC report does not anticipate that we’ll be back to pre-pandemic levels until about 2024, assuming that everything goes well and that we don’t have an additional strain of COVID- 19 or more peaks of coronavirus cases that would require additional business restrictions.

Southern California’s unemployment rate for 2020 was 11.28%, up from 4.13% the previous year. The region’s gross domestic product — or total value of all its goods and services — also took a hit, falling to -3% compared with 3% in 2019.

Housing permits also tumbled although the median listing price for a home was $726,822 last year, up from $687,703 in 2019.

California’s GDP slide was less severe, dipping -0.6% last year compared with 3.4% in 2019. The Golden State had a jobless rate of 10.38% in 2020, up from 4.05% the previous year.

 

COVID-19 Update for February 15, 2021- Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Info, PPP Loans and more

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant is designed to provide financial assistance to shuttered venue operators (SVOs). These grants can offer relief to live venue operators and related businesses.

Eligible entities include:

  • Live venue operators or promoters
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators
  • Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
  • Motion picture theater operators
  • Talent representatives, and
  • Must have been in operation as of Feb. 29, 2020
  • Venue or promoter must not have received a PPP loan on or after Dec. 27, 2020

 

A recorded program webinar is now available on SBA’s YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/PdfQGb6z-gg.

For more information on this program, visit https://www.sba.gov/coronavirusrelief or https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/shuttered-venue-operators-grant email SVOGrant@sba.gov with your questions (please include topic in the subject line).

All lenders are now eligible to provide PPP loans. If you haven't already, please contact your bank and askl about applying. The application process is simplified and is open to those receiving a first draw loan or those who received a PPP loan in the past.

Small Business Town Hall (Small Business Q&A - PPP2 & other funding updates) hosted by LA SBDC Associate Director Ted Hiatt, and financial experts Lori Williams and GB Bajaj, these webinars will focus on the PPP2 and will cover: who is eligible; how to apply; loan details; how to use the funds.

On Wednesdays, Lori will cover how to calculate wages for the PPP application - for employees and business owners (sole proprietors - independent contractors, LLCs, and partnerships.) You'll also learn how to calculate the 25% revenue reduction to confirm eligibility for second draw PPP applicants. You may want to have a copy of your 2019 tax return in front of you so you can follow along. GB will present on Thursdays and will also cover tax implications as they relate to PPP and EIDL . Seminars take place Wednesday, February 17th @ 1:00 PMThursday, February 18th @ 1:00 PM; Wednesday, February 24th @1:00 PM; Thursday, February 25th @ 1:00 PM. Register Here

PPE Unite™ provides free Personal Protective Equipment to LA county small businesses. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees can apply to receive a one-month supply of face masks, hand sanitizer, and face shields through the PPE Unite™ distribution program. These supplies are offered on a first come, first served basis, so don't delay. Sign up here to get your free PPE

VACCINE

Due to insufficient vaccine supply, the City of Pasadena is not able to offer appointments for the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this time.  Local pharmacies, however, are launching COVID-19 vaccine programs after receiving vaccine directly from the federal government.  

See the links below for more information: 

CVS:  https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine   
Eligible individuals without internet access can call CVS at 800-746-7287 for assistance on scheduling.

Rite Aidhttps://www.riteaid.com/pharmacy/covid-qualifier 

If you have any additional questions or need more information, please contact the Citizen Service Center at (626) 744-7311, or by email at csc@cityofpasadena.net. Agents are available by phone Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 

Los Angeles County-Operated Vaccination Sites Remain Open for Healthcare Workers, 65+ Due For Second Dose at These Sites

Los Angeles County-operated COVID-19 vaccination sites are open and continue to vaccinate healthcare workers and residents who are 65 and older and are due for their second dose of vaccine at these sites.

For the rest of this week, these vaccination sites are only providing second doses to those who are due for their second dose and who received their first dose at these sites

The County operated sites are:

  • Pomona Fairplex in Pomona (Pfizer)
  • The Forum in Inglewood (Pfizer)
  • California State University, Northridge (Pfizer)
  • L.A. County Office of Education in Downey (Pfizer)
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia (Pfizer)
  • Balboa Sports Complex in Encino (Moderna)
  • El Sereno Recreation Center in Los Angeles (Moderna)

 

COVID-19 INFORMATION:

Pasadena reported 23 new cases on Saturday, for a total of 10,639; an additional death raised the city’s death toll to 294.

Los Angeles County reported 3,254 new cases of coronavirus and 197 additional deaths on Saturday as health officials urged residents to celebrate the Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day holidays without mingling with people from other households. The latest numbers bring the county’s totals to 1,164,769 cases and 18,984 deaths since the pandemic began. The number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals continued to decline, dipping to 3,270, with 30% in intensive care. The county’s hospitalization rate has more than a third since Feb. 1.

Saturday’s daily test positivity rate was 5.3%, down 42% since Feb. 1. Despite the encouraging trends, the county Department of Public Health was reminded the public that being around people who don’t live in the same household creates a greater risk for COVID-19 because people can be infected with the virus and not yet know it.

On Friday, the county also reported another 15 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, raising the overall total to 90, including one death. Health officials noted there has been a 35% increase in the number of MIS-C infections locally over the past two weeks. The syndrome generally develops in children after they had COVID-19, although it has occasionally affected patients with no known prior infection.

California has seen 3,450,417 cases and 46,447 fatalities from COVID-19 as of Saturday. 9,649 new cases were reported and 444 new deaths due to COVID-19 complications. The overall case rate in Calfironia is 860 per 10,000 residents. 

UNEMPLOYMENT:

California’s frail job market, battered by nearly one year of coronavirus-linked business shutdowns, has seen another sharp increase in initial filings for unemployment benefits, a weekly government report shows. California workers filed 132,800 initial claims for unemployment benefits in the week that ended Feb. 6, a jump of 23,600 claims from the previous week ending Jan. 30, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

The pace of jobless claims in California has intensified at the same time claims are dropping elsewhere in the United States.

Initial U.S. unemployment claims totaled 793,000 in the week ending Feb. 6, down 19,000 from the previous week, according to the federal report.

California also is accounting for far more than its share of unemployment claims. The state, which has 12% of the nation’s labor force, accounts for 16.1% of all of the jobless claims filed nationwide, an analysis of jobs data shows. Other than one week in January that economists view as a reporting quirk, The last time California unemployment claims were below 100,000 was the week of March 14, 2020.

Thursday’s government report also showed a sizable rise in the total number of Americans who are receiving jobless aid, including through extended benefits programs — a sign that long-term unemployment may be growing. All told, 20.4 million people were receiving benefits in the week that ended Jan. 23, the latest period for which data are available. That’s up sharply from 17.8 million from the week before. Part of that increase likely reflects the processing of a rush of claims after the extension of two federal aid programs just after Christmas.In January, the unemployment rate fell to 6.3% from 6.7%, mostly because more people found jobs. But it also declined because many people who had lost jobs stopped looking for one. The government doesn’t count people as unemployed unless they’re actively seeking work.

COVID-19 Update for February 8, 2021-PPP Loan Webinars, Information, Resources and More

COVID-19-related Grants and Loans:

VERIZON GRANTS: Thanks to generous funding from Verizon, small businesses are invited to apply for a $10,000 grant. The application period is now open. Applications must be submitted by Tuesday, February 9th at 11:59PM ET.

APPLY HERE: https://lisc.tfaforms.net/279

All applicants are encouraged to review our grant information and FAQ prior to applying. The grant applications are intended to collect basic information about your business. 

Grants are for eligible small businesses across the US, particularly in historically underserved communities hit hard by the pandemic. Eligible expenses for the grant include:

  • Paying rent and utilities
  • Meeting payroll
  • Paying outstanding debt to vendors
  • Upgrading technology infrastructure
  • Other immediate operational costs

 

City of Pasadena Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program APPLY BY FEBRUARY 12, 2021
 
Program provides up to 50 small businesses with grants of $7,500 each 
 
The City of Pasadena and Pasadena Community Foundation (PCF) announce the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program to assist small businesses in Pasadena impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides approximately 50 reimbursable grants of $7,500 each to qualifying small businesses. Source of funds for the program are provided by the City’s annual Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) allocation. PCF was chosen by the City to review and select applicants and subsequently disburse grant funds.
 
The online application portal opened Monday, Jan. 25 and will close Friday, February 12. Apply here

Applications for the second round of PPP loans from the federal government are available. If you haven't done so already, please contact yuor bank to inquire about applying. The second round application is streamlined with much less documentation required to apply. If you received a first round PPP loan, much of the paperwork submitted for that satisfies document requirements.

SBA Hosts PPP Loan Webinars: The SBA’s Orange County / Inland Empire District office, in collaboration with SCORE, invites you to learn more about the Economic Aid Act and the PPP Relaunch. (You don't have tyo be located there to join.) In this webinar, presenters will cover the application process, required forms and guidance, and conduct a Q&A session for attendees.

Please Join Us

February 9: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 10: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 11: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 16: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 17: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 18: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 23: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 24: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 25: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

Click on a date above to register now.

Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson has applied to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization to roll out its single-dose vaccine, with the first shipments possible by early March, The New York Times reports. The application followed a promising clinical trial in the U.S., Latin America and South Africa that found the vaccine was 85 percent effective in preventing severe infections in all three regions. While not as far along, the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca PLC and the University of Oxford was shown effective against a highly transmissible variant of the virus in a small-scale study, according to The Wall Street Journal.  The results, which have not been peer reviewed, found that the vaccine was 74.6 percent effective against the variant first detected in Britain. Preliminary findings suggest that all of the vaccines, including the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines already on the market, provide some protections against new coronavirus variants that are spreading around the world.

Locally, if you are eligible, you can make an appointment to be vaccinated at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/ncorona2019/vaccine/hcwsignup/ in LA County and https://www.cityofpasadena.net/public-health/covid-19-vaccine/ for Pasadena.

Pasadena residents should contact their healthcare provider or local pharmacy for vaccine availability. For more information on vaccine availability at local pharmacies, visit: Vons: https://www.vons.com/pharmacy/covid-19.html; Pavilions: https://www.pavilions.com/pharmacy/covid-19.html; Ralphs: https://www.ralphs.com/rx/guest/get-vaccinated; CVS: https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine; Walgreens: https://www.walgreens.com/topic/promotion/covid-vaccine.jsp

Health officials in Pasadena reported 36 new cases on Saturday, raising its total to 10,440 cases; its death toll remained 272. Pasadena reported five additional COVID-19 deaths on Thursday as new infections in the city continued declining significantly. All five of the latest victims were residents of long-term care facilities, according to city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian. Officials documented 36 new infections, marking the lowest number of new daily cases seen in the city in more than two months. A total of 10,376 cases of the virus and 269 fatalities had been recorded in Pasadena. City officials reported 19,861 Pasadenans had received their first vaccine dose, while another 3,457 had already received both doses. The city remained in Phase 1b of Tier 1 under the state’s vaccination distribution framework.

Huntington Hospital reported treating 137 COVID-19 patients on Thursday, with 20 of them being treated in intensive care units. Average daily COVID-19 admissions have dropped steadily in recent weeks to 15.8, according to hospital data.

PASADENA REVISED RULES ON GATHERINGS – Private gatherings, limited to 3 households or fewer and subject to other restrictions in state and local health officer orders,  can occur outdoors on private property, and venues can also host private gatherings outdoors.  Examples include baby showers, birthday parties, micro-weddings, and holiday celebrations.  

  • The host or venue must following the Guidance for Private Gatherings
  • This allowance does not extend to business meetings.  According to the state, non-essential office activities must continue to be conducted remotely until LA County reaches Tier 3 Orange. 
  • The number of individuals is limited to 3 households or fewer.  The households should be stable, meaning when they gather, it should be the same 3 households each time.
  • The gathering must occur outdoors.
  • Physical distancing (6 feet) must be observed at all times, face coverings worn, hand sanitizer available, and handwashing facilities accessible.
  • Food must be individually plated or packaged.  Self-serve buffets, shared plates, communal containers, etc. are not allowed.  Face coverings can be removed only while guests are seated for dining.
  • The gathering/meeting is limited to 2 hours.
  • Singing, chanting, shouting, and playing of wind instruments are strongly discouraged, and subject to rules, including face coverings for people singing or chanting, and greater physical distancing.  
  • Wedding ceremonies must be limited to 3 households if a reception is planned to follow at the same location (micro-weddings). 

 

WEDDING CEREMONY ONLY – Larger wedding ceremonies may occur, but the reception including food and entertainment is not allowed.

  • The host or business must follow the Guidance for Places of Worship.
  • The number of attendees is limited by the space. Seating must incorporate a minimum of 6 feet of distance between attendees from different households.
  • The gathering is limited to the ceremony only (no reception), and cannot include food or entertainment.
  • The gathering must occur outdoors.
  • Physical distancing (6 feet) must be observed at all times, face coverings worn, hand sanitizer available, and handwashing facilities accessible.
  • Singing, chanting, shouting, and playing of wind instruments are strongly discouraged, and subject to rules, including face coverings for people singing or chanting, and greater physical distancing.  

 

Los Angeles County reported 4,860 new cases of the coronavirus and 193 COVID-19 deaths Saturday and confirmed nine new cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. The number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals was 4,421, according to the state dashboard, with 28.8% of those people in intensive care units.

The latest cases of MIS-C bring the number of children infected in the county to 75, including one death. MIS-C is an inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19, with symptoms including fever that doesn’t go away and inflamed body parts, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs. All 75 children with MIS-C in the county were hospitalized and 44% were treated in the ICU. Of the 75, 32% were under the age of 5, 39% were ages 5-11 and 29% were ages 12-20. Latino children account for 76% of the reported cases, the department said.

Saturday’s updated numbers brought the county’s totals since the pandemic began to 1,143,422 cases and 17,955 fatalities, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The county’s update Saturday did not include updated figures from Long Beach and Pasadena.

County officials also reported slow but steady progress in vaccination efforts Friday but said less than 3% of the population has been fully vaccinated, and appointments for first doses will be difficult to come by this week.

State of California public health officials announced 14,170new infections and 536 additional fatalities on Saturday, raising California’s overall totals to 3,376,561 documented cases of COVID-19 and 43,638 deaths. The statewide average positivity rate over the prior week declined to 6.1%, and the 14-day average had fallen to 6.9%, according to California Department of Public Health Data.

As of Thursday, L.A. County represented 34% of California’s COVID-19 infections and 41% of the state’s fatalities.

Coronavirus deaths in the United States surpassed 450,000 Thursday, and daily deaths remain stubbornly high at more than 3,000 a day, despite falling infections and the arrival of multiple vaccines. Infectious disease specialists expect deaths to start dropping soon, after new cases hit a peak right around the beginning of the year. New COVID-19 deaths could ebb as early as next week, said the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

California unemployment claims last week topped 100,000 again, government officials reported Thursday, in a sign the job market has yet to shake off economic woes unleashed by the coronavirus. Jobless workers in the week ending Jan. 30 filed 104,400 initial unemployment claims, a 79% increase from the 58,200 jobless claims filed the week before, according to U.S. Labor Department data.

The claims’ leap comes as the Employment Development Department continues to struggle to pay jobless workers in a timely fashion due to the agency’s broken call center and archaic computer systems. Conversely, U.S. jobless claims dropped by 33,000 to 779,000 applications for the week that ended Jan. 30, according to the report. The U.S. numbers were adjusted for seasonal variations.

California continues to generate a high share of the nation’s jobless claims, accounting for 13% of jobless claims filed in the entire country. The state’s labor force represents 12% of the national labor pool. Overall, California’s jobless claims remain elevated. During the 11 months of coronavirus-linked business shutdowns, initial claims have been above 100,000 every week except for one — the week ending Jan. 23. Other than Jan. 23, the last time California unemployment claims were below 100,000 was the week that ended March 14, 2020.

Last week’s U.S. unemployment jobless claims dropped by 33,000 to 779,000 applications for the week ending Jan. 30, according to the report. The U.S. numbers were adjusted for seasonal variations.

California continues to generate a high share of the nation’s jobless claims, accounting for 13% of jobless claims filed in the entire country. The state’s labor force represents 12% of the national labor pool.

It left the weekly figure at its lowest point in two months but nevertheless elevated: Before the virus erupted in the United States in March, weekly applications for jobless aid had never topped 700,000, even during the Great Recession.

Thursday’s report reflects a U.S. job market that is still suffering from the pandemic, with hiring having weakened for six straight months. It is a key reason why President Joe Biden is pushing Congress to enact a $1.9 trillion economic rescue program, on top of a $900 billion federal aid package that was approved late last year.

PPP Round Two:

Applications for the second round of PPP loans from the federal government are available. If you haven't done so already, please contact yuor bank to inquire about applying. The second round application is streamlined with much less documentation required to apply. If you received a first round PPP loan, much of the paperwork submitted for that satisfies document requirements.

SBA Hosts PPP Loan Webinars: The SBA’s Orange County / Inland Empire District office, in collaboration with SCORE, invites you to learn more about the Economic Aid Act and the PPP Relaunch. In this webinar, presenters will cover the application process, required forms and guidance, and conduct a Q&A session for attendees.

Please Join Us

February 9: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 10: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 11: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 16: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 17: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 18: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 23: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 24: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

February 25: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PST

Click on a date above to register now. 

More:

On Friday, January 29, a new law took effect to extend tenant eviction and homeowner protections through June 30th, 2021. It also created a new program to help tenants and landlords deal with unpaid rental debt.

  • Eviction Relief.  Tenants cannot be evicted for a COVID-19 related hardship from September 1, 2020 ? June 30, 2021, if tenant returns a declaration of hardship form to their landlord and pays at least 25% of the rent due by June 30, 2021.
  • Rental Assistance.  Cities and counties can set up their own rental assistance programs using money from the federal government to provide help.  Applications should be available in March, so check with your local city or county.  For more information, please visit http://housingiskey.com or call the California Housing COVID-19 Assistance Line at (833) 422-4255.
  • Property Owner Protections. The new law also extends consumer protections for requests of mortgage forbearance for homeowners impacted by COVID-19 until September 1, 2021.

For full details on the tenant, landlord, and homeowner protections, as well as the upcoming rental assistance program, please visit the following websites:

COVID-19 Update for February 1:

Round 2 of the State of California Grants is Open for Applications through February 8

During Round 1 of the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program, we at CalNonprofits held two webinars, published (and continue to update) FAQs, and individually responded to more than 1,200 nonprofits needing help with their applications. With the next application window for Round 2 about to open, we are hosting a webinar with Janet Perez Shensky, VP of Strategic Partnerships, at Lendistry (the company chosen by CalOSBA to administer the program). Round 2: California Small Business (and Nonprofits!) Relief Grant Program (Webinar). Monday, February 1, 2021 from 2 pm to 3:15 pm. Register here (it's free but registration is required). THIS WEBINAR WILL BE RECORDED. If you can't attend, please register and you will receive the recording and slides after the webinar. 

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM

First Draw (New Applications) & Second Draw (Returning Applications) Program Launched. The SBA, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, began accepting applications for PPP Loans on January 11th (new applications) and January 13th (returning applications).  To find a lender, use the SBA's Lender Match Tool. For more information and to submit an application, click here.

First Draw PPP Loans are for those borrowers who have not received a PPP loan before August 8, 2020. The first round of the PPP, which ran from March to August 2020, was a historic success helping 5.2 million small businesses keep 51 million American workers employed. Second Draw PPP Loans are for eligible small businesses with 300 employees or less, that previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will use or have used the full amount only for authorized uses, and that can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. The maximum amount of a Second Draw PPP loan is $2 million.  Join the SBA Tuesday - Feb 2nd @ 11am for a webinar to discuss the PPP and get your questions answered!!  NO REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED for this event. JOIN HERE

Vaccines:

Here is the link to sign up for info from Pasadena on vaccine appointments: 
https://healthforms.cityofpasadena.net/v/SeniorVaccine

Here is the link to sign up through the state (for LA super vaccine sites): https://myturn.ca.gov

Los Angeles County's COVID-19 Vaccine website, VaccinateLACounty.com has incorporated the State's new appointment registration platform, MyTurn.  The registration system features
a streamlined process for residents eligible to receive the vaccine. Those who are registered can receive alerts when new appointments become available, or when vaccinations are 
allowed for additional priority groups. Currently, MyTurn will make appointments for the County's five large capacity sites, as well as two other County-operated vaccination sites. 
Appointments for other locations, including pharmacies and clinics are also available. Residents with internet access and a computer are urged to use VaccinateLACounty.com 
to reserve an appointment. For those without access to the internet, or with disabilities, a call center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. to help schedule appointments; 
dial 833-540-0473 if you are in need of assistance. Please note that this phone line is reserved for people with disabilities or for those who don’t have internet access.

 

With multiple safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out over the next few months, it’s critical that we all get vaccinated when they are available. Many have questions about how these vaccines work, how they perform against the increasing number of mutations of the virus, and why the vaccines are essential to fighting this virus and returning us to normalcy. To help answer qeustions, Congressman Adam Schiff is hosting a live Q&A with Kristen Choi, PhD, RN, who will share her experience of receiving and administering COVID-19 vaccines, and providing mental health care and services during this pandemic. 

Live Q&A on Vaccine Safety and COVID-19 with Kristen Choi, PhD, RN
Thursday, February 4 at 6:00pm PT
Register via Zoom or tune in on Facebook Live
If you have a question for Dr. Choi, please submit it via the Zoom registration

During the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers are using robocalls, social media posts, and emails to take advantage of fear, anxiety, and confusion about the pandemic. Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is in Los Angeles County, scammers are targeting local residents with new, vaccine-related schemes. 

FACTS: Covid-19 vaccine is being distributed in a fair and transparent way. Covid-19 vaccine will be given to Los Angeles County residents at no cost and regardless of immigration status. Learn more at covid19.lacounty.gov.

Google has committed to providing $150 Million in COVID-19 Vaccine education and equitable access to the vaccine. Here is their recent blog post outlining this commitment - https://blog.google/technology/health/vaccines-how-were-helping/

Pasadena saw its 10,000th COVID-19 infection on Thursday. Public health officials reported 56 new detected infections, pushing the city’s overall total to 10,044. Five additional deaths, all involving patients of long-term care facilities, raised the city’s death toll to 244, as of Thursday.

Additionally, Pasadena Public Health Department Epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Feaster said PPH has also investigated more than 400 “probable” cases of the virus, more than 350 worksites and over 100 individual outbreaks.

Huntington Hospital officials reported treating 141 COVID-19 patients on Thursday, with 30 of them being cared for in intensive care units.

Pasadena Revised Public Health Order & Industry Guidancepasadena revised reopening graphic

Last week, the State of California lifted the regional stay at home order returning the City of Pasadena to the Purple Tier of the State's Blueprint for a Safer Economy. This change essentially places the City back to the same business restrictions that were in place in early December, prior to the state order. A revised Pasadena Public Health Order will be issued this week.

In the meantime, industry protocols have been revised to reflect the latest updates in the anticipated Pasadena Public Health Order and to align with state guidelines. Revised protocols have been posted to the City's website and direct links can be found below:

 

No-Fee Permits for Business Operations Outdoors

Pasadena businesses eligible to resume operations outdoors due to protocols related to COVID can apply for a no-fee permit through the City's Rapid Reopening Permit & Plan Check Approval Portal. To access the portal, click here

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported that 213 new fatalities on Thursday raised the county’s overall deaths to 16,107.

County officials also reported 6,592 new infections, bringing the total to 1,097,941, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a written statement. Just over 6,000 COVID-19 patients were being treated at L.A. County hospitals, authorities said.

At the state level, the California Department of Public Health reported 16,696 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, along with 737 fatalities. It was the second-deadliest day of the pandemic in California, exceeded only by Jan. 21, when 764 deaths were announced, according to CDPH data.

Since March, California has recorded 3,186,610 cases of the virus and 38,961 fatalities.

The statewide seven-day average positivity rate was 7.5%, and the 14-day average declined to 8.5%, which was the lowest level seen since Dec. 6.

As of Thursday, L.A. County accounted for 34% of California’s total COVID-19 cases and 41% of the state’s deaths.

Grants and Loans:

California will be offering a number of relief options for businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The state is creating a $500 million COVID-19 relief grant program, and a temporary tax relief program which, if fully utilized, is estimated to have billions in impact. Additionally, the state will expand the California Rebuilding Fund by $12.5 million, bringing the program’s total investment to $37.5 million. These efforts are informed by recommendations made by the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery.

State COVID Relief Grant for Small Business:

The California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) will be administering the $500 million COVID Relief Grant at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development for small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19, and health and safety restrictions.

Funds will be awarded to selected intermediaries with established networks of Community Development Financial Institutions to distribute relief through grants of up to $25,000 to underserved micro and small businesses throughout the state by early 2021. Non-profits would also be eligible for these grants.

CalOSBA is establishing the program and will make it available to small businesses as soon as possible—for updates on availability visit https://business.ca.gov/.

Tax Relief Program:

In April 2020, the Governor, through Executive Order, allowed taxpayers to apply for penalty and interest relief for 90 days for any taxpayer reporting less than $1 million in sales on their tax return. Through November 22, some 9,287 plans with almost $149 million in tax relief have taken advantage of this program.

The Governor will direct the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to do the following:

  • Provide an automatic three-month extension for taxpayers filing less than $1 million in sales tax on the return and extend the availability of existing interest- and penalty-free payment agreements to companies (with up to $5 million in taxable sales);
  • Expand interest-free payment options for larger businesses particularly affected by significant restrictions on operations based on COVID-19 transmissions; and
  • Broaden opportunities for more businesses to enter into interest-free payment arrangements.

 

California Rebuilding Fund:

Lastly, the state is providing an additional $12.5 million to the California Rebuilding Fund, which helps impacted small businesses rebuild from the economic crisis and keep local economies strong. This program is built to be a resource in the market for the next year as businesses pivot and recover.

The additional funding will help the third party administrator of the fund raise $125 million to make more low-interest loans to small businesses with less access to loans from traditional banking institutions.

The California State Legislature passed legislation, SB 91, to extend the moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 financial hardship, from January 31, 2021, to June 30, 2021.

Consumer Confidence:

Consumer confidence in the U.S. rose in January as expectations for the economy and the labor market improved, according to data from the Conference Board released Tuesday. The group’s consumer confidence index rose to 89.3 in January from 87.1 in December. January marks the first uptick rise in consumer confidence after two consecutive months of declines for the index. However, it remains below the October level of 101.4, which was the highest since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., and February’s pre-pandemic level of 132.6. The January increase was driven by consumers’ more upbeat outlook for the economy and jobs, suggesting they foresee conditions improving in the not-too-distant future.

Economic Recovery:

The rate of the US economy’s rebound from the coronavirus-fuelled downturn slowed in the fourth quarter of 2020, weighed down by a deadly surge of cases over the holiday season. Gross domestic product advanced 4 per cent on an annualised basis, according to figures published Thursday by the US commerce department. Economic output advanced 1 per cent compared with the previous quarter, based on the measure used by other major economies.

COVID-19 Update for January 25, 2021:

California officials lifted regional coronavirus stay-at-home orders across the state on Monday, a change that could allow restaurants and businesses in many counties to reopen outdoor dining and other services. All counties will return to the colored tier system that assigns local risk levels based on case numbers and rates of positive test results for coronavirus infections. Most counties will be classified under the “widespread” risk tier, which permits hair salons to offer limited services indoors but restricts many other nonessential indoor business operations.

The change, which takes effect immediately, could lessen restrictions in in the Southern California, Bay Area and San Joaquin Valley regions, which were still under stay-at-home orders, unless local officials adopt stronger restrictions. Throughout the pandemic, local leaders have been allowed to go beyond the state’s rules, approve their own stay-at-home orders or shut down additional activities they deem too risky for their areas.

Stats and Updates: Six new COVID-19-related fatalities reported in Pasadena on Thursday raised the city’s pandemic death toll beyond 200. The newly reported deaths involved people, both in facility and community settings, who were exposed to the virus around late-November and early-December and died late last year, city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. The cases were added to official records as official death certificates were received. Health officials also reported 98 new infections in the city.

New COVID-19 infections were trending downward throughout Los Angeles County on Friday, but deaths attributed to the recent holiday surges continue to inflict a heavy toll on Pasadena, where nine additional fatalities were reported. It marked the second deadliest day of the pandemic in the city, exceeded only by Dec. 31, when 10 deaths were reported, according to city data. The victims were ages 57, 59, 65, 70, 77, 82, 83, 84 and 87, city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. They were primarily believed to have become infected around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pasadena saw 96 new infections on Friday. Since the onset of the pandemic, Pasadena Public Health Department officials has recorded a total of 9,655 COVID-19 cases and 212 fatalities. The city’s average daily infections over the prior week remained at 88 for a second day. City officials reported 45 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. So far, the city has reported 9,776 COVID-19 cases and 226 fatalities, with two of those deaths occurring on Sunday and 12 happening on Saturday.

Huntington Hospital reported treating 185 COVID-19 patients on Friday, with 36 of them being treated in intensive care units.

Despite new cases Thursday that nearly doubled the number reported Wednesday, the overall average daily infections reported over the prior week remained on a downward trajectory, according to city data. An average of 88 people were being infected daily over the prior week, down from 198 on Jan. 10. Huntington Hospital officials reported treating 179 COVID-19 patients, with 39 of them being treated in intensive care units. 

LA COVID map.jpg

Map of COVID cases in LA County
The map shows the intensity of COVID-19 cases in various parts of LA County. The more intense the color, the higher the infection rate.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 8,512 new infections and 262 additional fatalities on Thursday, raising the county’s totals to  1,046,021 cases of COVID-19 and 14,641 associated deaths. Officials reported 7,263 patients were hospitalized with the virus, with 23% of them being treated in ICUs. The agency reported 9,227 new infections and 256 deaths, raising the county’s overall totals to 1,054,802 COVID-19 cases and 14,894 fatalities. Twenty-four percent of them were being treated in ICUs. L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer commended the progress and encouraged members of the public to remain cautious. The test positivity rate has also dropped to 12.7%. On January 1st, the test positivity rate was 20.8%; this is a reduction of 39%in three weeks. Just prior to the recent holiday surge, however, the county-wide test positivity rate had dropped to 3.8%.

At the state level, on Friday the California Department of Public Health announced 23,024 new infections and 764 additional deaths. Since March, 3,062,068 total infections and 35,024 deaths have been documented. The statewide positivity rate over the prior two weeks continued to ebb downward, reaching 10.5%, according to the CDPH.

As of Friday, L.A. County accounted for 34% of California COVID-19 deaths and 42% of the state’s infections.

Vaccines: In California, anyone over 65 years old is eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine. But both Pasadena and L.A. County are far short of having enough doses for every eligible person. The county prioritizes those people getting second doses, so fewer people are receiving their first-round injection, and scheduling a second dose has become complicated and problematic.

In Pasadena, which has its own public health department, everyone who receives the first dose of the Moderna vaccine at a city location is given an appointment 28 days later for a second dose. But unlike L.A. County, which prioritizes second doses at the expense of vaccinating new people, Pasadena is pushing first-time doses out the door as quickly as possible and expecting that vaccine distribution will be ramped up in time to provide second doses to people who need them in a few weeks. For more on Pasadena’s vaccine procedures, visit https://www.cityofpasadena.net/public-health/covid-19-vaccine/#vaccine-allocation-phases

LA County is vaccinating everyone over 65 years of age, health care and other critical care workers, residents of senior care facilities and those with underlying conditions that make them susceptible to serious complications if infected. LA County is actively vaccinating the following groups:

  • Healthcare workers (HCWs) at high and moderate risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus through their work in any role in health care or long-term care settings. High and moderate risk means the HCW has direct or indirect contact with patients or infectious materials (Phase 1A)
  • Long-term care facility residents (Phase 1A)
  • Persons age 65 and over (Phase 1B Tier 1)

 

Please visit www.vaccinatelacounty.com for more information and to make an appointment.

Pasadena is currently vaccinating those 65 years of age or older, critical care workers and those with serious underlying conditions, as well as residents of senior care facilities. You can book an appointment with Pasadena here: 

Tournament of Roses: In January, the Tournament of Roses traditionally announces its new President and a theme for the upcoming Rose Parade. With the cancellation of the 2021 Rose Parade as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Directors confirmed Thursday that current President Dr. Robert B. Miller will remain President and Chairman of the Board for the 2022 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, providing leadership for the 133rd Rose Parade and 108th Rose Bowl Game on January 1, 2022. The Rose Parade will follow through with Miller’s original theme, too, picked for this year’s canceled Rose Parade: “Dream. Believe. Achieve.”

Loans and Grants:Pearls before Swine comic

The SBA has re-opened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal to all participating PPP lenders. PPP provides loans to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. SBA is currently offering:

  • First Draw PPP loans- for those borrowers who have not received a PPP loan before August 8, 2020.
  • Second Draw PPP loans- for eligible small businesses with 300 employees or less and that previously received a First Draw PPP loan. These borrowers will have to use or had used the full amount of their First Draw loan only for authorized uses and demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. The maximum amount of a Second Draw PPP loan is $2 million.

The Paycheck Protection Program remains open for First and Second Draw PPP loans until March 31, 2021, as set forth in the Economic Aid Act, or until Congressionally-appropriated funding is exhausted.

Learn more

If you work with a local bank, it is best to contact your representative to see if they are lending under the PPP program. 

SBA hosts ongoing webinars on the PPP program. Join SBA TUESDAY - Jan 26nd @ 11am for a webinar to discuss the PPP and get your questions answered!!  NO REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED for this event. JOIN HERE

LA County Loan Program: The Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) will launch the Small Business Stabilization Loan Program on January 28, 2021. The loan program is made possible through a $10 million business recovery assistance fund issued by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The funds were made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Recovery Assistance, and are intended to prevent job loss and business closure. The Program will provide flexible and affordable capital to small businesses Countywide. The Small Business Stabilization Loan Program will start accepting applications on January 28, 2021, and will remain open indefinitely. To apply for the Small Business Stabilization Loan, the applicant is required to attend an online “Applying for An Affordable & Flexible LACDA Loan” webinar to learn more about requirements of the application process and documentation needed.  Webinars are currently available for registration. Upon completion of the webinar, the LACDA will then connect interested applicants with a Technical Assistance provider to assist with the business loan application.  Further details are available at BizStabilization.LACDA.org.

President Joe Biden has proposed a large scale Coronavirus response from the Federal government. Here is the plan: PDF icon National-Strategy-for-the-COVID-19-Response-and-Pandemic-Preparedness.pdf

Here is a brief fact sheet on the proposed initiative: PDF icon National_Strategy_for_COVID-19_Response-FACT_SHEET-COVID-19.pdf

Employment: California's reported unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) in December rose 0.9 point from the revised November number to 9.0%. Total reported employment dropped 91,700 from the revised November numbers, while total unemployment grew 163,700.  The labor force was largely unchanged at a net growth of 72,000.  These, however, are the statistical rather than the actual results.  Employment in the unadjusted numbers showed a deeper drop of 195,700.

The reported national numbers show US unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) unchanged at 6.7%, but more likely was up to 0.6 point higher due to the ongoing misclassification issues.  Employment remained essentially level with a growth of only 21,000, and unemployment edging up by only 8,000.  The national labor force rose 31,000.  The US numbers reflect revisions in the seasonally adjusted data from 2016 forward.

Nonfarm wage and salary jobs dropped 52,200 (seasonally adjusted) in December, while the gains in November were revised to 5,200 from the previously reported 57,100.  Nonfarm jobs nationally were down 140,000. California job growth was led by Construction (31,600), Professional, Scientific & Technical Services (20,300), and Administrative & Support & Waste Services (10,900).  Losses were in 10 industries led by Accommodation & Food Services (-97,300), Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (-19,700), and Other Services (-11,000).  The numbers shown in the chart below are the seasonally adjusted numbers.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Los Angeles County increased over the month to 11.0 percent in December 2020, from a revised 10.9 percent in November 2020, and was above the rate of 4.3 percent one year ago. Civilian employment decreased by 67,000 to 4,365,000 in December 2020, while unemployment decreased by 4,000 to 540,000. The civilian labor force decreased by 71,000 over the month to 4,905,000 in December 2020. (All of the above figures are seasonally adjusted.) The unadjusted unemployment rate for the county was 10.7 percent in December 2020.

COVID-19 Update for January 11, 2021

From Fair Warning: “We believe things will get worse as we get into January,” Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a radio interview. And they have. The U.S. set a new record for daily Covid-19 deaths for the second day in a row yesterday, with more than 4,100 people dying, according to The New York Times. The daily new case record also fell, with more than 280,000 new infections reported. These extra-high figures could be skewed higher by lags in reporting following the holidays.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent forecast projected there could be between 405,000 and 438,000 U.S. deaths by the end of the month, CNN reports. Globally, there have been over 88 million confirmed cases and more than 1.9 million deaths; of those, more than 21.6 million cases have been recorded in the U.S., and more than 366,000 of the deaths.

Although all eyes turned this week to the chaos and violence in the nation’s capitol, if the CDC’s estimate is correct, 40,000 to 73,000 more people will die of Covid in the U.S. in the next three weeks.

Pasadena: Pasadena reported 117 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday and no additional fatalities. Pasadena as recorded 8,2590 cases of COVID-19 and 174 dets as of Saturday. With 238 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Pasadena on Friday, the city has reported more than 200 daily infections for four days in a row and exceeded 8,000 total infections, authorities said. Two new fatalities were also reported, city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. No details regarding the latest two victims were available. Officials reported an all-time high number of new infections at 253 on Tuesday, and daily infections have not declined below 200 since, according to city data. The new figures raised the overall tallies in Pasadena to 8,133 cases of COVID-19 and 173 deaths.

Huntington Hospital officials reported treating 197 COVID-19 patients on Friday, with 29 of them being treated in intensive care units. Pasadena’s average daily infections over the prior week reached a record of 179 on Friday, city data shows.

As officials continued overseeing the administration of vaccines, an online form was created by the city for eligible healthcare workers to request additional information about getting vaccinated at healthforms.cityofpasadena.net/v/Vaccine

Los Angeles County: The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported the county’s deadliest single day of the pandemic, with 318 fatalities documented on Friday, along with 18,313 new cases of the virus. L.A. County’s overall positivity rate had grown to 17%, and the daily positivity test rate was measured at 20.4%, according to county officials. L.A. County Director of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said it was up to county residents to end the ongoing surge. Officials reported 8,074 hospitalized COVID-19 patients county-wide. Twenty percent of them were being treated in ICUs.

California: At the state level, the California Department of Public Health announced 50,030 new infections and 492 new deaths on Friday. In total, 2,568,641 cases of COVID-19 have been documented in the state, along with 28,538 deaths. The state’s average positivity rate over the prior 14 days grew to 13.3%, according to the CDPH. As of Friday, L.A. County accounted for 35% of California’s COVID-19 infections and 42% of the state’s fatalities.

Coronavirus infections in California surpassed 2.5 million by the middle of this week, Rong-Gong Lin II and Luke Money report for the Los Angeles Times, increasing by more than a million in less than a month. Los Angeles County has by far the most cases in the country—more than 871,000 according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, over twice as many as next hardest-hit Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago. As the Times reports, in Los Angeles County one in five coronavirus tests is coming back positive, up from one in 25 in early November. The county is currently averaging 183 deaths a day from the virus, or one every eight minutes.

Hospital capacity is stretched to the breaking point, with horrific results: As Fenit Nirappil and William Wan report for The Washington Post, ambulance crews were instructed to use oxygen only for their worst-case patients, and not to bring patients to the hospital if they didn't have a decent chance at surviving, in order to preserve space for those that do.

  • Also: California officials estimate around $4 billion in pandemic unemployment relief has been paid out on fraudulent claims in a scandal focused on dysfunction at the state's Economic Development Department, Anita Chabria, Richard Winton, and Patrick McGreevy report for the Los Angeles Times. Millions of dollars have gone to jail and prison inmates in California and several other states, including Nevada, Illinois, South Carolina and Florida, where a man serving time for murder is among those who received scam payments.

Vaccine update
 

More than 5.9 million people in the U.S. have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, just over a quarter of the doses that have been distributed, per the CDC vaccine tracker. The sluggish rollout has been blamed on a lack of funding and direction from the federal government, inadequate planning by state and local governments, on the holidays and on mistrust of the vaccine, the Associated Press reports.

A World Health Organization panel has approved delaying the second dose of the vaccine up to six weeks to allow more people to receive the first of the two shots,  although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises against this, according to The Hill. The global scarcity of vaccines means that even countries that took part in clinical trials, such as Argentina, South Africa, Brazil and Turkey, will not get  enough vaccines to protect their populations anytime soon, Sharon Lerner reports for The Intercept.

In stark contrast, Lerner reports that the U.S., Canada, Germany and the rest of the European Union have contracted for enough vaccines “to inoculate their populations several times over.” Zain Rizvi, law and policy researcher at Public Citizen, described the situation as “a global vaccine apartheid.”

  • Also: The CDC released a study showing that about 11 of every million people vaccinated for coronavirus would likely experience anaphylaxis, a serious, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. The rate is about 10 times higher than for the flu vaccine, CNBC reports. “The anaphylaxis rate for Covid-19 vaccines may seem high compared to flu vaccines, but I want to reassure you that this is still a rare outcome,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters.

 

The New York Times assessed the state of our California restaurants: Nearly 40,000 restaurants in the state have been shuttered since last year, with California leading in the number of restaurant closures in the nation, according to the latest figures released by Yelp.

In every corner of the state, loan payouts have been exhausted and state unemployment programs are stymied by bureaucratic delays.

A survey by the California Restaurant Association, the group that challenged Los Angeles’s outdoor dining ban in court, found that 60 percent of restaurants that received federal loans said they would most likely run out of money by the summer. It also estimated that since March, between 900,000 and one million restaurant workers have either been laid off or furloughed.

The $900 billion stimulus package Congress passed in December would give struggling small businesses another chance to apply for loans.

But the relief may be too late for many. California is buckling under the latest Covid-19 surge, with intensive care units everywhere nearly filled to capacity. Much of the state is under stay-at-home orders, which bans all manners of dining at restaurants.

Immigrant- and Black-owned restaurants are especially at risk of closing. A survey by the C.R.A. found that 60 percent of restaurants in California are owned by people of color. However, after the $2.2 trillion CARES Act was implemented in March, the largest benefits failed to reach many minority-owned businesses.

Unemployment: The New York Times reported over the weekend that already sputtering economic rebound went into reverse last month as employers laid off workers amid rising coronavirus cases and delayed government aid. U.S. employers cut 140,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department said Friday. It was the first net decline in payrolls since last spring’s mass layoffs and followed five straight months in which hiring had slowed. The report was a grim capstone to a year in which the economy lost more than nine million jobs, the worst on a percentage basis since World War II. It also means that President Trump will be the first chief executive since Herbert Hoover to leave office with a net loss of jobs, with a four-year decline of about three million.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, down sharply from its high of nearly 15 percent in April but still close to double the 3.5 percent rate in the same month a year earlier.

December’s losses were heavily concentrated in the leisure and hospitality sector, which shed nearly half a million jobs as the resurgent pandemic led governors to shutter restaurants and families to cancel trips home for the holidays. Many forecasters expect those losses to continue into the new year.

At the same time, economists said the concentrated nature of the December job losses suggested that the damage from the latest wave of coronavirus cases had not spread to the rest of the economy. That may allow for a faster rebound as vaccinations become more widespread.

Most forecasters expect the economy to remain weak and perhaps shed more jobs in early 2021. But they are becoming increasingly optimistic about the rest of the year. The $900 billion relief package passed by Congress last month should provide an economic boost, and further federal aid could be more likely after Democrats won control of the Senate in this week’s elections in Georgia. And as coronavirus vaccines become widely available, it should allow the return of activity that has been suppressed by the pandemic.

The leisure and hospitality industry was hit hard in December, while other sectors made small gains.

Industries less exposed to the pandemic, like manufacturers and construction firms, continued to add jobs in December. Retailers, which laid off millions of workers last spring, added more than 120,000 jobs last month, a sign that they have learned to adapt to the pandemic.

And many of the latest job losses were temporary furloughs, which could be reversed quickly if the pandemic eases; permanent job losses, which had been rising, fell in December.

“I have a few on the bubble that might not make it, especially as sales have tailed down through the winter,” he said.

The course of the virus in coming months will be critical, Mr. Branca said. But the vaccine rollout is even more important: Once his staff and customers feel safe interacting face to face again, he expects business to pick up. Even then, though, it will take time to rebuild from months of depressed sales.

But the help came too late to save thousands of small businesses or to save many families from lasting financial harm.

Federal aid may also be crucial in another hard-hit category: the public sector. State and local governments cut more than 50,000 jobs in December and have cut 1.4 million since February. Mr. Biden is expected to make aid for state and local governments a priority when he takes office.

The December data underscored the deep inequality that has been a defining characteristic of the economic crisis. The low-wage workers who bore the brunt of the job losses in the spring — many of them Black and Hispanic women — did so again in December. Employment rose among men last month but fell among women, particularly Black women and Latinas. The unemployment rate among Hispanics jumped to 9.3 percent, from 8.4 percent in November.

Nearly four million Americans have been unemployed for more than six months, the standard threshold for long-term unemployment. That figure almost certainly understates the problem, because it excludes most people who aren’t looking for work, whether because they don’t believe jobs are available or because they are caring for children or other family members.

The number of people who have been unemployed long-term is still rising. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that December capped the worst year for U.S. job losses in records tracing back to 1939, with Hispanics, Blacks, teenagers and high-school dropouts hit particularly hard. In 2020, the economy shed a net 9.37 million jobs, exceeding the 5.05 million jobs lost in 2009, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

COVID-19 Update for January 4, 2020 - News, Information, Grant Links

Last Week, Governor Newsom announced that the State imposed Stay at Home Order has been extended. Public Health also extended the Temporary Health Officer Order, which will remain in effect for as long as the State Public Health Officer's Regional Stay At Home remains in effect in the Southern California region.  Please adhere to Public Health guidelines to stay home. Stay safe and do everything you can to protect your loved ones and your neighbors.  "2020 has been an extremely difficult year, that goes without saying. As the year comes to an end, we know you want to celebrate. Please don’t go out for New Year’s Eve. Don’t celebrate with people outside your household. We have to get this surge under control. If we don’t, the beginning of 2021 will be even worse than the end of 2020." - Dr. Christina Ghaly, MD, Director, Department of Health Services

Applications Open: State of CA COVID-19 Grant Relief Program

The State of California has a new grant opportunity available for small businesses! Visit their website to learn eligibility requirements and get your documents ready. The application is now open. The first round of applications for the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program will be extended until January 13, 2021.

A new, more virulent strain of COVID-19 has been detected in several countries. It has been identified in California, as well. The virus is more contagious, but symptoms are identical to the initial virus. 

Pasadena: Pasadena reported an additional 225 cases of COVID-19 on New Year's Eve. Ten new deaths were reported on December 31st. On Saturday, January 2nd, Pasadena reported another 72 cases and no new fatalities. To date, Pasadena has identified 6,951 case and 167 fatalities from VOCID-19. In another milestone, Pasadena’s average number of daily infections over the prior week had reached a new maximum of 141, city data shows.

Huntington Hospital reported treating 179 novel coronavirus patients on Thursday, with 31 of them being treated in intensive care units. The hospital’s average number of daily COVID-19 admissions had dipped slightly to 23.8, after peaking above 26 in recent days.

2020 Comicc
LA County: L.A. County health officials reported another 20,414 COVID-19 cases, and 207 deaths as of December 31st. Of those newly reported deaths, 40 are still from the Christmas Day backlog, when a Spectrum outage delayed reports. The county also set another record high for hospitalizations, with 7,613 COVID-19 patients now being treated. To put that into context, that's about a 1,000 more people than this time last week. Of those patients, 21% are in ICUs. 

Los Angeles County reported 138 more COVID-19 deaths and another 15,701 new cases Saturday, as the county surpassed the 800,000- case mark. A significant number of deaths reported Saturday were from the backlog associated with the Spectrum outage and Christmas holiday reporting delays, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. To date, there have been 10,682 deaths and 806,210 coronavirus cases. The case load has doubled in the last month.

The number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals rose to 7,627 people, and 21% of them are in the ICU. Conditions continue to worsen at hospitals in the county, with ambulances waiting up to eight hours to off-load patients, leading to a shortage of paramedic crews on the streets and longer 911 response times.

Cathy Chidester the director of the county Emergency Medical Services agency saidlast week that staff can't keep up. Hospitals are so overwhelmed that ambulances are waiting seven or eight hours in emergency bays. So patients are being treated in the ambulance instead of in the hospital. And more importantly, Chidester says that delay means fewer ambulances to respond to 911 calls and longer response times. 

Health officials are very concerned about a post-New Year surge from people gathering despite repeated pleas to skip festivities this year. Such a surge could overwhelm a health care system that's already struggling to keep up.

More than 7,500 patients were hospitalized in the county with COVID-19, officials said. Twenty percent of them were being treated in ICUs.

As has been the case in recent months, “Younger residents continue to drive increases in community transmission in the county,” the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a written statement.

“While the highest number of cases are among young adults, the individuals with the worst outcomes are those who are older,” the statement said. “We are also seeing increases in the rate of hospitalization among younger people. The hospitalization rate among people between the ages of 18 to 29 years old increased by 350% since November. Even children between the ages of 12 and 17 years old are being impacted – they have experienced a 200% increase in their rate of hospitalizations.”

L.A. County’s overall positivity rate stood at 15%, while the daily test positivity rate was 22.5%, officials said.

California: At the same time, the State of California reported a grim milestone as 428 new fatalities raised the statewide death toll to 25,386, according to the California Department of Public Health. State officials also announced 27,237 new detected infections, bringing the overall tally to 2,245,379. The state’s average positivity rate over the prior two weeks was recorded at 11.9%, down from 12.5% on Monday.

As of Thursday, L.A. County represented 34% of California’s total COVID-19 infections and 41% of the state’s deaths.

More:

 

Other COVID-19 related information:

The significant increases in COVID-19 cases, associated hospitalizations, and premature deaths across the United States, the State of California, and within Los Angeles County, have necessitated revisions to the Health Officer Order and two accompanying Appendices. These revisions include a mandatory quarantine order for those persons entering into Los Angeles County from outside the Southern California Region after non-essential travel. This message is to alert you to these three revised documents, which are posted on the LC County Health Department website : County Health Officer Order, Temporary Targeted Safer at Home Health Officer Order for Control of COVID-19: Tier 1 Substantial Surge Updated Response, dated December 30, 2020; Protocol for Social Distancing: Appendix A, dated December 29, 2020; Mandatory Directive on Travel: Appendix W, dated December 30, 2020

  1. Revisions to the Health Officer Order include the following: 
  2.  
  3. Except as provided in Appendix W, persons arriving in the County of Los Angeles from anywhere outside of the Southern California Region on or from non-essential travel, including returning County of Los Angeles residents, must self-quarantine for 10 days after arrival. Such persons must stay at home or another place of temporary shelter and away from contact with others, including those in one’s household (unless they are also under quarantine), for a period of 10 days. 
  4.  
  5. Quarantine may end after Day 10 if the traveler(s) never had any symptoms and they continue to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after arrival. If such quarantined person develops symptoms of or tests positive for COVID-19 during the quarantine period, they must isolate themselves as required by the Health Officer's Order for Isolation. For purposes of this Revised Temporary Order, non-essential travel is defined as travel or transportation that is conducted mainly for tourism, recreation, or visitation purposes.  

The Southern California Region (Region) is defined as the counties of Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.  

Appendix A is the Protocol for Social Distancing. Revisions to Appendix A include added definitions and multiple updates made to incorporate universal physical distancing, face covering use, and other infection control protocols for all businesses, facilities, and sites.

Appendix W is the Mandatory Directive on Travel. This Directive establishes the County Health Officer’s rules for mandatory quarantine after non-essential travel.  There some limited exceptions to the required mandatory quarantine after travel. 

The Order remains in effect for as long as the State Health Officer’s Regional Stay at Home Order remains in effect in the Southern California Region.

COVID-19 Update for December 28th-Resources, Information, State of California Grants, PPP Loan Information, more

There will be two rounds of grants.  During Round 1, applications will open on Wednesday, December 30th, 2020 and will close on Friday, January 8th, 2021.  Notifications on Round 1 awards will begin as soon as January 13, 2021.  Round 2 will be announced at a later date.  However, one complete application will qualify the small business or nonprofit for both rounds so applicants should only apply once.

Small businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to visit CAReliefGrant.com before the application opens to learn more about their eligibility, the business documents required for the application, and other resources on how to apply.

Depending on the size of the business, grant awards will be between $5,000 to $25,000. For more information, visit CAReliefGrant.com   

The Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program will be providing daily webinars in multiple languages on the application process, and will be working with different partners throughout the State to provide assistance to applicants.  Once applications open, small businesses and nonprofits may apply directly through CAReliefGrant.com  or through one of the partners.  For webinar information, visit bit.ly/38tKcPp.  To find partners, visit https://careliefgrant.com/partners/county/.

PPP renewal by the Federal Government: Lawmakers have agreed to revive the signature small-business relief effort established last spring, committing $285 billion for additional loans under the Paycheck Protection Program and allowing particularly hard-hit companies to get a second loan. As of Saturday, President Trump has not signed the bll and is indicating he will veto it, jeopardiing additional unemployment insurance payments and delaying stimulus checks to Americans.

The $900 billion assistance package would restart the P.P.P. — the government’s small-business program created under the CARES Act — through March 31, while doing away with the restriction that left more than $100 billion unspent over the summer. Hotels and food-service businesses would be eligible for bigger loans this time, up to 3.5 times their average monthly payroll. Other borrowers would again be limited to 2.5 times their payroll. Publicly traded companies would be ineligible for the new loans, eliminating a provision that provoked a public outcry as deep-pocketed restaurant chains, software companies and drug makers, among others, collected taxpayer-funded loans. The new bill would also expand the list of expenses that a loan could be used to pay, which previously were limited mostly to payroll, rent and utilities. Businesses could now use the money to buy supplies from their vendors, buy protective equipment for their staff or fix property damage “due to public disturbances.”

But the biggest change would reopen the program to some businesses that had already received help. When the Paycheck Protection Program expired in August, about $138 billion had not been spent. Many business owners who had received money said they would gladly take another loan, but the program’s rules prevented them from getting a second helping. The new relief bill offers a second cash infusion for those who meet stricter terms: Borrowers with fewer than 300 employees that had a 25 percent drop in sales from a year earlier in at least one quarter could qualify for an additional loan of up to $2 million.

The bill would also allocate $50 million to the Small Business Administration for audits and other efforts to address fraud in the program, which was a significant problem in the first round of funding. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis said it had identified more than $4 billion in potentially improper loans, and some bankers believe the total was much higher.

Many lenders said the rash of fraud was partly a result of the program’s hasty rollout, when complicated and shifting terms bedeviled banks and borrowers. In the months after the program started, the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration issued dozens of technical fixes and clarifications, and Congress piled another batch of them into the stimulus package.

Most prominently, the plan would allow business owners who received loans in the program, which are tax-free, to claim deductions for expenses they paid for with loan proceeds. That change, which would cost the government hundreds of billions of dollars in forgone tax revenue, was made over the objections of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who previously described the maneuver as a way for business owners to “double dip” and collect both tax-free funds and an additional deduction. Tax researchers said such a break would disproportionately benefit wealthy taxpayers.

For a detailed guide on the latest updates to PPP loans, visit: www.uschamber.com/sbloans.

Here is other info (from The New York Times): 

  • Track coronavirus cases by county in California, as well as hospitalizations and deaths. [The New York Times]
  • See how full intensive care units are at hospitals near you. [The New York Times]

And track the state’s alternate care sites. [CA.gov]

 

California public health officials on Tuesday renewed the statewide stay-at-home order, which was due to expire the same day, as the spike in COVID-19 infections that began early this month continued, as evidenced by 84 new infections and one new death reported in Pasadena. The order, which includes restrictions such as a curfew for essential businesses between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., had been scheduled to expire on Tuesday, a month after it was enacted on Nov. 21. However, Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated Monday that it would likely be extended as the viral surge showed little sign of slowing down. It coincides with a more stringent Regional Stay-at-Home order issued on Dec. 3, which, among other restrictions, precludes outdoor dining statewide.

The regional mandate was triggered when the intensive care unit availability rate for the 11-county Southern California region including L.A. County dropped below 15 percent. The regional rate stood at 0 percent Tuesday, where it has remained since last week. “The Limited Stay at Home Order applies to all counties that are currently under the Regional Stay at Home Order and those in Tier One (Purple) of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” the California Department of Public Health said in a written statement. The Limited Stay at Home Order will expire after the Regional Stay At Home Order has been terminated in all regions of the state. In order to exit the state order, barring all non-essential travel and activities, the projected ICU availability rate for the region must be above 15 percent, officials said. While Pasadena is not required to abide by mandates from the L.A. County Department of Public Health, since the city has its own independent health department, it is required to follow the direction of the state.

Pasadena reported 149 new cases and no fatalities on Saturday, December 26th. We have seen a total of 6,170 cases and 151 deaths due to COVID-19. 

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 13,185 new cases on Saturday and 15,538 new cases on Friday. So far, LA County has seen 706,448 total cases and 9,438 deaths. 131 fatalities were reported on Friday and five on Saturday though the low count may be ther result of an internet outage that resulted in a severe undercount. 

California reported 65,167 new cases on Saturday and 257 fatalities. So far, the state has experienced 2,047,185 cases and 23,982 deaths since the pandemic was first identified. 19,797 Calfiornians are hospitalized as of Saturday. 

Los Angeles County scientists have begun to test samples of the coronavirus from local patients to determine if a new, potentially more contagious strain that is circulating in Britain has arrived, as some officials believe is likely amid a major surge of infections.
The variant is a concern because it may make the virus easier to be transmitted from one person to another, officials said. But once a person has the virus, the variant doesn’t appear to make the person more likely to die.

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said a public health laboratory has begun to conduct gene sequencing to test virus samples collected in L.A. County, but it will take about a week to finish the process.

COVID-19 cases have been surging out of control in Los Angeles County and other parts of California, overwhelming hospitals and killing more people each day. On Thursday, L.A. County saw its highest number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day: 140.
The spread has been so rapid since Thanksgiving, when many families defied public health guidelines and gathered in large groups, that some have wondered if something about the virus has changed. Officials believe the surge has been worsened by holiday gatherings but are also concerned about other factors, including people going out to shop.

A memo issued by the L.A. County Department of Public Health on Christmas Eve asked labs to review recent data from positive coronavirus tests to be on the lookout for a specific genetic pattern, as well as any unusual molecular patterns.

Scientists have detected this new coronavirus strain in Europe and South Africa, a discovery that caused a number of countries around the world to announce bans on incoming flights from Britain.

The United States stopped short of a ban, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said airline passengers from Britain will need to get a negative coronavirus test before their flight.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said that California is testing thousands of virus samples regularly to identify any changes in the virus’ genome.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services secretary, said Monday that the newly identified strain circulating in Britain is essentially “a little bit more sticky than the COVID virus that we’ve been seeing to date.”

Both Ghaly and officials in England said the changes make the virus more likely to infect people who are exposed to it. But many other scientists have said that there is not yet enough evidence to support this conclusion and that other factors could just as easily explain the strain’s rapid spread.

The new strain has not shown itself to be more virulent than the conventional version, meaning that it doesn’t necessarily make people sicker. 

A big concern is that its genetic changes could, in theory, reduce the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna — both of which are being rolled out in the U.S. — as well as three others close behind them.

However, a report last week by British researchers found “no evidence that this variant ... will render vaccines less effective.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-diseases expert, told ABC News on Tuesday he would not be surprised if the strain sparking so much worry in Britain had already arrived in the U.S.
 

Each day in California, which this week became the first state to reach two million recorded virus cases, brings a mind-numbing new accounting of the tragedy underway — more cases, more sickness, more death. Southern California, the most populous area of the most populous state, is on the edge of catastrophe. In Los Angeles County, a vast region whose population is roughly the size of Michigan’s, there are roughly 6,500 people hospitalized with Covid-19, a fourfold increase over the last month. The number of patients in intensive care units is close to 1,300, double what it was a month ago.

And the county on Thursday reported 146 new deaths, according to a New York Times database, the equivalent of about one every 10 minutes and its highest total of the pandemic. Nearly every hospital has surged past its capacity, putting new beds in any space it can find, and preparing for the possibility it will have to ration care — essentially making wrenchingly difficult decisions about who dies and who lives.

But the availability of beds is not even the most urgent concern. With so many employees falling sick or taking leave after months of treating coronavirus patients, hospitals are struggling to find enough workers.

As the holiday season has collided with the height of the pandemic in Southern California, there is little joy for the health care workers on the front lines, who are bracing for the near certainty that things will only get worse. California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, has projected that hospitalizations would reach close to 100,000 in January if residents do not lock down for the holidays. On Thursday, California reported 351 deaths.

The United States will require all airline passengers arriving from Britain to test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours of their departure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

The move comes as a new highly transmissible variant of the virus, which first appeared in Britain, has led more than 50 countries to seal their borders to travelers from there or to impose restrictions on their arrival.

The new rule, which takes effect on Monday, will apply to Americans as well as foreign citizens, and will require passengers to show proof of a negative result on a genetic test, known as a P.C.R., or an antigen test.

COVID-19 Update for December 21, 2020- New Year's Football moves to Texas (too), Congress agrees on $900 Billion Stimulus Package

Hospital Intensive Care Units are filled to capacity. Please take care to have a safe and healthy holiday with loved ones. Wear a mask when you encounter anyone outside your immediate household. Keep social distance. Do your best to stay home. Protect your loved ones bny protecting yourself and those around you.

A vaccine is now available, though distribution is very limited to those most at-risk of infection, including healthcare workers in COVID-19 treatment units. It will ikley not be readily available to the general public for mnths. It remains the responsibility of each of us to take care to protect everyone we come in contact with. That means wearing masks, keeping social distance and limiting interactions with those outside our immediate household.

In Washington, senior lawmakers were working Sunday to finalize legislation on coronavirus relief after they reached a compromise late Saturday on a major hurdle holding up the expected $900 billion package. A roadblock emerged Friday as Democrats accused Republicans, namely Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, of trying to encumber the Biden administration by cutting off the Federal Reserve's emergency lending abilities under the CARES Act to protect the battered economy. Lawmakers came to an agreement on the issue late Saturday, sources said.

Wells Fargo announced a $2.6 million small business recovery grant to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation (PCR) and Genesis LA Economic Growth Corporation (Genesis LA) to help small businesses manage the economic effects of COVID-19 during the holiday season and beyond. Wells Fargo’s funding will help increase access to capital with low rate loans for diverse Los Angeles County small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. The grant is part of Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund (OFB) program, which launched as an approximately $400 million small business recovery effort across the U.S. to help entrepreneurs recover and rebuild. The initiative focuses on three key areas: increasing access to capital through CDFIs, technical assistance, and long-term recovery and resiliency programs for diverse small businesses.

With $2.1M in funding from the Open For Business Fund, Pacific Coast Regional has established the People of Color Business Elevation Fund focused on helping Black and Brown small businesses across southern California recover. The People of Color Business Elevation Fund will provide low rate micro-disaster loans up to $50,000 to eligible and impacted diverse small businesses. Those interested in applying can apply now at https://pcr.lendwithspark.com/widget/leadframe/?version=16#step2 

Genesis LA will deploy its $550,000 award to provide financial support to small businesses who are struggling to pay bills due to lower profit margins and higher expenses as a result of the pandemic. With support from Wells Fargo, Genesis LA will provide flexible and forgivable loans to minority led businesses across Los Angeles County. Small business owners interested can begin applying early 2021.

The College Football playoff game originally scheduled for the Rose Bowl has been moved to Texas. College coaches objected to a game without players families allowed to attend. The Rose Bowl asked the State of California for an exemption, but were denied. It remains to be seen if the name Rose Bowl will be attached to the game as the City and Tournament have to approve any change in use for the name. Maybe we just call it what it is and finally have a Toilet Bowl Game. /

Late Sunday, From the New York Times: Congressional leaders reached a deal  on a $900 billion economic stimulus bill. A vote is expected soon. The bill “has probably spared millions of Americans from a winter of poverty and kept the country from falling back into recession,” according to a Times analysis. And “it may provide a bridge to a vaccine-fueled rebound” next year.

Central to the bill are one-time stimulus checks of $600 per person in households making up to $75,000. The bill is also expected to include an expansion of jobless benefits by up to $300 per week for 11 weeks and money for small businesses and schools. Here’s what it means for you. A late sticking point in the stimulus talks had been a Republican proposal to restrict the Federal Reserve’s ability to loan money to businesses. In the end, the bill will ban only a narrow set of such programs.

Also, a Centers for Disease Control panel set the stage for the next vaccine rollouts, prioritizing people over 74 and essential workers. 

Cheers here were muted. An off-campus housing coordinator at Humboldt State University told my colleagues Carly Stern and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs that a $600 check — about half of what the government sent out in April — would be “a joke” in high-cost Northern California. Nor did the package include money for state or local governments, quashing hopes that California cities might avoid deep budget cuts. 

Meanwhile, with infections at supermarkets soaring in Los Angeles County, a doctor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center told The Los Angeles Times that one rich patient suggested a $25,000 donation in exchange for vaccination ahead of essential workers. And health care workers at Stanford Medical Center protested after a vaccine plan there left out medical residents and fellows.

Pasadena: Pasadena recorded 108 new coronavirus cases on Staurday and one fatality. Last week, Pasadena saw a record number of COVID-19 infections detected in the city on Thursday at 201, along with three  fatalities. And while the all-time high record of 135 cases reported on Wednesday was partially bolstered by backlogged data, no backlog was believed to be affecting the data on Thursday, according to city officials. Two of the newly reported deaths were those of members of the general community, city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. One of them was believed to have acquired the virus from a family member, while the other was described as a “caregiver.” The third death was that of a resident at a skilled nursing facility, she said. Information regarding the ages and genders of the latest victims was not available. Saturday’s tallies raised the city’s overall totals to 5,497 COVID-19 infections and 145 deaths, according to city data.

On December 8th, all retail food establishments were notified via email that the City will allow restaurants to maintain outdoor furniture for public use during the State's latest Safer At Home Order. While most restaurateurs have already removed their tables, chairs and outdoor furniture from their outdoor dining areas, restaurants have the option to maintain tables, chairs and other fixtures for public use during the time that outdoor dining is prohibited. To read the full text of that email, click here.

Huntington Hospital will soon begin using its surge tents due to an increasing influx of patients battling the coronavirus, according to a statement issued by a hospital official. Huntington Hospital reported treating a record of 147 COVID-19 patients, with 26 of them being housed in the hospital’s 30 available intensive care units.

Bliss comic

Los Angeles County: Los Angeles County is quickly becoming the country's epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic, with over 600,000 cases -- including more than 100,000 new cases in the county in less than two weeks. To date, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has reported 610,372 positive COVID-19 cases and a total of 8,817 coronavirus-related deaths.

Public Health officials on Saturday announced 13,756 new COVID-19 cases and 60 more deaths on Saturday. Last Monday, L.A. County health officials announced that available capacity in the 11-county Southern California region has dropped to zero, according to figures released on Thursday.

 

The county also estimates that one of every 80 residents not hospitalized or in quarantine or isolation is infected with the virus, likely without knowing it or showing any symptoms, yet still capable of infecting others.

California: California is the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., with more new cases than many entire countries--including Britain, Germany and India--in the last couple of days, Reis Thebault writes for The Washington Post. The state reported more than 50,000 new cases on Thursday, and capacity in hospital intensive care units in Southern California dropped to zero percent.

As of December 18, California has 1,764,374 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 22,160 deaths. The number of COVID-related deaths increased by 1.4 percent from the prior day total of 21,860. The number of COVID-19 diagnostic test results in California reached a total of 28,741,027, an increase of 284,669 tests from the prior day total. The rate of positive tests over the last 14 days is 11.8 percent. The number of hospitalizations due to confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases in California reached a total of 16,965, an increase of 539 from the prior day total. The number of ICU patients due to confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases in California reached a total of 3,553, an increase of 161 from the prior day total.

The U.S.: More than 17.2 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 311,00 have died, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

Twice now, courts have ruled that the bans on outdoor dining: 

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant ruled that the county failed to perform the necessary risk-benefit analysis when the decision was made. Los Angeles County on Thursday appealed a judge’s decision that barred an extension of its temporary ban on outdoor dining, calling the ruling “plainly erroneous and directly contrary to governing law.” L.A. County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant ruled last week that the county should not be allowed to continue the ban indefinitely and would need to provide a risk-benefit analysis to justify the restriction if it wanted to extend the ban beyond its initial three weeks, which ended Wednesday. The Department of Public Health, which issued the order in late November, said the law is clearly on its side. “The law says that in a public health crisis, the health officer must act urgently and swiftly to stop the transmission of disease and to protect public health and safety,” department officials said in a statement.

A California judge cleared the way Thursday for all restaurants in San Diego County to resume on-site dining, marking a major, if temporary, setback to the governor’s stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus before the state's intensive care units run out of beds. Gov. Gavin Newsom immediately appealed, bringing uncertainty to restaurant owners weighing whether to buy food and schedule staff a week before Christmas amid the possibility that their victory could soon be reversed. The case brought to the court by two San Diego strip clubs handed the biggest victory yet to California businesses fighting public health orders that they say have crippled them economically. San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil said his ruling Wednesday was “straightforward” in going beyond the strip clubs that sued the county and state, Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club and Pacers Showgirls International. County officials requested the hearing to clarify its scope. “It is intended to encompass all restaurants within the county of San Diego,” he said in a brief hearing that lasted all but eight minutes. The San Diego county board of supervisors was scheduled to meet Friday in closed session to discuss next steps. The board voted 3-2 last week to appeal any adverse ruling on the strip clubs but that decision didn't cover restaurants, rending it moot.

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Employment in LA County: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Los Angeles County decreased over the month to 11.0 percent in November 2020, from a revised 12.0 percent in October 2020, and was above the rate of 4.3 percent one year ago. Civilian employment decreased by 31,000 to 4,424,000 in November 2020, while unemployment decreased by 63,000 to 546,000. The civilian labor force decreased by 94,000 over the month to 4,970,000 in November 2020. (All of the above figures are seasonally adjusted.) The unadjusted unemployment rate for the county was 10.6 percent in November 2020.

The California seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in November 2020, 9.0 percent in October 2020, and 3.9 percent a year ago in November 2019. The comparable estimates for the nation were 6.7 percent in November 2020, 6.9 percent in October 2020, and 3.5 percent a year ago.

Between October 2020 and November 2020, total nonfarm employment in Los Angeles County increased by 29,800 to 4,257,400.

  • Countywide job levels grew by 29,800 over the month and reported an average sized seasonal increase. A total net growth of 341,100 job additions since the 716,100 losses, sustained in March and April, have made up 47.6 percent of the job deficit.   
  • Holiday seasonal hiring drove up employment in trade, transportation, and utilities (up 22,700) with job additions centered on retail trade (up 15,100) and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (up 7,700). Retail trade reported increases across almost every industry group, led by job gains in general merchandise stores (up 5,300) and clothing and clothing accessories stores (up 4,300). Transportation, warehousing, and utilities made up the remainder of the industry increase with job activity on the rise in all industry groups except for a decline in transit and ground passenger transportation (down 100). Utilities remained unchanged at 12,600 jobs.
  • Industries that also posted month-over job additions include educational and health services (up 3,900), leisure and hospitality (up 3,600), government (up 3,400), information (up 600), professional and business services (up 500), financial activity (up 300), and other services (up 100). Mining and logging remained unchanged.
  • Construction reported a larger than normal month-over reduction totaling 3,300 jobs. This was the first time the industry had experienced job cuts since April, when public health concerns led to business closures. The reductions were evident across every industry group, specifically construction of buildings (down 1,700) and specialty trade contractors (down 1,400).   

 

Between November 2019 and November 2020, Los Angeles County nonfarm employment decreased by 386,100, or 8.3 percent.

  • Nonfarm employment remained below year-ago levels with every industry sector posting job reductions. Leisure and hospitality (down 140,200) reported the largest job decline and accounted for 36 percent of the year-over contraction. Reductions were largest in accommodation and food services (down 120,100), specifically food services and drinking places (down 99,700). Arts, entertainment, and recreation (down 20,100) made up the remaining job losses.  
  • Professional and business services reported a loss of 47,000 jobs. Administrative and support and waste services (down 25,200) accounted for the majority of the industry decline, with employment services (down 14,200) reporting the largest job cuts. Reductions were also listed in professional, scientific and technical services (down 18,300) and management of companies and enterprises (down 3,500).
  • Every remaining industry sector reported year-over job contractions including educational and health services (down 37,900), information (down 36,400), trade, transportation and utilities (down 34,000), other services (down 31,900), government (down 30,000), manufacturing (down 24,400), construction (down 3,100), financial activities (down 1,000), and mining and logging (down 200).  

 

Unemployment in Pasadena is 8.3%.

At least two million workers have turned to their workplace retirement plans for cash under temporary rules created during the pandemic. But so far, most people have left their accounts alone. Since the pandemic began rippling through the economy in March, more than 2.1 million Americans have pulled money from retirement plans at the five largest 401(k) plan administrators — Fidelity, Empower Retirement, Vanguard, Alight Solutions and Principal. These workers, especially those in hard-hit industries like transportation, manufacturing and health care, have been helped by more flexible withdrawal rules created by the coronavirus relief legislation known as the CARES Act. Even with millions unemployed and the economy’s recovery shaky at best, that’s only about 5 percent of the eligible 401(k) and 403(b) clients across all of those companies. But that’s still higher than in a more typical year, when many participants can still generally withdraw money for hardships, albeit under a stricter set of rules.

COVID-19 Update for December 14, 2020

FOUND/LA Small Business Recovery Fund: Eligible business owners based on the criteria below can apply for grant support from FOUND/LA through one of our operating partners during open application windows. Applicants will submit complete applications and required documents. Those who meet the eligibility requirements will be entered into a pool of eligible applicants. On designated selection days, grant recipients will be randomly selected from this pool until all funds are expended.  The size of the grant will be between $5,000 and $25,000 depending on the size of the business.  For questions, email hello@foundla.org. Eligible business owners can apply with ONE of our partners. Applicants who apply with both organizations will not be eligible for grant funding. Businesses with 1 – 5 employees should apply with TMC Community CapitalBusinesses with 6 – 20 employees should apply with Pacific Community Ventures.

Round 1: Application Window Opens Monday, December 14, 2020 @ 9:00am. Application Window Closes Sunday, December 20, 2020 @ 11:59pm.Winners Selected: Monday, December 21, 2020

Round 2: Application Window Opens Monday, January 11, 2021 @ 9:00am. Application Window Closes Sunday, January 17, 2021 @ 11:59pm. Winners Selected: Monday, January 18, 2021 

https://www.foundla.org/covid-recovery-fund-for-small-businesses/

 

Mini-Grants for Black Owned Businesses in partnership with Los Angeles Urban League: Attention Black Business owners: The Los Angeles Urban League has programs specifically to help our community during this time. Please register to become a client by filling out the form at this link: https://www.laul.org/ec-registration/. As a client, you will receive an initial hour of free business counseling once you complete the intake form. 
The Urban League also provides mini-grants to Black-owned small businesses via our  Emergency Capital Access Program (ECAP)Eligible businesses will have: at least 51% or higher African American-ownership; be a legally registered For-Profit entity; in business before March 1, 2019, with primary business address in Los Angeles County; report no more than $150,000 in net profit for the previous fiscal year. To begin the counseling process to see if you qualify for the mini-grant, please complete the form by clicking the link: Click Here to Register + Apply

COVID Recovery Loan Program from TMC Community Capital: We are launching this program to support California’s small businesses—especially those located in economically disadvantaged and historically under-banked areas of the state. The loans are flexible, transparent and are designed to help businesses access the capital and advisory services they need to get through these challenging economic times. Please note, this program is not associated with the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or any other SBA program. The loans are not forgivable in part or whole. The loans will need to be paid back over a 2- to 5-year term with a fixed annual interest rate. Click Here to Learn More + Apply

Pasadena: As of Saturday, Pasadena has seen a total of 4729 cases among our residents with 139 fatalities. On Saturday, an additional 114 cases were reported with no new fatalities among Pasadenans. One newfatality was reprted on Friday. Pasadena health officials reported 122 new detected COVID-19 infections on Thursday, exceeding the previous all-time high, which was reported Sunday. No additional fatalities were reported in the city. Thursday’s count raised the city’s overall infections to 4,536, while the local death toll held at 138. The city’s average number of daily cases over the previous week also reached a new high of 94.4, according to city data.

On Thursday, Huntington Hospital, officials reported a record high number of 95 COVID-19 patients were being treated, with 18 of them in intensive care units.

LA County: Los Angeles County public health officials Saturday reported 70 new COVID-19 deaths and 11,476 new cases. The numbers reflect a continuing surge in coronavirus infections in California’s most populous county.

The five-day average of cases is 10,034, compared to 2,134 a month ago — a jump of 370%, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

A month ago, the five-day average of deaths was 12. As of Saturday, the average had climbed to 62, a 416% increase.

Los Angeles County’s intensive care unit capacity rate fell to 7.7% on Thursday, less than half of the 15% capacity that triggered the current regional stay-at-home order, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Thursday, the L.A. County Department of Public Health also reported a new record number of COVID-19 infections at 12,819. Officials also reported 74 new deaths, including the first death of a child with the COVID-19-related illness MIS-C.

Since the onset of the pandemic, L.A. County had recorded a total of  487,917 cases of novel coronavirus and 9,149 fatalities. In another new record, 3,433 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county on Thursday, officials said. Twenty-three percent of them were being treated in intensive care units. Hospitals in Los Angeles are under huge pressure to deal with hundreds of new coronavirus patients a day, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a news release Saturday.

"This is an extraordinarily challenging time. Hospitals are stressed and filling up with hundreds of new Covid-19 positive patients each day, our healthcare workers are exhausted, and deaths are reaching an all-time high," Ferrer said. A month ago, the 5-day average of cases was 2,134. On Saturday, the 5-day average was 10,034. According to the release, this is an increase of 370% in one month.  

As of Thursday, L.A. County represented 36% of California’s total COVID-19 cases and 40% of the state’s fatalities.

The first shipment of 83,000 vaccines was expected to arrive in L.A. County next week, with the initial doses expected to go to healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents, county officials said. The initial allocation will be sent to nine sites across the county with ultracold freezers, a requirement for the Pfizer vaccine. Vaccine will then be distributed to 83 acute care hospitals across the county and administered to healthcare workers prioritized based on risk. As the vaccines become increasingly available, officials will first prioritize seniors and those with chronic health conditions, authorities added. Wide availability for the general public was not expected until the summer.

California: California’s Covid-19 surge continues to break case count records, with increased hospitalizations, and intensive care unit admissions, according to new data released by the state’s public health department on Saturday. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported 35,729 new coronavirus cases on Saturday—breaking the record set on Friday of 35,468 new cases.

The number of new coronavirus cases across the state has sharply increased since the beginning of the week. The state’s average positivity rate over the prior week was 10%, with the 140-day average measured at 9%, according to a CDPH statement.

U.S.: There have been at least 16,014,839 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 297,501 people have died from Covid-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.  It took the US 268 days to reach 8 million Covid-19 cases, according to university data. It only took the nation 57 days to reach the second 8 million cases. 

The US reported 108,487 current Covid-19 hospitalizations on Saturday, setting a new record high, according to the Covid Tracking Project (CTP). This is the 11th consecutive day that hospitalizations in the US has remained above 100,000. Here are the hospitalization numbers for the past five days, according to the CTP:

  • December 12: 108,487
  • December 11: 108,044
  • December 10: 107,258 
  • December 9: 106,705 
  • December 8: 104,590 

 

From Fair Warning: A widely circulated list ranking the deadliest days in American history is picked apart here by Slate for leaving some things out, but the point remains that Covid deaths on several days this month have been higher than from the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that killed 2,403 people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that number has been surpassed on multiple days in December, including on Wednesday, when Covid claimed 3,411 lives–far and away a record and more than from the September 11, 2001 attacks.

“The epidemic in the U.S. is punishing,” Dr. Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization’s chief of emergencies, told the Associated Press. “It’s quite frankly shocking to see one to two persons a minute die in the U.S. — a country with a wonderful, strong health system, amazing technological capacities.”

More than 292,000 people in the U.S. have died of the coronavirus, nearly one-fifth of the world’s total, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.  The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington forecasts that 500,000 people in the United States will have died from coronavirus by April—but if mask use increased to 95 percent, it could save 56,000 lives, CNN reports.

Also: The vaccine advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted to recommend the agency authorize the Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, CNN reports. The FDA is expected to issue the authorization on Saturday, The New York Times reports, and the first vaccinations of health care workers and nursing home residents could happen as early as next week. Canada became the third country to approve the use of the Pfizer vaccine, after the United Kingdom and Bahrain, The Wall Street Journal reports, and Canadian officials said they will make a decision about the Moderna vaccine soon.

On Thursday, California’s new contact tracing system, CA Notify, went live. If you missed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement, it is essentially a smartphone feature you can opt into that will notify you of potential coronavirus exposure by using Bluetooth to detect which phones have been within several feet of one another for a certain amount of time.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been ramping up enforcement of coronavirus safety precautions after taking a hands-off approach earlier in the year, Amy Martyn reports for FairWarning.

But a review of OSHA inspections reveals the agency is mostly responding to deaths or hospitalizations, as required by law, not identifying unsafe working conditions before more people get infected and possibly die. Under the Trump administration, the number of OSHA inspectors has fallen to record lows, while key positions have gone unfilled.

The U.S. economic recovery is likely to slow further before the impact of expected approvals of Covid-19 vaccines makes itself felt in the second quarter of 2021, a new Wall Street Journal survey shows. In the latest monthly survey of business and academic economists, forecasters slashed their projections for economic growth and job creation in the first quarter, amid a surge in corona-virus cases. A number of economists said they expect coronavirus caseloads to remain high in the first quarter of 2021 because vaccines will take time to be distributed across the U.S.

On average, economists expect the economy to expand at a 1.9% annual rate from January to March, down from 3.3% growth in November’s survey. Economists forecast the labor market will add just under 295,000 new jobs a month in the first quarter, down from over 440,000 a month in the November survey.

The number of workers seeking unemployment benefits, a proxy for layoffs, climbed sharply by 137,000 to 853,000 last week, the Labor Department reported. The level of applications was the highest since September, but still well down from a peak of nearly seven million in late March. The number of applications for a separate federal pandemic program also rose sharply last week.

The claims figures add to signs the recovery continues, but at a cooler pace. Job growth eased in November and the number of job openings edged down in early December. The labor market’s partial rebound has been a key component in the overall economic recovery from a pandemic-related downturn in the spring.

Consumer spending rose in October for the sixth straight month, though at a slower pace, according to the Commerce Department. The manufacturing and services sectors expanded in November, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

U.S. stocks fell Thursday after the unemployment-claims figures were released.

Top Senate Republicans signaled Thursday they wouldn’t accept a bipartisan group’s efforts to craft a compromise on state and local governments and liability protections during the pandemic, undercutting the coalition’s attempt to break the months-long impasse over a coronavirus relief package.

Democrats continued to throw their support behind the bipartisan group working on a $908 billion proposal, leaving in question whether they would be willing to support an aid bill without funding for states and localities.

Europe: The European Central Bank scaled up its emergency bond-buying program by more than a third and unveiled a new batch of ultra-cheap loans for banks, a bold stimulus package aimed at backstopping the region’s governments and businesses as they navigate a stubborn resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The move, which takes the ECB’s monetary stimulus this year above €3 trillion ($3.63 trillion) underscores the rocky path ahead for the 19-nation eurozone economy. Europe has been hit much harder than the U.S. and other advanced economies as strict lockdowns have repeatedly closed businesses and hurt the south’s large tourism industry.

Together with a new €750 billion joint fund that European Union leaders signed off on Thursday evening, after Hungary and Poland dropped their concerns about a mechanism that could have deprived them of future budget funds, the ECB’s decision signals Europe’s willingness to combat this year’s economic downturn using new debt. That marks a shift in strategy from the region’s debt crisis a decade ago, when many governments sought quickly to tighten purse strings.

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For the first time ever, the median price of single family homes sold in Pasadena has exceeded $1 million, according to 2020/2021 property tax data provided to the city by a consultant and published last week. Sale prices have risen as the number of sales declined significantly due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. The smaller inventory and lower interest rates from January through September drove the median sale price of a detached single-family residential home in Pasadena up to $1,050,000, a $93,000 (9.7 percent) increase in median sale price from 2019.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED INFO (much still relevant):

COVID-19 Update for December 7, 2020-New Stay-at-Home orders issued, salons closed, restaurants must stop outdoor dining, more

COVID-19 infections are rising rapidly following the Thansgiving holiday. Plase do everything you can to avoid illness and stop the spread. Wear a mask when in public or encountering people who are not part of your immediate household. Wash or disinfect your hands frequently. If you feel ill, quarantine for 10 days and get tested. If you do feel sick, please do not interact with anyone, if at all possible. We are all responsible for the health and safety of everyone in our community. Simple safety precautions can slow the spread and save lives.

Non Sequitur Santa Comic
Southern California has sweeping new health restrictions beginning Sunday night due to the rapidly increasing number of hospitalizations from the coronavirus, state officials said Saturday, as Pasadena saw a record-high number of new COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row. A state-mandated “regional stay-at-home” order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, according to the California Department of Public Health. Under the state order, Pasadena’s restaurants will be required to stop offering outdoor dining and to return to take out and delivery services only.

On December 3, 2020, the Governor of the State of California issued a new health order that set strict stay-at-home requirements and limitations on business for multi-county regions facing reduced critical care resources due to the increasing rate of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and Intensive Care Units (ICU) admissions.

The Regional ICU bed availability has dropped below 15% and effective Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 10:00 p.m., outdoor dining, personal services businesses (including hair and nail salons) and all bars will be required to close down in Southern California - including Pasadena - for at least 21 days.

Affected communities, including the City of Pasadena, will have: 

  • Limitations of 20% on all retail establishments
  • Required closing of personal services businesses, including hair and nail salons
  • Required closing of all bars and wineries 
  • Restaurants required to return to take out and delivery services only 
  • Extension of current prohibition of all gatherings of more than one household
  • Offices remain closed except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible
  • Sector operations closed except for critical infrastructure and retail
  • Places of worship can continue to hold services outdoors only
  • The Governor’s Order supersedes the City’s authority and is based on the need for regional and statewide control to address this pandemic, according to the governor. 

 

City Officials are awaiting more specific guidance from the State regarding additional restrictions. 

The city is enforcing the State’s Limited Stay at Home Order, which requires residents to stay at their own homes between the hours of 10Pearls Before Swine comic p.m. and 5 a.m., except for essential activities. Restaurants are required to close on-site dining by 10 p.m. to allow for patrons to follow this state order. Parties at private residences and other after-hours social activities spread the virus and should not occur in an effort to avoid additional restrictions.

Please do your part to keep our community safe. Wear a mask in public. Keep a safe distance between yourself and people not in your household. Wash your hands.

Avoid interacting with those not in your household unless you practice safe behavior. 

All Pasadena in-person dining, personal services businesses (including hair and nail salons) and all bars were required to close down at 10 p.m. Sunday night. Additionally, gatherings of more than one household are prohibited, sector operations will be closed except for critical infrastructure and retail, and face coverings and physical distancing will be required in all other operations. Schools that have been granted waivers will be allowed to continue to operate, as well as child care facilities. City officials are awaiting more specific guidance from the state regarding additional restrictions.

We need your action and need your support for the California Coalition for Safe Reopening. Please invite your members to our Coalition Facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/californiacoalitionforsafereopening.  

Pasadena: Pasadena set a grim new record on Sunday when city officials reported the most cases of the coronavirus ever recorded in a single day. It was the third day in a row the city saw that record broken, each day surpassing the previous. On Sunday, city officials reported 120 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths. The 120 cases is a new record for coronavirus cases in Pasadena. On Saturday the city had set a record with 109 new cases, which broke the record of 93 set the day before on Friday. Pasadena has had a total of 4,197 cases among its residents and 136 fatalities.

The new deaths were those of a 93-year-old woman who was living at a senior care facility on Nov. 26 and a 77-year-old woman who was not living in an institutional setting on Tuesday, according to Derderian. The city’s average number of new daily cases over the prior week also reached an all time high at 47.6, city data shows.

Sixty-eight people were being treated at Huntington Hospital, including 13 people in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

LA County: At the county level, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Los Angeles County shattered its own record for new coronavirus cases for the third straight day — and the fourth time in a week — as public health officials posted 8,949 infections and 44 new deaths linked to the virus on Saturday. Officials logged 25,402 new cases during Thursday, Friday and Saturday. That’s an average of 8,467 cases per day.

L.A. County reported the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 climbed to 2,769 people, with 23% of these people cared for in intensive care units. That’s the most hospitalizations recorded in the county since the pandemic began and the fifth straight day of a new record."[On Friday] he number of new cases surpassed the previous all-time high of 7,593 reported on December 1," the LA County health agency said in a written statement. Forty-four additional deaths were announced, bringing the county-wide totals to 7,782 deaths and 421,881 cases of COVID-19. County officials said 2,572 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized on Thursday, with 23% of them being treated in intensive care units.

The county also announced Friday that it had launched at-home coronavirus testing, a pilot program aimed at people who cannot make it to countywide drive-thru testing. The program runs through Jan. 15, with hopes of testing harder-to-reach residents amid the holiday season. Targeted residents include people with COVID- 19 symptoms, those who have had contact or suspected contact with a coronavirus patient, and seniors or people with disabilities who believe they may have been exposed but are unable to visit a testing site.

Keep LA County Dining Grant Program Applications to Reopen on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, 8 am (not available to Pasadena or Los Angeles restaurants): A new application platform is scheduled to reopen on Monday, December 7, 2020 ay 8:00 am, and will remain available until Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 5:00 pm, or until 2,500 applications are received, whichever comes first. Click the link below for more information: Keep LA County Dining website

California: Statewide, 25,068 new cases on Friday pushed California’s total to 1,311,625; 209 new fatalities pushed the state’s death toll to 19,791. The new tallies brought the statewide totals to 1,264,539 cases of COVID-19 and 19,437 deaths, according to CDPH records. Only 12.5% of adult intensive care beds were available in Southern California, an index that triggered a stay-at-home order lasting at least three weeks starting at 11:59 p.m. today. The order will add tougher restrictions on top of the county’s current rules for travel, business activity and public gatherings, already tightened up significantly by local officials in recent weeks. The ICU availability number, a decrease from 13.1% the day.

The US: From the New York Times: This was one of the most devastating weeks in the U.S. since the coronavirus pandemic began nine months ago. On Friday, a national single-day record was set, with more than 226,000 new cases. Hospitalizations topped 100,000 — more than double the number at the beginning of November. Upticks on both coasts have more than offset the progress in the Upper Midwest, where new case numbers have started to fall. Some places in the Northeast are now reporting more cases each day than they were in the spring, in part because testing was limited then. H

As the virus has spread, infectious-disease experts have gained a better understanding of who among the nation’s nearly 330 million residents is the most vulnerable: nursing home residents, people with underlying conditions, and lower-income communities.

Jobless numbers: From the Financial Times: The US economy added 245,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 per cent, as the labour market lost momentum in the face of the latest surge in coronavirus cases.
The data released on Friday by the US labour department will fuel fears about the health of the world’s largest economy. It comes in the midst of a new push in Congress for a fiscal stimulus package to help small businesses, the unemployed and state and local governments weather the latest wave of infections, after months of stalled negotiations.

RELIEF FROM THE FEDS?: Lawmakers released a blitz of competing coronavirus-relief proposals Tuesday, reigniting stalled talks as the pandemic surges across the country, but  without clear signs that Democratic and Republican leaders would reach a consensus. A bipartisan group from the House and Senate unveiled a roughly $900 billion compromise proposal, offering one route between House Democrats’ last $2.4 trillion bill and Senate Republicans’ recent $650 billion  proposal. Meanwhile, GOP and Democratic leaders traded new offers as the looming expiration of some relief measures intensified the pace of year-end legislating. In another sign of the new urgency, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held their first phone  conversation since the election on relief measures and spending legislation.

The framework allocates $908 billion in total aid, including both new funding and the reallocation of previously appropriated CARES Act funding. The framework targets resources to the following key categories:

  • State, Local, and Tribal Governments - $160 billion 
  • Additional Unemployment Insurance (UI) - $180 billion 
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) including restaurants, stages, and deductibility - $288 billion
  • CDFI/MDI Community Lender Support - $12 billion
  • Transportation (Airlines, Airports, Buses, Transit and Amtrak) - $45 billion
  • Vaccine Development and Distribution and Testing and Tracing - $16 billion
  • Healthcare Provider Relief Fund - $35 billion 
  • Education Funding - $82 billion
  • Student Loans - $4 billion
  • Housing Assistance (Rental) - $25 billion
  • Nutrition/Agriculture - $26 billion
  • U.S. Postal Service - $10 billion
  • Child Care - $10 billion     
  • Dedicated Broadband Funding - $10 billion
  • Opioid Funding - $5 billion

 

On friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that since February, nearly four million Americans have stopped working or seeking jobs. Many jobs and workers may return post-pandemic, but some economists see three reasons the effect on the labor force could linger. First, some baby boomers seem to have sped up retirement. Second, some parents of young children, in particular women, are having to reduce hours or stop working altogether. Third, less-educated and less-skilled workers, hardest hit by the pandemic's effects, often struggle to find well-paying work, and many drop out of the workforce.

More Hypocrites on Parade: San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed, went to a socialite’s birthday dinner at the French Laundry the night after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ill-conceived visit. And San Jose’s mayor, Sam Liccardo, admitted he violated pandemic restrictions and went to a family Thanksgiving dinner with people from five households. Bad looks, a columnist wrote. [The San Francisco Chronicle]. LA County Supervisor, after voting to close outdoor dining in the county went to lunch and dined outdoors at a West Hollywood restaurant.

And it get more absurd: Los Angeles decided to shut down a coronavirus testing site at Union Station for a film crew working on a reboot of “She’s All That” starring the TikTok star Addison Rae. Residents and community organizers were outraged, and the city reversed the decision. [The New York Times]

Real Estate: California’s median home price hit $712,430 in September, closing out four months of record highs. [The New York Times]

COVID-19 Update for November 30, 2020-Pasadena Restaurants Open for Outdoor Dining, Health Department Shuts Five, County Expands Stay-at-Home and more

Pasadena: Pasadena reported 36 new cases on Saturday. There were no reported deaths. Pasadena has experienced 3,671 total cases and 132 fatalities due to COVID-19. 

The Pasadena Public Health Department did not restrict outdoor dining in Pasadena. Safety protocols are still required and will be enforced. City officials did announce more robust inspection and enforcement of restaurants, as well as other places people gather such as parks, the Rose Bowl loop and other public spaces. Residents are urged not to gather with people outside their immediate household and to continue social distancing and wearing masks in public. 

From PasadenaNOWA city official said this morning (Sunday) that on Saturday night, Pasadena health inspectors were able to finish the reinspections of all the original locations from Wednesday and Thursday’s visits, and to conduct first visits at restaurants in Old Pasadena (along Green Street, Colorado Boulevard, Union Street, One Colorado, and Raymond Avenue), at and around the Paseo, on South Arroyo, and on South Lake Avenue.  The most common violations observed were no face shields, dining tables not distanced, and protocols not completed.  The Health Department reinstated three health permits on Saturday night to restaurants previously shut down, and closed two additional restaurants. Approximately 50% of restaurants were found to be compliant during initial visits.

Pasadena Health Department inspectors were in city parks Saturday enforcing Pasadena’s COVID-19 Health Orders, after shutting down five restaurants Friday night for violating the protocols.

Inspectors stopped athletic games forbidden under the most recent health order, contacted people not wearing masks and instructed them to put one on immediately, required large gatherings to reduce in size to the permitted allowance, and posted public notices to inform and remind citizens of the rules.

The five restaurants that were closed down Friday must completely close their kitchens, schedule a hearing and then have an inspection before they can reopen to any type of dining, including takeout and delivery, Pasadena Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian said.

The enforcement efforts were announced earlier this week as Pasadena, like much of the U.S., faces a spike in new coronavirus cases.

Officials had said that throughout the weekend, enforcement teams would monitor businesses, parks, and other areas of potential gatherings to ensure compliance with health orders issued by the Pasadena Public Health Department.

The teams were deployed Saturday to the Rose Bowl Loop and to Brookside, Victory, Eaton Blanche, Central, McDonald and Washington Parks. Derderian reported on the following results:

  • At the Rose Bowl Loop, teams observed a dozen people without masks and were able to contact and get compliance from 10 of them.
  • At Brookside, a football game was stopped and two soccer teams instructed to drill only, as sports competitions aren’t allowed. An unpermitted running event was shutdown with the assistance of Pasadena Park Rangers.
  • A birthday party in Victory Park was reduced to 15 people in size and instructed on social distancing.
  • At Eaton Blanche Park a group of 12 playing competitive volleyball were required to disband.
  • In Central Park, three people informed to wear mask which they did immediately
  • At both McDonald Park and Washington Park, all visitors in compliance

Derderian reported that “all citizens we interacted with were complimentary of our presence and encouraged continued enforcement.”

Pasadena Park Rangers assisted enforcement inspectors at Pasadena city parks on Saturday. (Photo courtesy City of Pasadena)

Earlier this week City of Pasadena Health Officer Dr. Ying-Ying Goh warned the city would roll out a “broad, aggressive enforcement strategy” that had become “an immediate necessity given the rate of increase in COVID-19 cases and potential strain on our healthcare resources.”

Derderian said at that time city would review its health orders and continue to enforce the business curfew, which prohibits local businesses from operating between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. until Dec. 21.

“The city of Pasadena will continue to assess our COVID numbers and work closely with Huntington Hospital and give as much advance notice as possible if the city’s order is going to change in any respect,” Derderian said.

A statement released by the city Tuesday afternoon listed some of the rules already in place for Pasadena businesses:

• Retail store occupancy may not exceed 25% of maximum capacity (as defined by the Fire Code). This capacity limit was previously established by the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy for local health jurisdictions in counties in Purple Tier 1.
• Limitations on gatherings are still in place: people are permitted to gather outdoors with no more than 2 other households, for 2 hours or less, with all attendees wearing face coverings and maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet or more between households.
• Sports competitions, such as softball and soccer games, are still not permitted.
• Non-essential offices must remain closed for in-person operations and only conduct work remotely, as previously established by the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

The new restrictions in Pasadena as of November 20 are as follows:

• Personal care services that require either the customer or the staff to remove their face covering, such as facials, shaves, and threading are not permitted. All public health protocols must continue to be followed for other personal care services, including a requirement for services to be offered by appointment only, and as many services as possible provided outdoors.
• Personal care services are now limited to 25% maximum capacity (as defined by the Fire Code).
• Gatherings must meet the limitations stated above (outdoor, 2 hours or less, with face coverings worn and physical distancing between households) and may not exceed a total of 15 people from 3 or fewer households.
• Restaurants, breweries and bars must cease service in their on-site, outdoor dining areas as of 10 p.m. and close their on-site dining areas thereafter until 5 a.m.

For additional information please call the Citizen Service Center, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at (626) 744-7311.

“We want to keep restaurants operating, but that hinges on their willingness to follow the rules,” Derderian said. She declined to name the restaurants that were closed but said they would be published on the city’s website by Tuesday.

Earlier this week City of Pasadena Health Officer Dr. Ying-Ying Goh warned the city would roll out a broad, aggressive enforcement strategy that had become an immediate necessity given the rate of increase in COVID-19 cases and potential strain on healthcare resources. On Tuesday City Manager Steve Mermell said special attention would be invested in locating restaurants which didn’t comply with Pasadena’s health orders.

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout Los Angeles County, Young and Healthy Pasadena has decided to add more dates to their free COVID-19 testing program.

Join Young and Healthy on Monday, November 30, and Tuesday, December 1, at the Altadena Seventh Day Adventist Church from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a free COVID-19 cheek swab test. Results will be sent to you within 24 to 48 hours.The free test is open to everyone, and no ID or insurance will be required. This is a walk-up only testing event and no reservations are required. The COVID-19 free testing is supported by other community organizations and volunteers, and by funding from the Southern  California Children’s Museum. For more information, call (626) 795-5166.

LA County: From the Pasadena Star-NewsSnarled in the midst of a relentless surge that has propelled new coronavirus cases to record levels, Los Angeles County health officials issued an urgent plea to follow a temporary three-week safer-at-home order starting Monday.

No additional orders were announced by Barbara Ferrer, the county’s Department of Public Health director, during Saturday’s rare weekend media briefing, but the possibility of further measures should case numbers continue to increase was not ruled out.

“I understand everyone’s frustration, but we’re headed into the holiday season and more than anything, we’re longing to spend time with friends and family,” Ferrer said. “If we really care about each other … we need to not gather with anyone not in our immediate household, at least for the immediate future. We’re really trying to ensure for the next three weeks we do everything we can to get the surge to decrease.”

Officials reported 3,143 new cases and 19 new deaths Saturday, lifting those totals to 390,891 cases and 7,623 deaths since the pandemic began. Saturday’s death number reflected a holiday weekend reporting lag, Ferrer said.

The county’s five-day average of new cases, a statistic that has been used to trigger more severe restrictions on public activity, is now 4,155

Last week Los Angeles County health officials closed all restaurants under their jurisdiction to outdoor dining. (This does not apply to Pasadena with its own health department.) 

In response to “alarming levels” of new coronavirus cases, the Los Angeles County Depart- ment of Public Health issued a temporary order Friday adding new restrictions to daily life.

Last week, Los Angeles County officials said that if the five-day average of cases exceeded 4,500 cases, or if hospitalizations were higher than 2,000 a day, it would trigger a new set of restric- tions.

On Friday, an additional 4,544 cases were reported, and the five-day average exceeded the limit, triggering the re- strictions, which will begin on Monday and remain in effect until Dec. 20, the county said. In the new order, “residents are advised to stay home as much as possible and always wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are outside their house- hold and around others.” While beaches, trails, and parks in the county remain open, gatherings with people outside one’s household are pro- hibited. Religious services and protests are exempt because of constitutional protections. The order also puts new caps on occupancy, including a 35% maximum occupancy for essential businesses, and a maximum 20% occupancy for nonessential businesses.

According to the latest data from the county, there are 1,893 people currently hospitalized and 24% of them are in the intensive care unit. A month ago, on Oct. 27, there were 747 people hospitalized.

Los Angeles County health officials also issued new safety orders — including a stay-at-home order — on Friday. The orders do not apply to Pasadena, which is governed by its own health department. The new county measures will go into effect on Monday and remain until December 20, according to Los Angeles County Public Health.

Those measures advise residents to stay home as much as possible and always wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when outside their household and around others.

Friday’s 4,544 new cases raised the county’s five-day average to 4,751 — the highest point since the pandemic began — and triggered the new health order. The new rules will effectively ban most public and private gatherings starting Monday and remain in effect through at least Dec. 20.

On Friday, 1,893 L.A. County residents were hospitalized with the coronavirus, 24% of whom were in intensive care. In late October,about 750 people were hospitalized with the virus.

On Wednesday, county Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said that the situation was getting worse each day.

“We continue to be at a very difficult time in this pandemic, as is so much of the United States,” Davis said.

According to current county estimates, every COVID- 19 patient in the county is passing the virus to an average of 1.27 people, the highest transmission rate the county has seen since March, before any safety protocols such as face coverings and social distancing were in place.

Based on that transmission rate, health officials estimate one of every 145 people in the county are now infected with the virus and transmitting it to others.

The additional safety modifications in the order include the following changes to the existing Health Officer Order:

  • Gatherings: all public and private gatherings with individuals not in your household are prohibited, except for church services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights.
  • Occupancy limits at various businesses; all individuals at these sites are required to wear face coverings and keep at least 6 feet of distance:
  • Essential retail: 35% maximum occupancy;
  • Nonessential retail (includes indoor malls): 20% maximum occupancy;
  • Personal care services: 20% maximum occupancy;
  • Libraries: 20% maximum occupancy;
  • Fitness centers operating outdoors: 50% maximum occupancy;
  • Museums galleries, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens operating outdoors: 50% maximum occupancy;
  • Mini-golf, batting cages, go-kart racing operating outdoors: 50% maximum occupancy;
  • Outdoor recreation activities all which require face coverings (except for swimming) and distancing: Beaches, trails and parks remain open; gatherings at these sites with members outside your household are prohibited. Golf courses, tennis courts, pickleball, archery ranges, skate parks, bike parks and community gardens remain open for individuals or members of a single household. Pools that serve more than one household may open only for regulated lap swimming with one person per lane. Drive-in movies/events/car parades are permitted provided occupants in each car are members of one household.
  • Schools: All schools and day camps remain open adhering to reopening protocols. K-12 Schools and Day Camps with an outbreak (3 cases or more over 14 days) should close for 14 days.
  • Closed nonessential businesses/activities:
  • Playgrounds (with the exception of playgrounds at childcare and schools;
  • Cardrooms;
  • Restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries remain closed for in- person dining and drinking because of the high rates of transmission in the community, as customers are not wearing face coverings, which results in an increased chance of transmission of the virus. Restaurants, wineries and breweries remain open for pick-up, delivery and take-out. Breweries and wineries remain open for retail sales at 20% occupancy.

 

The US: The number of Americans hospitalized for Covid-19 sur- passed 90,000 for the first time, as the pandemic’s largest, most widespread U.S. surge pushes rural health care to its limits. Hospitalizations nationally have nearly doubled this month, setting a record Nov. 10, and every day since, to reach about 90,480 people in hospitals with Covid-19 on Thursday, Covid Tracking Project data show. The number of people in intensive-care units due to Covid-19 rose on Thurs- day to an all-time high of 17,802.

On April 15, more Americans were reported dead of Covid-19 than on any other day of the pandemic. The daily toll is growing close once more. The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the holiday shop- ping season, with fewer people hitting stores on Black Friday and many retail chains holding the line on discounts because they are sitting on lean inventories. Crowds were smaller this year than last after chains like Walmart Inc. and Best Buy Co. put their Black Friday promotions online and, alongside Amazon.com Inc., encouraged peo- ple to buy earlier in the season. Even Black Friday veterans out shopping said they had made much more of their purchases online this year.

On April 15, the United States reached a grim nadir in the pandemic: 2,752 people across the country were reported to have died from Covid-19 that Wednesday, more than on any day before or since.

For months, the record stood as a reminder of the pain the coronavirus was inflicting on the nation, and a warning of its deadly potential. But now, after seven desperate months trying to contain the virus, daily deaths are rising sharply and fast approaching that dreadful count again.

How the virus kills in America, though, has changed in profound ways. Months of suffering have provided a horrific but valuable education: Doctors and nurses know better how to treat patients who contract the virus and how to prevent severe cases from ending in fatality, and a far smaller proportion of people who catch the virus are dying from it than were in the spring, experts say.

A growing number of governors are calling for another round of coronavirus-relief legislation from Washington, saying they are unable to provide additional funds to small businesses amid budget shortfalls. The issue is gaining urgency as money from federal relief passed earlier this year runs out ahead. States have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid into everything from personal-protective equipment and hazard pay for front-line health-care workers to schools and food banks.

The U.S. economy is recovering at a sturdy but slowing pace heading into the holidays. Consumers stepped up their spending by a brisk 0.5% in Octo- ber, down from a gain of 1.2% the month before, the Commerce De- partment said Wednesday. Factory orders for long-lasting goods rose a solid 1.3%, in part because businesses shelled out more for long-term projects, the agency said. Sales of newly built homes slipped last month but remained near the highest level in almost 14 years.

Jobless claims rose for the second straight week, to 778,000, a sign the nationwide surge in virus cases was starting to weigh on the labor-market recovery. Claims haven’t risen for two consecutive weeks since July. Worker filings for unemployment insurance are down sharply from a peak of nearly seven million in late March. But they remain higher than in any previous recession for records tracing back to 1967.

Hawaii is seeking a careful balance as the holiday travel season kicks off: Allow enough visitors to help struggling, tourism-reliant businesses without causing a new wave of coronavirus cases. The state last month began allowing U.S. visitors to skip a mandatory 14-day quarantine if they get tested for Covid-19 through an approved provider within three days of their flight and the test comes back negative. The change prompted some businesses on the islands to reopen, and many are hoping for a pickup in December. Hawaii suffered one of the most severe economic down-turns of any state from the pandemic. Hawaii’s unemploy- ment rate was the highest of any state in October, at 14.3%, the Labor Department said.

COVID-19 Update for November 23, 2020

Pasadena: Pasadena’s 30 new cases on Saturday raised its total since the pandemic began to 3,311; our death toll of 131 did not change. Pasadena announced 55 new detected cases of COVID-19 and one new death in the city on Thursday as public health officials throughout the region and the state scrambled to stem the accelerating transmission of the virus, including a nightly “limited” stay at home order issued by the governor. 

Prior to Tuesday, when 61 cases were detected, the city hadn’t seen so many infections in a single day since May 20, according to city data.

The new death, which occurred earlier this week, was that of a 70-year-old man.

A significant portion of Thursday’s infections resulted from a single birthday party attended by members of three households, she said.

Over the prior week, Pasadena’s saw an average of 32.6 new infections each day, records show.

of all the gin joints.jpg

Gin Joints COVID cartoon
"Of all the gin joints in all the world, she had to walk into mine...after 10pm!"

Huntington Hospital reported treating 41 COVID-19 patients on Thursday. The facility suspended in-person visitation at the hospital for the second time during the pandemic on Wednesday.

Because of the dramatically increasing numbers of local COVID-19 infections, the City of Pasadena is reminding the community about existing health orders in place to protect ourselves and others around us from infection.

To further mitigate the spread of the virus, the City is instituting new pandemic safeguards and restrictions, effective Friday, Nov. 20.

Reminders regarding some of the rules already in place include:

  • Retail store occupancy may not exceed 25% of maximum capacity (as defined by the Fire Code). This capacity limit was previously established by the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy for local health jurisdictions in counties in Purple Tier 1.

  • Limitations on gatherings are still in place: people are permitted to gather with no more than 2 other households, for 2 hours or less, with all attendees wearing face coverings and maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet or more between households.

  • Sports competitions, such as softball and soccer games, are still not permitted.

  • Non-essential offices must remain closed for in-person operations and only conduct work remotely, as previously established by the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

The new restrictions are as follows:

  • Personal care services that require either the customer or the staff to remove their face covering, such as facials and shaves, are not permitted. All public health protocols must continue to be followed for other personal care services, including a requirement for services to be offered by appointment only, and as many services as possible provided outdoors.

  • Personal care services are now limited to 25% maximum capacity (as defined by the Fire Code).

  • Gatherings must meet the limitations stated above (outdoor, 2 hours or less, with face coverings worn and physical distancing between households) and may not exceed a total of 15 people from 3 or fewer households.

  • Restaurants, breweries and bars must cease service in their on-site, outdoor dining areas as of 10 p.m. and close their on-site dining areas thereafter until 5 a.m.

Revised COVID-19 Public Health Order for Pasadena

This week, Pasadena's Public Health Officer released a revised health order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Businesses and their employees are reminded that while within the city limits of Pasadena, the Pasadena Public Health Officer's Order applies.

With regards to business, the Public Health Order issued this week does three things:

  1. Restaurants, breweries and bars must cease service in their on-site outdoor dining operations by 10 pm.  Take-out and drive-thru operations may continue past 10 pm, if allowed by the business' use permit. This nightly restriction lifts at 5 am.
  2. Personal care services are now limited to 25% maximum occupancy (as defined by the Fire Code).
  3. Personal care services that require the removal of a mask by the customer or the employee are not permitted.

 

To read the full text of the Revised Pasadena Public Health Orderclick here.
To read the Revised Guidance for Restaurants and Breweriesclick here.
To read the Revised Guidance for Personal Care Servicesclick here. 

LA County: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said Thursday that the virus was spreading at a “dangerous pace” as it announced 5,031 new cases of COVID-19 and 29 additional deaths on Friday. The current spike in infections has exceeded the last major surge over the summer, officials said. Warily watching daily caseloads that could soon trigger more restrictive stay-at-home orders, Los Angeles County public health officials reported 4,522 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, an unnerving surge that shows no sign of relenting.

Reacting, LA County has closed all restaurants to everything but take-out after Wednesday. As of Sunday, the Pasadena Department of Health has not followed suit. 

Hospitalizations, too, are posting dramatic increases, up to 1,391 on Saturday — the highest since August — representing a major increase from a month ago when daily hospitalizations were 730. About 26% of patients are being treated in intensive-care units, officials said.

The county has reported 17,769 new cases for a fourday average of 4,442. Today’s report will be closely monitored as officials watch for a five-day average that would switch on the tougher rules.

Since March, L.A. County has recorded 353,232 COVID-19 infections and 7,363 deaths.

From the New York Times: Officials in Los Angeles County — which has for months struggled more than many other parts of the state — also announced more stringent restrictions than required by the state, including a curfew for restaurants and nonessential stores. Starting on Friday, they must close from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.The county ordered restaurants operating outdoors to halve their capacity, and officials said they may be forced to resort to restrictions more like the aggressive lockdown that kept Californians at home in March if conditions do not quickly improve.[Read more about what counts as an essential business from March.] Earlier in the week, Dr. Bob Wachter, a professor and chair of the University of California, San Francisco’s department of medicine, said that the state’s actions were warranted to curb the spread of the virus, particularly in light of the imminent holiday.“Whether or not it’s enough, I guess we’ll see,” he said. A Times analysis shows that states that imposed more restrictions have less bad outbreaks, and California was the first state to put in place a stay-at-home order in March. Less is known specifically about the effectiveness of curfews, but New York officials recently took a similar step.

The Los Angeles SBDC Network, LA County, Cal OES, Go-BIZ and VSEDC have partnered to launch PPE Unite™. This program is a unique effort to give small business owners and their employees a FREE 30-day supply to much-needed personal protective gear to eligible small businesses in LA County.PPE Unite™ is a public and private partnership creating access to personal protective equipment for small businesses across Los Angeles County.

PPE for small businesses may include: Face masks, Hand sanitizers, Face shields. Who is eligible? Small businesses with less than 50 employees.Must be located in Los Angeles County.Must operate as a sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, C or S-Corp, or micro-business. Business may not have received any PPE through this program in the past. These supplies are offered on a first come, first serve basis. SIGN UP NOW

California: California as a whole has seen more than 1 million infections, with a record 13,000 new cases recorded Thursday. As of Saturday, there have been 1,092,354 infections and 18,642 deaths due to COVID-19 in our state. 5,745 people were hospitalized as of Saturday. 

The curfew applies to 41 of the state’s 58 counties that are in the “purple” tier, the most restrictive of four state tiers allowing various stages of economic reopening. Those counties encompass 94% of the nearly 40 million people living in the most populous U.S. state. L.A. County hasn’t budged from the purple tier since the program was instituted.

From the New York Times: California officials on Thursday announced a curfew aimed at quickly curbing a surge of coronavirus infections, prohibiting nearly all residents of the state, the nation’s most populous, from leaving their homes to do nonessential work or to gather from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., in the most severe lockdown since the state put in place its first stay-at-home order in March. [Track California’s coronavirus cases by county.] The new stay-at-home order is described as more limited than the spring order; in addition to applying only overnight, it has a built-in expiration date for now, and applies only to so-called purple tier counties, which are under the state’s most stringent restrictions in its reopening plan.It will go into effect Saturday night and will remain in place until the morning of Dec. 21.As in the spring order, residents can still go outside for walks or to go to work in what are deemed essential jobs, like in grocery stores, and it doesn’t apply to people experiencing homelessness. Restaurants, which are deemed essential, can continue to do takeout and delivery. But it effectively forces all restaurants to close in-person operations at 10 p.m., even if they are operating outdoors.

As with the spring order, it is likely to be enforced differently across the state, depending on the severity of violations and the attitudes of local leaders. Officials didn’t make clear what enforcement might look like.[Read the full order here.] The move comes amid what California officials and experts have described as an alarming — but not yet irreversible — wave of new infections, heading into a dangerous Thanksgiving week. According to The Times’s database, the state was reporting a weekly average of 9,974 new cases per day, more than double the average two weeks ago.

US: The number of people killed by the coronavirus in the U.S. surpassed a quarter million this week, and now tops 253,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. That’s enough to empty out dozens of counties in the country’s heartland if all the deaths were consolidated in a central place, Lauren Tierney and Tim Meko report for The Washington Post, with accompanying graphics. Another visualization shows a month-by-month map of the counties as they hit the peak number of cases, with virtually the entire interior of the country lit up in November.

The number of Covid-19 hospitalizations nationwide set a new record every day since Nov. 10, rising 28% over the past nine days. The U.S. hit its previous record of 59,924 hospitalizations on April 15, as the new coronavirus overwhelmed health-care systems in New York and New Jersey in the early days of the pandemic. During another surge over the summer, in which the country’s most populous states saw significant increases in infections, hospitalizations grew to 59,712 on July 23. In the latest surge, affecting nearly every state in the country, the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 surpassed April’s high on Nov. 10, when 62,062 hospitalizations were recorded, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Just over a week later, the number of  ospitalizations in the U.S. has grown to 79,410. The increase has strained hospital staffs and intensive care units across the country. Nowhere is that more acute than Wisconsin, which has seen a prolonged and precipitous rise in new infections for two months.

According to the latest available data from the state’s Department of Health Services, 89% of all hospital beds are in use and 90.2% of ICU beds are occupied. The state recorded another record number of daily cases on Wednesday, topping 8,500.

Consequently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving next week, The Wall Street Journal reports, as even gathering with one extra household poses too great a risk. “The tragedy that could happen is that one of your family members, from coming together in this family gathering, actually could end up being hospitalized and severely ill and die,” Henry Walke, the incident manager for the CDC Covid-19 response, told reporters.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly urged Americans on Thursday not to travel for Thanksgiving, in one of its sharpest warnings to date as an official said the agency is alarmed by the exponential growth in Covid-19 cases and the rise in both hospitalizations and deaths. With the pandemic in its 11th month in the U.S., many families are grappling with whether to meet up with friends or family for traditional celebrations. About 50 million people are expected to travel in the coming days, which is traditionally the busiest travel period of the year. But the holiday comes at a particularly precarious time in the current virus surge, and doctors and government officials said even gathering with one other household is too much of a risk.

From the Wall Street Journal: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would allow several emergency Federal Reserve lending programs to expire, sparking an unusual public split between the Treasury and the central bank, which pressed for an extension. As a result, on Dec. 31 several novel Fed programs that backed corporate credit and municipal-borrowing markets and provided loans to small and midsize businesses and nonprofits during the coronavirus pandemic will expire.

Two Federal Reserve officials at the heart of central bank decision- making this year sent warnings Thursday about what lies ahead for the economy as coronavirus cases spiral higher. Loretta Mester of the Cleveland Fed and Robert Kaplan of the Dallas Fed both expressed worry about the economy in separate Bloomberg Television interviews, but were reticent in detailing what more the Fed could do to help. Both regional Fed bank presidents hold  voting roles on the interest- rate setting Federal Open

U.S. home sales rose to a 14-year high last month, a rare bright spot for the economy as ultralow borrowing costs and the sudden shift in living  references during the pandemic power the market. October’s gains marked the fifth straight monthly increase and one of the best stretches for the housing market in several years. While home sales showed some signs of life before the coronavirus outbreak, they are running much hotter now.

The number of applications for unemployment benefits rose sharply last week, indicating continued challenges for the U.S. economic recovery as coronavirus infections increased around the country. Initial claims for jobless benefits, a proxy for layoffs, rose to a seasonally adjusted 742,000 last week, up from the 711,000 filed a week earlier. That level is more than three times higher than the roughly 210,000 typically filed each week in the first two months of 2020, though it is down sharply from a peak of nearly seven million in late March. At present levels, initial jobless claims are still higher than they were in any other recession on record. 

From Fair Warning: Pfizer is asking U.S. regulators to authorize emergency use of the Covid-19 vaccine the company developed in partnership with the German company BioNTech. So far, the vaccine appears to be 95% effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease in a large, ongoing study, Lauran Neergaard reports for the Associated Press. If the vaccine is approved, the companies could bring out the first round of shots as early as December, although the vaccine would still not be widely available to the public for months—not until after a long winter. Also: The Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for the first Covid home test, but has made it available by prescription only. The test, expected to cost around $50, will be available to patients of Northern California’s Sutter Health and South Florida’s Cleveland Clinic in the near future, but won’t be widely available until spring 2021, Teo Armus and Meryl Kornfield report for The Washington Post.

As coronavirus cases surge and the economy weakens, there is still no sign that Senate Republicans and House Democrats are interested in compromising on a second coronavirus relief bill, Sahil Kapur reports for NBC News. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon criticized the politicians for their inaction, saying, “I know now we have this big debate. Is it $2.2 trillion, $1.5 trillion? You gotta be kidding me. I mean just split the baby and move on. This is childish behavior on the part of our politicians.”

COVID-19 Update for November 16, 2020 - News, Information and Resources

Join us on the second Wednesday of the month at 11:30am for our socially distanced Luncheon Alliance. Join us on the Third Wednesday of the month at 8am for our socially distanced Connection Breakfast. Click here for info.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that people travel as little as possible at this time. If you must travel, it’s best to check the infection rates in the state you are traveling to and what the restrictions are for each state.

US biotech Moderna said its Covid-19 vaccine had shown 94.5 per cent efficacy in clinical trials, in the second positive set of results for a potential coronavirus shot in the past eight days. Last week, US giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech also said their vaccine, which uses the same messenger RNA technology, was found to be more than 90 per cent effective. The Moderna finding, hot on the heels of that breakthrough, will further boost optimism that the world can turn the corner in the management of the pandemic.

Pasadena: 

From the Pasadena Star-News: The coronavirus situation in Pasadena hasn’t been this bad since late July. The city reported five times more cases on average this past week, compared to the all-time low it noted five weeks ago.

Between Saturday, Nov. 7 and Friday, Nov. 13, the city counted an average of 19.6 cases every day. That’s almost twice as many cases reported last week when it noted a little over 10 cases a day on average. Both weeks are a far cry from the city’s all-time low of 3.4 cases tallied each day between Oct. 10 and Oct. 16.

Why’s it getting so bad? Well, it’s a combination of things.

“The reason is the same in Pasadena as it is in Los Angeles County, as it is in the state,” Public Health Director Dr. Ying-Ying Goh said in an interview on Friday. “And it’s because we’re seeing more people get together from different households.”

Between back-to-back championships from the Dodgers and Lakers, to Halloween parties, to everyday gatherings, Goh knows people are probably tired of the pandemic, “even though the virus is still here and worse than ever.”

On top of that, Goh said, some folks who have tested positive aren’t listening to health officials’ pleas for them to quarantine and isolate.

“Even after they get positive test results, they don’t maintain isolation because, for whatever reason, they think they don’t have to,” she said.

Then there’s another group who come into contact with someone who’s confirmed positive and they immediately get tested, getting a negative result, “and they think they won’t get COVID because they got a test, but they do,” Goh said. “You have to wait 14 days” after contact for a test to be accurate.

“It’s been a long pandemic so far, it’s been many months, and people are starting to look forward to the holidays, thinking it will be safe for them to celebrate in traditional ways, when in fact this is the worst time because the numbers in the country are really worse, by far, than they’ve ever been.”

Since this newsgroup last reported on the city’s coronavirus situation on Wednesday, Nov. 4, the city has counted 176 new cases but no deaths. Of those, 137 cases were reported this week between Nov. 7 and Nov. 14.

Goh warned that deaths tend to lag behind cases and she believes they will eventually pick up in Pasadena if the case rate continues to increase. 

A total of 3,054 people have been infected in Pasadena since the pandemic began, though many have since recovered, while 129 deaths have occurred. The last was reported on Oct. 9.

Young people appear to be the driving force behind new infections, a trend that’s held since the summer. Out of 176 new cases, 114 involved those under the age of 40.

Parls before Swine cartoon

An additional 49 cases were noted among patients between the ages of 41 and 64 while just 13 cases were counted among those older than 65.

 

Latinx/Latino residents are still among the hardest hit in Pasadena, with 97 out of 176 new cases. White residents had 37 new cases, Black or African Americans had nine cases, as did Asian or Pacific Islanders. Five patients were of another race while health officials are investigating another 19 cases.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations have risen slightly at the Huntington Hospital, now counting 24 patients in its dedicated coronavirus unit, up from 20 patients on Wednesday of last week.

LA County:

A fresh surge of coronavirus cases on Saturday and Sunday has alarmed Los Angeles County officials, who say they may consider imposing a curfew and other health measures in effort to stem the spread of COVID-19. 

New cases topped 3,000 for two consecutive days over the weekend. County public health officials recorded 3,780 new cases of the virus Saturday, the highest one-day total since the peak of the crisis in mid-July. On Sunday, officials reported 3,061 new cases and three deaths.

Amid the increase, the county Department of Public Health is expected to propose a set of recommendations for the Board of Supervisors this week.

L.A. County remains in the strictest purple tier of the state’s four-phase reopening plan, meaning many businesses must remain closed for indoor operations. Still, officials relaxed some rules over the last couple months, including permitting hair salons and barbershops to operate indoors with certain precautions and allowing family entertainment centers to reopen outdoors.

The increase in new cases could jeopardize those gains. A curfew is one of the few alternatives to restricting business operations even more heavily, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said.

The seven-day average of new cases has nearly doubled in recent weeks, with the county reporting about 2,371.9 new cases each day over the last week compared with 1,241.9 cases two weeks before that, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis.

Although hospitalizations haven’t yet reached the level seen during the summer, when there were more than 2,200 confirmed coronavirus patients in county hospitals, the number has shot up from a low of 687 in late September to 1,049 patients as of Saturday, raising concerns the increase could outpace the number of available intensive care beds.

More people are getting tested — 340,636 during the week ending Nov. 8, the highest weekly total since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the county.

But a larger share of those tests are also coming back positive, which officials say indicates that transmission of the virus has increased. The positivity rate had been holding at about 4% since late August but ticked up to roughly 6% this week.

California: And although not yet experiencing a second wave, California on Thursday reached the grim milestone of one million cases, according to The New York Times’s database. Health officials also announced this week that 11 counties moved back into a more restrictive tier of the state’s reopening system. “If things stay the way we are between this week and next week over half of Californian counties will have moved into a more restrictive tier,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s health secretary, in his briefing on Tuesday. 

There are currently no travel restrictions in place for people entering California from another state. A few states require visitors from California to self-quarantine on arrival. If you’re traveling within the state, Bay Area health officials are recommending 14-day quarantines after traveling outside the county, something that Dr. Ghaly advises as well.

With the country’s fall coronavirus surge finally hitting the West Coast just ahead of the holidays, California, Oregon and Washington issued their first advisory against travel Friday while the Bay Area’s largest counties cracked down — again — on indoor restaurant dining.

In a joint statement, the three West Coast governors said residents who travel beyond their state’s borders should quarantine for two weeks upon their return, and out-of-state visitors should quarantine for the same period upon arrival — guidance that would shut down many planned Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.

The announcement comes in a week when COVID-19 is surging nationwide, with Texas and California recording their millionth infections. In California, 11 counties including Contra Costa and Santa Cruz were forced back to more restrictive reopening tiers.

And Bay Area health officials Friday said they will once more close indoor dining at restaurants and other activities that had been allowed again — at reduced capacity — just months earlier. San Francisco has instituted a similar rollback that took effect Friday night.

Friday’s Bay Area health orders in Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties will go into effect Tuesday. Gyms must also close in Contra Costa County, but they can remain open at 10% in Santa Clara County. Bars and entertainment centers must close entirely, while wineries will be permitted to offer outdoor service only. Retail and other essential businesses must limit their capacity to 50%.

Earlier this week, officials in Marin County had “recommended” that restaurants reduce their capacity from 50% to 25%, but that swiftly evolved into a full shutdown of indoor operations.

So far Alameda County, San Mateo and Solano counties haven’t issued any new orders.

The need for new measures, officials said, is clear: Health departments around the state reported 10,520 new cases Thursday, the highest single-day total since Aug. 11. More than 18,000 Californians have died from COVID-19 to date.

The US: From Fair Warning: Thursday, the U.S. recorded more than 160,000 cases for the first time, only eight days after recording 100,000 new cases in one day for the first time, according to The New York Times. Six of the last nine days have set records for new cases. The country also set a record for hospitalizations on Thursday for the third day in a row, with 67,096 receiving treatment.

California has joined Texas in recording its one millionth case. Deaths are still below the daily peak earlier this year, but the country has averaged more than 1,000 a day in mid-November.

Karin Brulliard reports for The Washington Post that small social gatherings at homes are fueling the rise in cases, the result of pandemic fatigue and widening social bubbles. Intimate gatherings at home, whether over a meal or a card game, create the perfect conditions for asymptomatic people to transmit the coronavirus. Widening social gatherings mean that the number of people who are close contacts of those who contract Covid is growing, making the work of contact tracers more challenging, if not impossible.

From the Wall Street Journal: The spread of the coronavirus across the U.S. swiftly accelerated this week, prompting state and local officials to levy new restrictions as the nation reported more than 100,000 new cases each day over the past 10 days.

More than 150,000 new cases of Covid-19 were re- ported Thursday, a record-breaking milestone that is more than triple the number of daily cases reported on average in early October, accord- ing to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. In 48 states and Washington, D.C., the pace of new cases recorded over the past week rose faster than the week prior, signaling increased levels of spread nationwide.

On Nov. 6, the seven-day average of new cases reported in the nation daily sat at 103,398. In less than a week, that average has grown by nearly 30,000, to an average of 131,445 new cases Thursday.

A record 67,096 coronavirus patients were being treated in hospitals Thursday, with 12,796 of those patients in in- tensive-care units, according to the Covid Tracking Project

To combat this, many governors are issuing stricter limits on private gatherings: New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo issued a 10-person limit this week, and similar limits have been placed in Ohio, Utah, Connecticut, Colorado and Rhode Island. Oregon has gone even further, limiting groups to no more than six.

More than 10.5 million cases have been recorded in the U.S., and more than 242,000 people have died.

Across the world: From the Wall Street Journal-A second wave of infections starting in late summer again made Europe the center of the pandemic. Governments responded by gradually tightening restrictions on daily life and their economies in the fall, culminating in recent weeks with the reimposition of less stringent nationwide lockdowns. 

Now, cases appear to have peaked across the region, and in some countries are declining rapidly. Progress is uneven, though, and leaders are wary of letting their guard down too soon. 

“This positive trend is recent, and therefore fragile,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Thursday. “It would be irresponsible to lift or loosen these measures now.” 

Governments are hoping that by significantly reducing cases they can prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed and make it easier to keep on top of the pandemic with tools such as testing and contact tracing. The added hope now is that a vaccine might become available within months. 

Even though the restrictions are less rigorous than earlier this year, it isn’t clear whether widespread compliance will be sustained long enough to drive down infections sufficiently— particularly with holidays approaching. to do them. They are a symptom of failure,” said Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 

Two weeks after locking down, France is seeing signs that the second wave of Covid-19 could soon begin to ebb. Leading indicators such as new infections, as well as hospital and intensive-care-unit admissions for the virus are flat or dropping. Cases have plummeted in Ireland and Belgium and are leveling off in Spain and Germany. Cases are still rising in Italy and the U.K., though at a much slower pace than earlier in the fall. 

The burden of Covid-19 on the region’s health-care systems is still significant. In France, a record 32,683 people were hospitalized with the disease, ac- cording to data from Thurs- day, surpassing the highest level from spring. In the U.K., there were 14,000. But the second wave hasn’t so far matched some of spring’s grim mile- stones. Deaths and intensive- care-unit occupancy remain well below the peaks of spring. 

Public-health experts say countries should ease lock- downs cautiously, ideally only when cases are low and stable, and virus carriers can be swiftly detected by countries’ contact-tracing systems and isolated from others. 

Social gatherings, with holidays approaching, should take place in as small a circle as possible, said Steven Van Gucht, chief virologist at Belgian health institute Sciensano. 

Better testing approaches are needed to pick up more cases and manage outbreaks, said Kingston Mills, professor of experimental immunology at Trinity College Dublin. 

“We can’t continue to lock down our workforce and expect our economies to survive,” he said. 

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COVID-19 Safety Compliance Certificate Program for business owners and employees in Los Angeles County. A program for Los Angeles County businesses currently permitted to operate to voluntarily self-certify that they are fully implementing the required COVID-19 Protocols from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (Public Health). This process will help business owners follow the required Protocols and maintain their operations with as much safety as possible for their staff, customers, and visitors. The COVID-19 Safety Compliance Certificate is not required, but it is recommended. It will demonstrate to the public that your business is complying with required Protocols. Read More

COVID-19 Update for Monday, November 9, 2020

In Pasadena

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Pasadena marked the passage of four full weeks without a single reported COVID-19 death on Friday, according to city data. Fifteen new infections were detected in the city, bringing the overall total to 2,905 cases of the novel coronavirus. The death toll stood at 129, with no fatalities reported in the city since Oct. 8.

Officials documented 20 new COVID-19 infections in Pasadena on Wednesday, signaling that transmission of the virus in the community has been increasing. Of the 20 new cases, several were contracted from family members, while at least one was linked to a holiday party, and another was linked to a workplace outbreak, said city spokesperson Lisa Derderian said. In total, Pasadena has seen 2,878 infections and 129 fatalities, according to city data. The last death attributed to the virus was reported on Oct. 8. Pasadena had seen an average of 10.7 new daily infections over the prior week, according to city data.

Huntington Hospital reported treating 18 COVID-19 patients on Friday.

Pasadena health officials on Wednesday reported the first known case in the city of a “rare but serious” complication affecting young COVID-19 patients known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. A total of 43 cases of MIS-C have been documented countywide since the onset of the pandemic, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. No deaths linked to the condition have been reported. MIS-C is a rare but serious complication associated with COVID-19. It’s a condition where different body parts, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs, become inflamed. All 43 children diagnosed with MIS-C in L.A. County were hospitalized, and nearly half of them were treated in intensive care units, according to county health officials. About 26 percent of them were under 5, while 37 percent were between 5 and 11, and another 37 percent were between the ages of 12 and 20, officials added.

LA County

Officials at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 2,108 new infections and 23 deaths on Friday. This is the third consecutive day of new cases over 1,800 and the first time the number of new cases reached over 2,100 since mid-August, the agency said in a written statement. In all, the county had recorded 317,656 cases of COVID-19 and 7,157 fatalities since the start of the pandemic. Across L.A. County, 821 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday, officials said. Twenty-nine percent of them were being treated in intensive care units. County officials reported 817 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday. It represented the first time daily hospitalizations have topped 800 since mid-September, health officials said.

L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said the increase is believed to be due to people not following social distancing guidelines. As of Wednesday, Los Angeles County represented 33 percent of California’s total COVID-19 cases and 40 percent of the state’s fatalities.

The County of Los Angeles Great Plates Delivered program has been extended  through Tuesday, December 8. Great Plates Delivered offers three (3) free home-delivered meals a day from local restaurants to qualifying older adults and adults over 60 who are at high-risk of COVID-19 as determined by the CDC. This effort aims to assist those in need of home-delivered meals and to help get our local restaurant, hospitality, and transportation industries back to work. To learn more, click here for a quick video about Great Plates Delivered. To watch in Spanish, click here.

Interested in Receiving Meals? To be eligible for this program, individuals: Must meet age requirements;are 65 or older; OR are 60-64 and have been diagnosed with, exposed to or at high risk of COVID-19 as defined by the CDC;are unable to prepare or obtain meals; are not currently receiving assistance from other state or federal nutrition assistance programs such as CalFresh/SNAP;must live alone or with one other program-eligible adult;must earn between $25,520 to $74,940 (single household) or between $34,380 to $101,460 (two-person household) per year; must live in unincorporated LA County or a city that does not offer its own Great Plates Delivered program (Pasadena does).To apply online in English, click here. To apply online in Spanish, click here.Have questions? Meal applicants can e-mail  greatplates@wdacs.lacounty.gov or call 211 for multi-lingual services.

COVID-19 Safety Compliance Certificate Program for business owners and employees in Los Angeles County. A program for Los Angeles County businesses currently permitted to operate to voluntarily self-certify that they are fully implementing the required COVID-19 Protocols from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (Public Health). This process will help business owners follow the required Protocols and maintain their operations with as much safety as possible for their staff, customers, and visitors. The COVID-19 Safety Compliance Certificate is not required, but it is recommended. It will demonstrate to the public that your business is complying with required Protocols. Read More

California: The California Department of Public Health reported 5.338 new infections and 66 new deaths on Wednesday, raising Mutts cartoonthe statewide totals to 940,010 cases of COVID-19 and 17,752 fatalities. The average positivity rate over the prior seven days, as well as the prior 14 days, were both 3.3 percent, according to a CDPH statement.

 

A new laboratory in Valencia is expected to give California the ability to process more COVID-19 tests each day with faster turn-around times. Governor Gavin Newsom cut the ribbon on the new laboratory on October 30, then toured the $25 million facility with Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, and Government Operations Secretary Yolanda Richardson.

Coronavirus infections in the U.S. set a record for the fourth straight day on Saturday, as cities and states introduced new restrictions to combat a new wave of cases. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows contracted coronavirus last week.The resurgence is not confined to any one part of the country: 23 states have recorded more cases in the past week than in any other seven-day stretch. The more than 102,800 new cases reported Wednesday surpassed a record of more than 99,000 set on Oct. 30, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The total number of confirmed cases in the U.S. neared 9.5 million.

Other News:

Pearls before Swine cartoon

From the SBA: Did you take out a Paycheck Protection Program loan? Here are four steps to apply for forgiveness.

  1. Contact your lender and complete the form
  2. Compile documentation 
  3. Submit the forgiveness form and documentation to your lender
  4. Communicate with your lender throughout the process
  5. Learn more

 

Stocks surged this week as investors around the country angled to position for the outcome of the 2020 elections, a blockbuster stretch that led major indexes to their best week since April. The results of the races have been rippling through financial markets, igniting a stock rally, driving bets in derivatives while stoking moves across the bond market, from corporate debt to Treasurys and munici- pals. Even bitcoin prices have rallied to heights not seen in more than two years.

OSHA has recently revised its reporting obligations for employers for COVID-19 cases. The revised rule represents a significant change and an improvement over the prior rule. Key changes have been made for employers to the Hospitalization Reporting Rule, Fatality Reporting Rule and Detailed Recording Obligations. With the current reporting requirements already so confusing and difficult to follow, employers need to be more cautious and stay in-tune with these changes on how to investigate and record COVID-19 cases amongst your workforce. Employers also have to be made aware of the latest information regarding completion of OSHA logs and the electronic posting of injury information to OSHA’s electronic record keeping website for 2021. You should also be aware of the latest OSHA regulatory changes in effect to stay complaint and away from red flags. With so much confusion around these practices, failure to comply has resulted in employers taking financial losses as penalties and fines. Participants will also receive an update regarding OSHA, its priorities, and its regulatory agenda updates for 2021.

The Wall Street Journal reports: The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in the U.S. topped 48,000 on Monday, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project, continuing a monthslong increase and hitting the highest point since mid-August. The increase comes as as new confirmed infections are rising across the nation, and public health officials and epidemiologists worry that the coming holiday season will accelerate the surge.

Security camera manufacturers are asking government regulators for tighter oversight of temperature-detecting cameras, saying that a flood of new products prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic endangers public safety by providing inaccurate fever screenings. Since the spring, hundreds of merchants have begun selling telethermographic systems—a category that includes dozens of devices such as cameras and kiosks that use infrared scanning and  thermal imaging to detect body heat from a distance. School administrators, managers of government office buildings and corporations have been purchasing the technology and installing it at entrances of buildings in the hope that it will screen out people with fevers, a key symptom of the virus. But many of these devices aren’t capable of providing accurate body temperature readings that would indicate fever, manufacturers and experts in infrared technology say. Instead, many of them are used to accurately detect security risks such as unauthorized people entering a building, or even the presence  of a concealed weapon. Others are used to take the temperature of industrial machines. But few are accurate enough to detect fevers in humans.

Supermarkets are accelerating the shift to e-commerce, devoting more of their floor space to fulfill digital orders in response to customers’ growing reliance on online shopping. In addition, many are reassessing inventory and expanding sections that have drawn more purchases in recent months, including frozen food and meat.

The Labor Department reported Friday that employers added 638,000 jobs in October, a figure that would have been larger without a drop in temporary census workers.

A look at the industries that are adding jobs suggests this recovery is relatively broad-based. In particular, some of the sectors that would be expected to keep bleeding jobs if we were settling in for a protracted recession are rebounding. Construction employment rose by 84,000 in October, retail rose by 104,000, and transportation and warehousing was up by 63,000. Temporary help services employment rose by 109,000, a sign that employers need more labor even if they aren’t willing to make permanent hires yet.

But the engines behind much of the gain — bars and restaurants, which added 192,000 jobs, and retailing, which picked up 104,000 — represent some of the jobs most at risk from a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

While the unemployment rate continues to drop, falling from 7.9 to 6.9 percent in September, job gains are slowing and the number of long-term unemployed people continues to grow, according to The New York Times. The country has seen 11 million jobs return but is still 11 million down from before the pandemic. Meanwhile, the number of people who have been without work for 27 weeks or more grew to 3.6 million in October, an increase of 1.2 million. Many of the job gains have been in retail and service sectors, but rising Covid cases could threaten those jobs again as temperatures around the country go down and people spend more time indoors.

The labor-market recovery from the coronavirus pandemic has been uneven across demo- graphic groups, as Hispanic men benefit from gains in industries such as construction while women—especially from racial minority groups—lag behind, Labor Department data show.

Pandemic-driven shutdowns and slowdowns were especially severe in the restaurant, hos- pitality and parts of the retail sector, which disproportion- ately cost Black and Hispanic women their jobs. Meanwhile, white men, who are more federal relief measures and the onset of winter—which could force patrons indoors—are likely to weigh on the labor-market recovery, economists said.

“In normal times getting 600,000 jobs on a monthly basis would be great,” said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics. “But in this environment, you’re still looking at a recovery that’s go- ing to take a couple of years to get us back out of this hole. If job growth moderates further, then we’re talking about three or four years, and that’s a very long time.” Mr. Daco noted that temporary workers accounted for 1 in 6 new jobs last month, a sign employers remain cautious about the outlook.

In October, 3.7 million people said they were unemployed due to a permanent job loss, the Labor Department said. That exceeded the number who said they were on a temporary layoff, at 3.2 million, for the first time since February. That suggests that while millions of people have been recalled to jobs they lost this spring, most of those still unemployed will need to find new work, a challenging prospect at a time when the economy appears to be downshifting into a slower phase of the recovery.

The report came as the nation awaited results of Tuesday’s elections, which will determine federal economic policies in the coming years, including on taxes, spending, regulation, health care and labor issues.

The economy overall has rebounded quickly from the recession. Gross domestic output grew a record 7.4% in the third quarter—or at a 33.1% annual rate—the Commerce Department reported.

The unemployment rate in Pasadena remains at about 15%.

For at least a year, California has barred insurance companies from dropping homeowners in parts of the state affected by wildfires, a move affecting some 2.1 million households, Joseph Serna reports for the Los Angeles Times. It’s a sign of the enormous financial strain wildfires exacerbated by climate change are putting on families, local communities and their economies, and on the insurance industry. Some residents in fire-prone areas have seen premiums jump by hundreds of percent a year, while others forego insurance entirely because of the steep rates.

Previous information (may still be relevant):

Join us on the second Wednesday of the month at 11:30am for our socially distanced Luncheon Alliance. Join us on the Third Wednesday of the month at 8am for our socially distanced Connection Breakfast. Click here for info.

 

On Sunday, Pasadena reported an additional 6 cases of VOCID-19 and no new fatalities. So far, there have been 122 deaths and 2,564 cases. Currently Huntington Hospital is treating 21 local residents, according to PasadenaNOW.

LA County reported 815 new cases of coronavirus and 10 deaths. To date, county Public Health officials have identified 267,801 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County, and a total of 6,514 deaths. 

As the world moves toward another morbid threshold in the pandemic, a coronavirus death toll of one million, the countries where fatalities are increasing fastest remain spread out across the globe, with new hot spots constantly emerging.

The number of lives lost daily to the virus has been rising through most of August and September, reaching more than 5,000 in an average measured over seven days. As of Sunday morning, the global total stood at 993,600, according to a New York Times database.

On Saturday, India, the world’s second-most populous nation, continued to lead in daily virus-related deaths, with about 7,700 over the most recent seven-day period. The United States is second, with more than 5,000, Brazil third with more than 4,800, and Mexico fourth with nearly 3,000. Those four countries account for more than half of the world’s total deaths from the virus, according to the Times database.

On Tuesday, the American fatalities due to COVID-19 reached 200,000 dead  (though in truth, it likely happened earlier).

Americans are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the US economic rebound, with almost 90 per cent saying Washington needs to pass a new stimulus package to mitigate the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi had agreed to resume talks on another economic relief package. But similar negotiations have had multiple false starts in Congress, and lawmakers are pessimistic that this round will fare better. One thing most people can agree on, though, is that more stimulus is needed.

New unemployment claims rose again last week, a sign that layoffs are continuing at a high rate even six months into the pandemic. The latest jobs data, coupled with recent market volatility and grim outlooks from the Federal Reserve and analysts at Goldman Sachs, suggest that the summer’s economic rebound is losing steam.

The growing concern about the economy, detailed in a new poll of likely voters for the Financial Times, comes even as Americans increasingly believe the country has turned the corner after the spike of infections this summer, which forced several states to slam the brakes on reopening plans.

Americans have lost $145 million to fraudulent claims related to the pandemic, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

 

Pearls before Swine cartoon

From the LA TIMES

 

Coronavirus cases in California have topped 800,000, according to The Times’ tracker, another milestone in a state that is leading the nation in infections.

The sobering figure comes as California has seen declines in both new cases and deaths over the last month after a summer spike that alarmed officials and prompted the reversal of some business reopenings.

Still, America’s most populous state ranks much lower after adjusting for population. Home to 12% of the country’s population, thus far California has accounted for roughly 11% of the country’s coronavirus cases, according to The Times’ tracker.

California topped 15,000 COVID-19 deaths earlier this week, a death toll comparable with that of Texas, which was reporting 15,267 fatalities as of Wednesday. But that number remains far below that of New York, which has recorded more than 33,000 deaths. New Jersey has reported more than 16,000 coronavirus-related deaths. Florida on Friday surpassed 14,000 deaths, reaching 14,083.

Earlier this week, the state announced that nail salons across California could reopen. Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Health and Human Services Department director, said Tuesday that state officials have worked with business sector leaders and county officials to ensure that nail salons can operate indoors in low-risk environments. In some parts of the state, salons have been operating outdoors.

Los Angeles County, for example, has refrained from allowing operations to resume at indoor malls, despite having the state’s permission to do so. County health officials have said that such changes will not come until late September, at the earliest, after data that would show whether there has been a Labor Day infection surge and the effects of the state’s new reopenings are assessed.

Following the Grand Jury decision not to indict any of those responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, we can expect protests in Pasadena and the LA area. Prtests in Pasadena have been peaceful, with the exception of the pick-up truck driver who apparently intentionally drive into protesters weeks ago (and was subsequently arrested).

From the Pasadena Star-News: 

Fire crews continued to make significant gains in the battle against the persistent Bobcat fire, with fire officials saying the blaze was 50% contained by early Thursday.

The second-largest fire in Los Angeles County history has ravaged 113,986 acres since Sept. 6.

Firefighters have continued to make progress on securing a line around the blaze, which has moved through the Angeles National Forest and prompted several evacuation orders and warnings.

Containment is the percentage of the perimeter that fire officials believe the blaze won’t grow beyond.

HERE IS A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF GRANTS AND LOANS FROM LA COUNTY SUPERVISOR KATHRYN BARGER:

Disaster Help Center TEL (833) 238-4450 Email DisasterHelpCenter@lacounty.gov 

Funding Resources for Businesses 

Grants funded by Los Angeles County: 

 

Grant provided by the County of Los Angeles in partnership with institutional and corporate philanthropy to support Micro-entrepreneurs, small business, and Non-profits across Los Angeles County. 

  • • Pandemic Compliant Fund-WDACS (1-100 employees): Awards up to $5,000 per business to help businesses offset costs related to compliance with local health orders and recommended safety measures. 
  • • General EAG Funds-WDACS (1-100 employees): Awards up to $25,000 to businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 for a variety of eligible uses. Prioritization will be given to businesses based on CalEnviroscreen 3.0 scoring and to those businesses that have not received local CARES Act grants. 
  • • Social Impact Funds-WDACS: Awards up to $50,000 to support LA County Social Enterprises, Social Community Business Enterprise (CBEs) and B Corporations. Prioritization will be given to Social Enterprises. Others will be prioritized by CalEnviroscreen 3.0 scoring and those that have not received local CARES Act grants. 
  • • LADCA COVID-19 Childcare Provider Grant: www.childcaregrant.lacda.org 

 

The Los Angeles County COVID-19 CARES Act Childcare Grant Program provides grants up to $10,000 or $40,000 to eligible childcare operators in Los Angeles County who have been impacted by COVID-19. 

Grants for all types of business: 

 

Specific Grants by Industry: 

Entertainment Sector (Actors, Actress, Musicians, Etc.) 

 

With a focus on support and education, the Entertainment Assistance program services include: One-on-one counseling and resources and emergency financial assistance for basic living expenses such as rent or medical expenses. 

 

To assist American authors who have published at least one full length work. 

Hair Salons/Nail Professionals 

  • • Professional Beauty Association: https://www.probeauty.org/covid-relief-fund-application/covid-19-application 

 

This fund will assist license beauty professional who are unable to work due to COVID19. 

 

Provides financial assistance to stylists and salon workers in the Virtue community. 

Loans for all types of businesses: 

 

Provides interest free loans up to $10,000. 

 

The EIDL program is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to coronavirus (COVID-19) 

EDD (Employment Development Department) 

 

Designed to assist unemployed Californians that are not usually eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance. This includes business owners, self-employed workers, independent contractors, and those with a limited work history who are out of business or have significantly reduced their services as a direct result of the pandemic.

OTHER HELPFUL LINKS:

The Pasadena Department of Public Health has posted health orders, links to COVID-19 related permitting, reopening protocols and more. You can find that information here: https://www.cityofpasadena.net/covid-19/#info-for-businesses

COVID-19 Update for September 21, 2020- protocols, loans and grants for childcare providers and more

 

Here is the latest information available on COVID-19 and local wildfires:

Bobcat Fire and More

The Bobcat Fire grew Friday after intense winds fanned the massive blaze, pushing the acreage burned to 91,000. The fire burned out of control in several directions, destroying many homes. Right now it appears to have spared Mt. Wilson and the facilities there as it moves northeast into the Antelope Valley where structures have burned and residents in some communities havebeen ordered to evacuate. Estimates are the fire won't be 100% contained until late October. 

Additionally, at 11:28 on Friday night a 4.5 magnitude eqrthquake centered under South El Monte reminded us all that we need to be wary and prepared for a variety of natural disasters.

Statistics and Numbers

Pasadena recorded 10 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, September 18th. There have now been 2,499 lab-confirmed cases with 121 fatalities. No new deaths were reported on Friday. 

As of Friday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 22 new deaths and 1,281 new cases of confirmed COVID-19. To date, Public Health has identified 258,516 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 6,330 deaths. A significant number of deaths have occurred in people without a reported underlying health condition. Out of the total deaths reported by LA County Public Health, nearly 480 deaths have occurred among people without known underlying health conditions. Ninety-two percent of the people who died from COVID-19 had underlying health conditions. This number has stayed consistent throughout the pandemic. There are 739 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in LA County and 31% of these people are in the ICU. This number has continued to trend lower since mid-August. Of the 22 new deaths reported today, eight people that passed away were over the age of 80 years old, five people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, eight people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 years old, and one person who died was between the ages of 30 and 49 years old. Nineteen people who died had underlying health conditions including seven people over the age of 80, four people between the ages of 65 and 79 years old, and eight people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old.

The County of Los Angeles (along with the Pasadena Public Health Department and the Long Beach Department of Health) launched the COVID-19 Safety Compliance Certificate Program (CSCCP) to help educate and train business owners to comprehensively implement the LA County Department of Public Health COVID-19 safety directives. The CSCCP is a no-cost online training course that educates business owners on the essentials of the County Health Officer’s Orders and what they need to do to ensure that their business practices are aligned and in compliance with infection control and physical distancing requirements. After completing the training, businesses will receive a COVID-19 Safety Compliance Certificate that can be posted on storefronts. The training is available in 13 languages and can be accessed online through the Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 websiteThis voluntary program offers business, employees and consumers alike the added reassurance that essential training has been completed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This training is highly recommended for both business owners and employees. Consumers are urged to look for a posted Safety Compliance Certificate at any businesses they visit. Businesses that do not participate are required to display Public Health COVID-19 Protocols in their storefronts.

The Pasadena Public Health Department, LA County Health Department and Long Beach Department of Health are colloborating to offer SafePass. With SafePass you can track your symptoms, find testing sites, and enable Bluetooth contact tracing to get alerted when you’re exposed to COVID-19. And easily share your health status with friends for peace of mind when you spend time together. Get your safepass in the Apple Store or Google Play.

Here are the most important things that you can do to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  1. Stay home as much as possible
  2. Don't gather with people that you don't live with
  3. Wear a cloth face covering when you’re out in public
  4. Stay at least six feet apart from people you don’t live with
  5. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, and don’t touch your face
  6. Stay home if you're sick

 

In late August, the State of California issued a revised blueprint for the safe reopening of the economy. The statewide blueprint is a color-coded, tier-based system. The state has placed Los Angeles County, including Pasadena, into Tier 1 (purple). 

In Pasadena and LA County personal care services (esthetician, skin care and cosmetology services; electrology; nail salons; body art professionals, tattoo parlors, microblading and permanent make-up; piercing shops; and massage therapy) are not allowed to be provided services indoors at this time, as directed by State Health Officer orders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

State of California COVID Blueprint for Safe Reopening- Pasadena/LA County remain in Purple Tier 1. In late August, the State of California issued a revised blueprint for the safe reopening of the economy. The statewide blueprint is a color-coded, tier-based system. The state has placed Los Angeles County, including Pasadena, into Tier 1 (purple). The color-coded chart with allowable activities can be accessed on the State of California's COVID Website, or by clicking here.

Here are the tables explaing the color coding and resultant protocols and orders:

 

State Color Coded Table for Reopening

 

State Color Coded Table for Reopening #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Color Coded Table for Reopening %3

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Color Coded Table for Reopening #4

 

State Color Coded Table for Reopening #5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From our friends at the California Restaurant Association: With news that Orange County could once again reopen for limited indoor dining, a primary question has been floating around LA proper: When is that happening here in LA County? Currently, Los Angeles County — home to a quarter of the state’s population and the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases — sits in the state’s highest reopening tier, part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s color-coded scheme to use trackable data as a way to slowly modify certain public health orders. But that could be changing, and soon.

As it stands now, Los Angeles County as well as nearby Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Kern counties, sit in the purple tier, the highest rating for counties at risk of community spread of the coronavirus. The two metrics used to determine those tiers are adjusted case rates (based on the number of new cases per day per 100,000 people) and the positivity rate, which tracks the number of confirmed new cases based on testing. Here are the benchmarks for each colored tier:

 

So where does Los Angeles fall in terms of the data? Right now the county adjusted case rate is 9.6, above the less-than-seven dividing line needed to move to the next lower red tier, though that number has been falling in recent weeks. Meanwhile, the county testing positivity rate is a scant 4.3 percent, well down from the double-digit numbers seen earlier this summer, and well under the mandated eight percent threshold needed to move to a lower tier.

That’s all to say: LA isn’t reopening its indoor dining just yet, but that could change before the end of this month. Right now new tier assignments are being meted out every Tuesday by California Health and Human Services secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, so there are three more announcements to be made between now and October.

If LA’s cases continue to fall and the positivity rate stays as low as it has been, then LA County restaurants from Pasadena to Long Beach should be prepared to potentially reopen for indoor dining at 25 percent of total capacity (based on occupancy), or 100 total seats, whichever is fewer. There is one big caveat, though: Just because the state allows for reopening based on its tiered system, that doesn’t mean that local public health officials will approve the plan. For example: Up in San Francisco, local public health officials there have not allowed for the resumption of indoor dining despite that county meeting the needed state criteria; the state says that it will continue to defer to local public health orders that are tougher than its own.

This is all to say: LA County is likely close to being able to reopen indoor dining at 25 percent capacity, but the data shown by county officials over the next few weeks will tell the full story. Unfortunately, government officials have not been great about giving advanced notice to businesses like restaurants (or hair and nail salons, gyms, or anyone else) to help them ease back into reopening safely. That means when the announcement comes in some upcoming public press conference, indoor dining could be allowed immediately, just like in late May. So just be ready, at least as ready as is possible given these tumultuous times.

INFORMATION:

Get alerted about emergencies and other important community news affecting Pasadena by signing up for the Pasadena Local Emergency Alert System (PLEAS). This system enables us to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as disasters, public safety critical incidents, and evacuations. You will receive time-sensitive messages to the devices that you specify, such as your home, mobile or business phones, email address, text messages and more. You pick where, you pick how, and it's only critical information that you want and need to know.

The City of Pasadena's Public Health Department has an interactive dashboard with a number of details and stats related to COVID-19 in our community.  Pasadena's dashboard includes the number of lab-confirmed cases by race, age and gender; information on long-term care facilities; and a map of lab-confirmed cases by zip code. To view the dashboard and see Pasadena's curve, click here

Friendly Reminders About Health Protocols. The general public is mindful of public health protocols and oftentimes takes to social media when businesses don't follow Health Officer guidelines. To avoid being targeted by social media users, please follow industry protocols and guidance. The City is working with our business and community partners to ensure that protocols are followed. Potential violations are oftentimes reported to the City's Citizen Service Center.  Once a complaint is received, City Staff will begin by contacting a business to educate them on Health Officer-issued protocols. Repeat violations will be subject to progressive enforcement policies. For more information about industry specific guidance documents, FAQ's and protocols, click here.

No Fee Park Permits for Fitness Studios in Pasadena: On Monday, September 14th, City Council approved a modified General Fee Schedule which allows for private fitness studios based in Pasadena to pull a no-fee park permit to conduct classes in city parks. Fitness studios will need to comply with insurance requirements, pay a refundable security deposit, and possess a current Pasadena business license. To obtain a Park Permit for your Fitness Studio, contact City Staff: Leonardo Chavez lchavez@cityofpasadena.net or Dewayne Owney downey@cityofpasadena.net.

GRANTS AND LOANS AVAILABLE:

LA County's new $5 million Childcare Provider Grant Program opened for eligible licensed childcare operators in LA County who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This new program is funded by Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds.

Childcare operators in LA County (with the exception of those operating in the City of Los Angeles, as the City received its own allocation of CARES Act funds & has its own programs for City childcare operators) may visit childcaregrant.lacda.org for:

  • Eligibility requirements;
  • A video tutorial on how to complete the online application;
  • And the Application Portal

 

The application period opened today - and will remain open through Friday, September 25, 2020 at 12 p.m. Applications will be ranked via a lottery and applicants will be selected in the order ranked per lottery process.

Regional COVID-19 Grant Fund - Upcoming Deadlines: The LA Regional COVID-19 Grant Fund will open a round of applications for non-profits on Monday, September 21st followed by Round 5 for small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs on October 5th. The regional fund will offer grants, not loans, to micro-entrepreneurs, small businesses, medium-sized businesses, and non-profits. For more information about the COVID-19 Regional Grant Program and to apply, click here

Do you know a nonprofit providing social safety net services serving low-to-moderate income communities? If so, please share this information with them. Approximately 100 grants of $75,000 will be awarded. Learn more by attending one of three info sessions to go over how to apply for funding. Tuesday, September 22ndApplications open on September 21st and close on September 25th.

Other grants and loans:

1. Small Business Relief, GoFundMe

GoFundMe is offering matching grants from donors of up to $500 to help small businesses that have created a fundraiser through the Small Business Relief Initiative or had an existing GoFundMe fundraiser. Small businesses are required to raise at least $500 via their fundraiser to qualify for matching funds, which will be available until the entire Small Business Relief Fund is depleted.

Deadline: Rolling

2. Black Founder Startup Grant, SoGal

SoGal Foundation teamed up with Winky Lux, bluemercury, twelveNYC, Lively and other sponsors to provide several $5,000 and $10,000 cash grants to Black women or nonbinary entrepreneurs feeling the impact of COVID-19.

Deadline: Rolling

3. Grants for Small Business, National Association for the Self-Employed

NASE members can apply for monthly small-business grants worth up to $4,000, as well as an annual $3,000 college scholarship for members’ dependents.

Deadline: Rolling

4. Amber Grant, WomensNet

WomensNet distributes $1,000 monthly grants to women with small businesses, for a total of at least $10,000 every month. They’ve also expanded their grant-giving to include a year-end grant of $25,000.

Deadline: Rolling

5. Business for All Grant, Hello Alice

This Hello Alice program offers exclusive mentorship opportunities and grants of up to $50,000 to support long-term business growth. Mentors include Gwyneth Paltrow, Kristen Bell, Lisa Price, Armando Christina “Pitbull” Perez, Jeff Hoffman and more, to empower every American with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Deadline: September 25, 2020, winners announced later this fall.

6. The Red Backpack Fund, GlobalGiving

Spanx and The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation teamed up with GlobalGiving to establish The Red Backpack Fund, making at least 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to help alleviate the impact of COVID-19.

Deadline: Rolling

7. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs

The SBIR and the STTR grant programs focus on research and development for technology innovation and scientific research. The programs help connect small businesses with federal grants and contracts from 12 government agencies. Check out Hello Alice’s Guide to SBIR/STTR grants here, and read about how small businesses like yours can benefit from this lucrative source of government fundings in this blog.

Deadline: Rolling

8. Get Venture Ready, Fearless Fund

In an effort to support WOC entrepreneurs from all ends of the spectrum, Fearless Fund designed a 12-Month Get Venture Ready educational program with monthly masterclass teachers. At the end of the program you will have the chance to pitch for a $5,000 business grant.

Deadline: December 31, 2020

9. Business and Industry Loans, USDA Rural Development

The USDA is making available up to $1 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses  — those in a city or town with a population of fewer than 50,000 — meet their working capital needs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Deadline: Rolling

10. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) grants

Operated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the MBDA helps minority-owned businesses access the resources they need to grow, with regular grant competitions. Visit their site for information on various current opportunities.

Deadline: Rolling

11. Operation HOPE Small Business Development Program

This program is designed to help entrepreneurs in low-income communities start businesses despite poor credit, lack of capital, or limited access to financial services. The program also includes 12 weeks of adult education programming designed to provide entrepreneurs with the skills, tools, and knowledge to succeed.

Deadline: Rolling

MORE INFORMATION AVAILABLE HERE:

PREVIOUS POSTS (most are still relevant):

We are all suffering the effects of the Bobcat Fire in the San Gabriel Foothills. Unhealthful smoke covers most of LA County into the Inland Empire. Air quality warnings remained in effect through Sunday, September 13th and could be extended if the fire continues progressing.  

 

 

 

The Bobcat Fire continues to burn above Monrovia. As of Saturday, more than 30.000 acres had burned. Local firefighters had managed to protect Trask Boy Scout Camp, The fire had burned the area around Monrovia Falls. As of Saturday, the fire was 6% contained and moving toward the northeast, however by Sunday morning it had begun a slow move west into Santa Anita Canyon.

In Northern California, Oregon and Washington 19 people have been confirmed killed by wildfires. Many more are missing.

COVID-19 UPDATE:

Pasadena reported one new death this past week, though the decedent passed away prior to September. There have been no new deaths in Pasadena for the past three weeks. 

Two new COVID-19 infections and no deaths were reported in Pasadena Thursday as local, county and state health officials were poised for a possible virus surge in the weeks following Labor Day weekend.

Pasadena’s total tallies since the start of the pandemic amounted to 2,455 cases of the novel coronavirus and 117 deaths, according to city data.

Public health agencies at all three levels reported relatively low rates of new infections over the long-holiday weekend, but cautioned that the figures were likely influence by fewer people getting tested, and fewer testing centers open. The nearly-24,000-acre Bobcat Fire burning in the forest north of the foothills may also have been suppressing testing.

The city’s overall positivity rate had dropped to 9..2%, compared with the county’s total rate of 10%.

Huntington Hospital saw 24 COVID-19 patients on Thursday, according to hospital data. A single test was pending.

Los Angeles County health officials reported 1,239 new infections and 42 additional fatalities. The county had recorded a total of 251,024 COVID-19 cases and 6,128 deaths in total

County officials said 940 patients were being treated at hospitals, with 33% of them in intensive care units.

The State of California reported 3,338 new infections were detected Thursday and 137 new deaths were reported, according to the California Department of Public Health. The state had recorded a total of 742,865 COVID-19 cases and 13,978 fatalities altogether.

The state’s average positivity rate over the past seven days stood at 3.5%, and the 14-day rate was 4%, according to a CDPH statement.

This from the Wall Street Journal (this time):

The U.S. is catching its breath after a punishing six months of the coronavirus pandemic, with the daily death toll from Covid-19 declining in the wake of summertime outbreaks in Sunbelt states like Florida and Texas.

Still, public health authorities and researchers are warning Americans not to let their guard down. The confluence of students mixing once again in classrooms, colder weather in places like the Northeast and fatigue from long-running pandemic isolation threatens to trigger more cases while driving the deaths back up, experts say.

Labor Day weekend brought with it end-of-summer gatherings, families embarking on modified summer travel and more fitness facilities and restaurants welcoming customers.

“As activity comes back and people are less cautious, and as seasonality rolls in, we’ll see it ticking up again,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which forecasts the U.S. Covid-19 death toll could more than double by Jan. 1 to around 410,000 from the current toll of about 190,000. The return of cold weather is a big factor.

Meantime, the recent peak in deaths was far below the highs seen in April, when the U.S. seven-day average briefly eclipsed 2,200 daily deaths and outbreaks hit hard in populous, cold-weather locations like New York City, parts of New Jersey and New England.

While known case counts in April were far lower then than they are even now, testing was also much more limited, and typically reserved for the sickest patients.

Since then, it is difficult to identify how much the virus and its capacity to harm those who are infected has changed, public health experts and epidemiologists say. Testing capacity in the U.S. has steadily expanded beyond the sickest patients, creating a fuller, but still incomplete, picture of the virus’s reach.

REOPENING AND GATHERING PROTOCOLS:

The Governor's color-coded reopening tiers provides some measure of predicability, though there are many elements of the plan we would like to see adjusted. The Pasadena Chamber continues to push for practical and reasonable protocols and timetables for reopening safely as part of the California Coalition for Safe Reopening

If you are located in LA County and your sector has been allowed to reopen, chances are you've had a question or two about the process. Whether you're responsible for reopening a business or an office, LA County wants to help guide you through the reopening process. That is why the Department of Public Health (DPH) has created Reopening Toolkits to better guide you, and support safety for employees and customers, while on the path to recoveryCurrently, toolkits are available for the following sectors: Hair Salons & Barbershops; Gyms & Fitness Establishments; Hotels, Lodging and Short-Term Rentals; Music, Television and Production; Office Worksites; Personal Care; Restaurants nd Warehousing, Manufacturing and Logistic Establishments. LA County Reopening Toolkits can be found here. For more on LA County's Road to Recovery, or things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit DPH at publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus.  

Protocols for Pasadena generally follow LA County. You can find Pasadena COVID-19 materials by clicking here.  

LA County Launches COVID-19 Safety Compliance Certification Program

LA County launched the COVID-19 Safety Compliance Certificate Program(CSCCP) to further help educate and train business owners on the implementation of LA County's COVID-19 safety protocols. CSCCP is a no-cost online training course that educates business owners on the essentials of the County Health Officer’s Orders -  including what they need to do to ensure business practices are aligned (and in compliance) with infection control and physical distancing requirements. After completing the training, businesses will receive a COVID-19 Safety Compliance Certificate that can be posted on storefronts. The window seal informs customers that your business has been trained in COVID-19 protocols, thereby offering businesses, employees, and consumers alike the added reassurance that essential training has been completed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  CSCCP training can be accessed online through DPH's COVID-19 website at publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh/covid19cert.htm and will be available in 13 languages. Read these announcement for more on the COVID-19 Safety Compliance Certification Program. For the latest information on LA County's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit covid19.lacounty.gov or follow us @CountyofLA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Mobile App 'SafePass' is Now Available to County Residents

LA County and local city leaders recently announced a partnership with SafePass, a mobile app that provides contact tracing capabilities for individuals throughout LA County. SafePass will allow LA County users to self-report their symptoms for COVID-19 and receive notifications and alerts directly from the LA County Department of Public Health.

All contact tracing data is: anonymous, private, encrypted, and deleted after 30 days by Citizen. Additionally, SafePass:

  • Tracks any close contacts with other users & alerts them to potential exposures.Any users who have meaningful contact with another user (who later tests positive for COVID-19) will receive a notification to get tested.
  • Offers immediate access to eligible users for a free at-home testing kit for those who have been notified of exposure through the app; and
  • Provides up-to-date information about all active testing sites in LA County (terms & conditions apply, see citizen.com/tracing/tests).
  •  

The Citizen SafePass mobile app complements existing local COVID-19 response efforts in LA County by introducing this innovative tool that ramps up the critical contact tracing process. LA County residents are encouraged to download SafePass to expand local efforts to track COVID-19 for L.A. County’s 10 million residents. To learn more about SafePass, visit citizen.com/safepass.

LA County first prohibited Halloween Trick or Treating, but later rescinded the ban in favor of warnings about social distancing, health and safety precautions and unnecessary contact with people outside immediate household members.

GRANTS and LOANS:

Many businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis will now be eligible to receive critical financial assistance! As a joint effort by the County of Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles, and philanthropic partners, $100 million has been raised for the Los Angeles Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund.

The Recovery Fund, which has already awarded $3.2 million in grants to more than 300 Los Angeles County microentrepreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofits, has now been reinforced with an additional $60 million in CARES Act funding from the County of Los Angeles along with an additional $40 million from City of Los Angeles. Los Angeles County businesses will be given grants in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.

Businesses will only need to apply once to be eligible for future rounds. Apply for the next round of Recovery Fund awards starting today by clicking HERE! (Look for new dates for the next round of applications)

The SBA Disaster Loan deadline is September 16, 2020! Don’t miss it! If your business was damaged during the recent civil unrest in Los Angeles County, you may be eligible for a disaster loan. The deadline to apply is September 16, 2020! Businesses of all sizes are eligible to borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent, or minimize similar disaster damage from occurring in the future. For more information, click HERE. Find other SBA resources, including FREE business mentoring, by clicking HERE.

 OTHER RELATED EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES:

2020 SGV Economic Forecast Update is September 15, 2020, from 9:00 am - 11:00 am (Casual Mix-n-Mingle begins at Economic Outlook online event announcement8:40 am.) 2020 has been unpredictable - or has it? The Partnership and Cal Poly Pomona are convening a pair of experts to discuss the future of the economy and possible outcomes for the 2020 Election. Keynote speaker: Dr. Henry Olsen, the Washington Post; Featured economist: Dr. Robert Kleinhenz, Cal Poly Pomona; MC: Dr. Laura Pohopien, Cal Poly Pomona Register Now

The LA Law Library is offering FREE business courses to learn everything you need to know about building your business. Leading attorneys and financial professionals will present a multi-part series giving entrepreneurs and business owners the practical and comprehensive training needed to set up a business for long-term growth and success during challenging times.

Continuing on September 15, 2020 from 12pm to 2pm and following weekly through November 24, topics will include: Starting and Growing Your Business; Business Model Workshops ; How to Form a Corporation or LLC; Business Contracts or more details and to register for upcoming classes, click HERE!

The Los Angeles County Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is offering FREE one-on-one assistance and training to help businesses in LA County that are interested in local, state, and federal government contracting. PTAC counselors can help your business on matters such as: Becoming a registered vendor; Getting certified; Finding opportunities; and Marketing to the government. Connect with a small business counselor by emailing OSB@dcba.lacounty.gov to set-up your free one-on-one counseling session. Learn more about how PTAC can help your small business HERE.

Find the support you need during the COVID-19 pandemic at the L.A. County Disaster Help Center, a collaboration of DCBA, the Department of Workforce, Development, Aging, and Community Services (WDACS), and other County and State agencies. Counselors at the Center are available Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to help business owners navigate emergency loan applications and help individuals that were laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact the Disaster Help Center: Call (833) 238-4450; Visit LACountyHelpCenter.org Email DisasterHelpCenter@lacounty.gov

Stay updated with the latest news and information regarding COVID-19 in LA County at the Department of Public Health website and on their social media feeds: Twitter @lapublichealth https://twitter.com/lapublichealth; Facebook @lapublichealth https://www.facebook.com/lapublichealth; Instagram @lapublichealth https://www.instagram.com/lapublichealth/

PREVIOUS POSTS (much of the information is stil relevant):

Today is Labor Day-the day we celebrate those who keep our communities and our country working. Trash collectors, plumbers, cab drivers, transit workers, plumbers, carpenters, ironworkers, electricians and many more labored to build our communities and work to keep them going. Thanks to al of you and hte many more who work to keep the greater Pasadena area, and our entire country, running.  Healthcare workerscontinue to fight COVID-19 in the effort to keep us all safe and healthy. This Labor Day let's all remember those doctors, nurses, emergency room workers, technicians, food service and cleaning staff who are struggling daily as they work to save lives. 

Pasadena health officials on Thursday reported the first COVID-19 fatality in nearly a month as nine new infections were detected. The latest casualty died earlier this week, said city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian. She was a woman over 80 years old. The city’s last fatality was reported on Aug. 5.

Pasadena has seen a total of 2,411 novel coronavirus infections and 117 fatalities, according to city data. The city’s overall positivity rate was 9.3 percent. The average number of daily new infections detected over the previous seven days stood at 11.4.

Pasadena’s health officer issued a revised Safer at Home Order allowing the reopening of hair salons and barbershops indoors at a maximum of 25% capacity. Hair salons and barbershops still are encouraged to provide outdoor services as much as possible because current scientific evidence appears to indicate a general lower risk of COVID-19 transmission outdoors compared with indoors. Those salons operating outdoors should continue to do so, and use the up to 25% indoor capacity to supplement those services with services that cannot be offered outdoors, city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.

The reopening of these operations coincides with the launching of a State of California framework titled Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a new four-tiered structure for tracking how communities are faring with COVID-19 in each of the state’s 61 local health jurisdictions and providing criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities.

Under the new framework, each county has been grouped into one of four colored tiers — purple (widespread), red (substantial),

orange (moderate) and yellow (minimal) — based on metrics relating to the number of cases of COVID-19 and the amount of testing in the county.

Los Angeles County is one of 38 counties that will start in the purple tier, and the three local public health jurisdictions within L.A. County are assigned to the same tier based on combined countywide data. Pasadena has its own health department.

Barbershops and hair salons reopening protocols include the following: 

• Physical distancing measures must remain in place. 

• Staff and customers must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to service. 

• Clients and staff feeling unwell should reschedule appointments. 

• Everyone, including clients, must wear cloth face coverings while in the salon or barbershop, and clients are encouraged to wear face coverings with earloops to ensure the face covering does not interfere with hair service, Derderian said. 

• Magazines, coffee and other amenities that entail high contact may not be offered. 

• Clients are encouraged to use credit cards and contactless payment systems.

• If electronic or card payment is not possible, customers should come with exact cash payment or check, if available. 

• Stylists may serve only one client at a time.

The new state framework prohibits all personal grooming services (other than hair services) from indoor operation while a county remains in tier 1. Services that still must be offered outdoors following their respective state licensing agency guidelines include esthetician, skin care and other cosmetology services.

Nail services, massage therapy, electrology, permanent makeup, tattoo and body piercing may not be provided at this time.

Huntington Hospital reported treating 30 COVID-19 patients on Thursday. Nine tests were pending.

In Los Angeles County, 1,193 new infections and 61 additional deaths were reported Thursday by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. LA County's death toll from COVID-19 has exceeded 6000 with more than 248,000 cases. The overall positivity rate in the county remained at 10 percent, with more than 2.3 million tests administered, L.A. County public health officials said in a written statement. 

California has had more than 736,000 cases and 13,708 deaths. 

SOME RANDOM INFORMATION:

1. Vaccine researchers face a shortage of monkeys for animal testing. The Atlantic staff writer Sarah Zhang—who offered a sobering vaccine reality check in July—reports that there’s both elevated demand for monkeys and a huge drop in supply from China.

2. A new era of coronavirus testing is about to begin. Last week, the FDA authorized a new kind of test, which “holds the tantalizing promise of a pre-vaccine way out of the quagmire,” Alexis C. Madrigal notes.

3. Contract tracing still isn’t working in the U.S. It’s the most American COVID-19 failure yet, Olga Khazan argues. She cites three reasons for the lag: There are too many cases. Testing takes too long. And many Americans fear or distrust the government.

4. Pulling aside your mask to talk is counterproductive. In fact, consider not talking at all: Derek Thompson points out that silence in public spaces could actually be an effective antiviral strategy.

If you're heading to the beach to cool off during the holiday weekend, be in the know! Help us "beach responsibly", so we can keep LA County safe and open. To help us get there, we bring you our "Beach Rules": Bring your own mask (#BYOM) & wear it when out of the water; Keep a 6+ ftphysical distance from others outside your household; No gatherings or events; Remember, dogs are not allowed on any beach operated by the LA County Department of Beaches & Harbors. We love our furry friends, but they don't belong at the beach! Bonfires are illegal on LA County beaches. Keep fellow beachgoers & local marine life safe by saying NO to flames on the beach. Bonfires, firepits and personal grills are not allowed on any beach or in any beach parking lot. Pack In, Pack Out to help keep LA County beaches pollution-free. Bring your own bag, fill it with all your trash, and take it with you when leaving the beach. ️Stay home if you or someone in your household is sick. Follow the rules so the beaches can stay open. To see all there is to know about LA County beaches, including what's allowed, open, closed, or for answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), click here.

  1. 6 Tips for Staying Safe this Holiday Weekend: First, only gather with members of your household this holiday weekend – there’s so much to do together in our beautiful county – explore a trail or have a picnic at one of our beautiful beaches early in the day. If you are outside of your home and around others, please wear a cloth face covering. Always use your own utensils, cups, food, drinks – do not share with others. Avoid crowds and be flexible and willing to change plans or move locations if you find yourself in a crowded area. Avoid confined spaces, especially places where physical distancing or staying more than 3 steps away from others isn’t possible, and people aren’t wearing face coverings. And if you are sick (or have been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19), please isolate or quarantine as appropriate.
  2.  

UNEMPLOYMENT:

Nationally, unemployment Insurance initial claims for the week of August 29 are being reported as dropping 12.9% below the prior week. While still elevated way above pre-crisis levels, the latest report suggests the numbers at least are headed in the right direction. The numbers are, however, misleading for a number of reasons. First, the numbers being reported are the seasonally adjusted series. Beginning with this week’s report, the method used to calculate the seasonal adjustment was changed substantially. While these revisions bring the adjusted numbers more in line with the more relevant unadjusted numbers, much of the improvement was statistical. In fact, the unadjusted numbers—which are more relevant in the current circumstances given that the crisis overwhelms whatever possible seasonal factors that are still in play—were largely unchanged, growing only 0.9% from the revised numbers of a week ago. Second, the reported numbers cover only the regular UI program. PUA initial claims by the self-employed grew by 25.0%. Combined regular and PUA claims grew by 11.1%, which even accounting for double-counting in the PUA component shows a rise with this latest report. Third, however, the situation did improve in the rest of the US. Growth in the national numbers is due to a spike in California claims, and is almost solely the result of a large spike in PUA claims. For the state, initial claims for the regular program grew 20.3%. PUA claims by the self-employed rose 56.2%--again suggesting a needless additional element of jobs destruction coming from last year’s AB 5. California PUA claims for the week of August 29 were 53% of the total for the US; continuing PUA claims were at 40%. Combined, initial claims for California were up 40.7%, fully reversing the progress from just a few weeks ago. Total California initial claims in fact were above the initial spike seen at the beginning of the PUA program. Further, the current wave of layoffs appears to be shifting from temporary layoffs and furloughs seen at the beginning of the crisis to permanent as companies restructure to cope with an uncertain but likely lengthy recovery period.

GRANTS, LOAN and MORE

Residential Rent Relief: Applications are now open for LA County COVID-19 Rent Relief through August 31, 2020. Assistance is available for LA County renters, with the exception of residents living in the City of Los Angeles, as the City also received its own allocation of CARES Act funds and has its own programs for City Residents. Eligible renters must qualify based on income and have struggled to pay rent, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their landlord must provide a W-9 and sign a participation agreement in order to have the rent paid on behalf of the tenant. Apply at 211la.org/lacounty/rentrelief, which is available 24/7, or by dialing 2-1-1 between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. FAQ here

LA County Assessor's Disaster Relief Program: If your property has been damaged by this year's civil unrest incidents which began on May 26, 2020 (or by any natural disaster or unforeseeable occurrence, such as an earthquake, fire, flood, etc.) you may be eligible for property tax relief through the Disaster Relief Program offered by LA County Assessor Jeff Prang's Office. Those found eligible for disaster relief will see a temporary reduction on the assessed value of their property - and property taxes - which will remain in effect until damage repairs are completed. To qualify, applicants must have sustained a minimum of $10,000 in physical damage to their property; and must submit a Misfortune & Calamity Claim (M&C) within 12 months of the disaster date Business owners considering this disaster relief should know: 1) Tax relief is only available for taxable property. Taxes are paid on business personal property (such as machinery, equipment, and furniture), but generally not on inventory or merchandise. 2) If the business rents the space, then relief for damage to business personal property (equipment and furniture) would be filed for by the business, while relief for damage to real property would be filed by the landlord. To learn more or apply to the County Assessor's Disaster Relief program, visit assessor.lacounty.gov/disaster-relief.

SBA Disaster Relief Deadline Has Been Extended: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) extended the deadline to apply for a disaster recovery loan to September 16, 2020 for LA County business owners who suffered physical or property damage due to the civil unrest incidents that began on May 26, 2020. Read this week's announcement for more on the deadline change and how you can apply. Last week LA County announcedthe creation of a COVID-19 Rent Relief Program which aims to assist low-income renters and property owners who have struggled to pay their rent and/or who are behind on paying rent due to COVID-19. Today, we offer you a multi-lingual Toolkit and FAQs, so it's easier to share the good word before the application filing period (August 17 through August 31) comes and goes!

At the end of August, Governor Newsom announced new criterion for reopening businesses, schools and more in California.

Esssentially, the Governor has imposed similar regulations across the state with reopening based solely on the number of reported cases. 

The criteria for each tier will be uniform for all 58 counties in California, and the vast majority of counties — including all Southern California counties except San Diego — will begin in the first tier. 

  • Tier 1, widespread transmission: Most nonessential businesses must be closed. Counties in this tier have more than seven new COVID cases per 100,000 people per day and a coronavirus test positivity rate of 8% and above.
  • Tier 2, substantial transmission: Some nonessential indoor businesses remain closed. Counties in this tier have between four to seven COVID cases per 100,000 people per day and a coronavirus test positivity rate of between 5%-8%.
  • Tier 3, moderate transmission: Some businesses can open with modifications. Counties in this tier have 1-3.9 new COVID cases per 100,000 people per day and a coronavirus positivity rate of 2-4.9%.
  • Tier 4, minimal transmission: Most businesses can reopen, with modifications. Counties in this tier have less than one new COVID case per 100,000 people per day and a coronavirus positivity rate of less than 2%.

 

For example, restaurants in counties in Tier 1 will be allowed only to serve customers outdoors. Once a county moves into Tier 2, restaurants can serve customers indoors, but only at 25% capacity.

The new rules also provide a new pathway toward the partial reopening of schools in some communities. School officials in the 20 counties listed in the state’s new structure as having “substantial,” “moderate” or “minimal” virus transmission will be able to offer limited in-person instruction on school campuses once those counties maintain that status for at least 14 days. Counties with even fewer incidences of confirmed COVID-19 cases and lower test positivity rates could allow students to return to campus part time even earlier.

The new reopening rules require counties to wait at least 21 days before moving to the next reopening tier. If a county has met reopening metrics, which will be based on cases per 100,000 residents and the number or positive COVID results per 100,000 people tested, for the next stage for at least two continuous weeks, they will be allowed to progress to the next stage when 21-day wait period expires. Otherwise they will be required to remain in place until they meet the benchmarks for the next tier for two straight weeks.

Los Angeles County remains in the "widespread" category which severaly restricts who can be open and under what guidelines and circumstances. 

Here are the tier metrics:

Learn more about the tiers.

 

Every county in California is assigned to a tier based on its rate of new cases and positivity. At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least 3 weeks before moving forward. Data is reviewed weekly and tiers are updated on Tuesdays. To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier. Public health officials are constantly monitoring data and can step in if necessary.

You can find a link to per-county data and statistics here: https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/

The link also has a tool for determining operating protocols by business/industry type. 

cold-comfort-books-roz-chast copy.jpg

Cold Comfort Bookshelves cartoon
A new section coming soon to our favorite independent bookstore?

The Pasadena Chamber along with other members of the California Coalition for Safe Reopening continue to press for detailed timelines and operating protocols and a commitment from the State of California and local health officers that, once cleared to reopen and certified as operating safely, a business will not be shut down if infection rates rise but hte business is following all safety and health protocols. Here is the document prepared by the Coalition with reopening conditions and responsibilities: 

PDF icon COVID_Safe_Certification_Program_PL_DRAFT_8-28-2020.pdf

 

We welcome input and would appreciate your reactions. Email paul@pasadena-chamber.org with comments. (THANKS!).

Pasadena officials reported 11 new COVID-19 infections in Pasadena on Thursday, which marked 22 days without a reported fatality. 

The city saw an average of 10.1 new cases per day over the past week, according to city data. A total of 2,331 infections have been reported in Pasadena since the start of the pandemic, along with 111 fatalities. Huntington Hospital saw 34 COVID-19 patients on Thursday, hospital data showed. Five tests were pending.

Los Angeles County public health officials announced 38 additional deaths and 1,636 new infections but added that 280 of the new cases were the result of backlogged data received from the state. The county has seen 236,986 cases of COVID-19 and 5,701 deaths, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a written statement. Increasingly, the bulk of new patients has shifted from senior populations to younger ones. According to county health officials nearly 65 percent of all cases reported by Public Health have occurred among people 49 years old and younger,” according to the statement. Authorities reported 1,168 people hospitalized with COVID-19 countrywide, with 32 percent of them being treated in intensive care units.

 

GRANTS, LOANS and other RELIEF:

LISC LA has partnered with the County and City of Los Angeles along with other philanthropic partners to oversee and manage the new LA COVID-19 Regional Recovery Fund. The regional Fund will create a much-needed new wave of relief and recovery tools for small businesses, non-profits providing essential services, immigrant-owned enterprises and the most vulnerable Angelenos impacted by COVID-19. They have expanded the criteria to include more businesses. The first phase of the program includes a $3 million grant fund for microenterprises, small businesses and nonprofits.The Round 4 application period will open August 31st. Before completing the application, please review our Grant Information and FAQ Please keep the following in mind: 1. For business owners with multiple businesses, please answer this survey based on your largest business owned. 2. Each awardee is limited to one grant. 3. Grants will be made to qualified businesses and based on accurate and complete submission and verification of required documentation.

Residential Rent Relief: Applications are now open for LA County COVID-19 Rent Relief through August 31, 2020. Assistance is available for LA County renters, with the exception of residents living in the City of Los Angeles, as the City also received its own allocation of CARES Act funds and has its own programs for City Residents. Eligible renters must qualify based on income and have struggled to pay rent, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their landlord must provide a W-9 and sign a participation agreement in order to have the rent paid on behalf of the tenant. Apply at 211la.org/lacounty/rentrelief, which is available 24/7, or by dialing 2-1-1 between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. FAQ here

LA County Assessor's Disaster Relief Program: If your property has been damaged by this year's civil unrest incidents which began on May 26, 2020 (or by any natural disaster or unforeseeable occurrence, such as an earthquake, fire, flood, etc.) you may be eligible for property tax relief through the Disaster Relief Program offered by LA County Assessor Jeff Prang's Office. Those found eligible for disaster relief will see a temporary reduction on the assessed value of their property - and property taxes - which will remain in effect until damage repairs are completed. To qualify, applicants must have sustained a minimum of $10,000 in physical damage to their property; and must submit a Misfortune & Calamity Claim (M&C) within 12 months of the disaster date Business owners considering this disaster relief should know: 1) Tax relief is only available for taxable property. Taxes are paid on business personal property (such as machinery, equipment, and furniture), but generally not on inventory or merchandise. 2) If the business rents the space, then relief for damage to business personal property (equipment and furniture) would be filed for by the business, while relief for damage to real property would be filed by the landlord. To learn more or apply to the County Assessor's Disaster Relief program, visit assessor.lacounty.gov/disaster-relief.

SBA Disaster Relief Deadline Has Been Extended: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) extended the deadline to apply for a disaster recovery loan to September 16, 2020 for LA County business owners who suffered physical or property damage due to the civil unrest incidents that began on May 26, 2020. Read this week's announcement for more on the deadline change and how you can apply. Last week LA County announcedthe creation of a COVID-19 Rent Relief Program which aims to assist low-income renters and property owners who have struggled to pay their rent and/or who are behind on paying rent due to COVID-19. Today, we offer you a multi-lingual Toolkit and FAQs, so it's easier to share the good word before the application filing period (August 17 through August 31) comes and goes!

Pasadena reported a significant drop in COVID-19 cases on Thursday, August 21st with only six new cases and no fatalities. Pasadena has not had a fatality in 19 days.

Message from City of Pasadena Health Officer: The number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow in Pasadena and Los Angeles County. This puts your business at risk for significant disruption, since customers and employees may be infected with COVID-19. The Pasadena Public Health Department has seen multiple instances of employers who knew about cases, but did not report them to the Health Department. As a result, they had outbreaks with many customers, employees, and their family members ill or exposed. In many cases, public health protocols were not followed in work or break area, when employees let their guard down. Employers who thought that COVID-19 in their workplace could be ignored, or that they could manage it themselves without notifying the Health Department, suffered the consequences of disease spread among employees and customers, including closure of the business and negative publicity.

Employers are required to report suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases immediately to the Pasadena Public Health Department (call 626.744.6089 or email nursing@cityofpasadena.net), and to provide all requested information in a timely manner.

Failure to report an employee COVID-19 case may result in criminal prosecution under the California Health & Safety Code Section 101029 and 120295. Such violations will be enforced by the Police Department, City Attorney/City Prosecutor's Department, Public Health Department, and/or any other agency designated by the City Manager for enforcement.

LA County reported 57 more deaths and 1,603 new cases Thursday. As of Thursday, there have been 227,346 cases and 5,446 deaths from coronavirus in the county.

While new coronavirus infections in the U.S. have trended downward in recent days, the seven-day average of reported new daily cases in five major European cities has more than doubled since the end of July, with spikes centered around shopping centers, parties and workplaces, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

Governments are tightening restrictions on gatherings, asking some travelers to quarantine and emphasizing the importance of masks, hoping this will be enough to curb the surge without a broader shutdown that might hurt the economy. “The virus is reaccelerating,” French President Emmanuel Macron said this week. “Much vigilance is needed.”

The U.S. still far exceeds all other countries in Covid-19 cases and deaths. Even with the recent uptick in Europe, the seven-day average of new cases in the U.S. is still about five times the number across Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the U.K.

Over the past week, an average of 46,020 new infections has been reported in the U.S., a decrease of about 17 percent from the average two weeks earlier, according to The New York Times. New case counts are increasing in nine states, declining in 24 states and Washington, D.C., and staying about the same in other states, according to The Times, although the average number of daily deaths remains around 1,000.

Also: There are more than 22.7 million confirmed cases globally, with more than 794,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. In the U.S., there are nearly 5.6 million cases and more than 174,000 Americans have died.

Ending a series of weekly declines, new applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose by 135,000 in the week ended Aug. 15, one of a number of signals that the economy isn’t close to being out of the woods. But the data do show the job market is improving, though more slowly than in the spring: The number of people collecting benefits through regular state programs, which cover most workers, decreased to about 14.8 million for the week ended Aug. 8, the lowest since April.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Los Angeles County declined over the month to 17.5 percent in July 2020, from a revised 19.4 percent in June 2020, and was above the rate of 4.4 percent one year ago. Civilian employment increased by 74,000 to 4,064,000 in July 2020, while unemployment decreased by 95,000 to 863,000. The civilian labor force decreased by 22,000 over the month to 4,926,000 in July 2020. (All of the above figures are seasonally adjusted.) The unadjusted unemployment rate for the county was 18.2 percent in July 2020. Between July 2019 and July 2020, Los Angeles County nonfarm employment decreased by 424,900, or 9.4 percent.

The California seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 13.3 percent in July 2020, 14.9 percent in June 2020, and 4.0 percent a year ago in July 2019. The comparable estimates for the nation were  10.2 percent in July 2020, 11.1 percent in June 2020, and 3.7 percent a year ago.

Questions remain about which states will participate in the program to offer $300 a week in federally funded enhanced unemployment benefits.

For small-business owners, one-time changes to the tax code could help this year—whether your business is on the ropes or is booming.

Some people want businesses and even law enforcement to do more to enforce mask requirements in stores and other public places, Marc Fisher reports for The Washington Post. Thirty-four states and Washington, D.C., have mask requirements on the books.

“They need to meet them at the door and say they can’t come in,” says Frank DeRiso, a union president in upstate New York who wants a local supermarket to bar maskless shoppers from entry. “Tell them we’ll shop for you if you won’t wear a mask. People are getting sick and dying. It’s time to enforce this.”

Calirornia burning: At least five people have been killed in the wildfires that have scorched more than 700,000 acres in Northern and Central California. With the state already reeling from Covid-19, record heat and power outages, nearly 11,000 lightning strikes on bone-dry vegetation kindled some 370 separate fires, about two dozen of them considered major, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated and millions are being exposed to hazardous air pollution in the Bay Area and other locations. Hundreds of structures have been destroyed. One of those killed was the pilot of a fire-fighting helicopter that crashed in Fresno County, triggering another fire, the Los Angeles Times reported. Many of the people interviewed by the Times said that year after year of evacuations was wearing on them, and they are contemplating a move.

BEWARE: In the wake of emergency assistance available to help small businesses in response to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), the SBA is urging disaster loan applicants seeking federal aid to be alert to phishing campaigns and scams. These malicious actors are impersonating the SBA and its Office of Disaster Assistance to collect personally identifiable information (PII) for fraudulent purposes.

NEW ROUND OF GRANTS:

LISC Neighborhood Grants: Thanks to generous funding from Lowe's, small business owners in your area are invited to apply for the Neighborhood Business Grant program. Before you apply, please note: Only businesses located in the designated cities are eligible to receive a Neighborhood Business Grant. Use this map to confirm eligibility. This program is separate from previous small business grant applications from LISC. You must submit a new application to be considered for a Neighborhood Business Grant. Application deadline is Sunday, August 23rd at 11:59 pm ET. Read More

Small Business, Big Heart Grant Program TMC Community Capital Grant Deadline Extended: August 28, 2020. Small businesses are the heart of our community, yet they have been hit the hardest by recent events. To help businesses on their path to recovery, TMC Community Capital is offering grant support. Access the link below to register for the Webinar to learn more. #TMCSmallBizBigHeart.

Residential Rent Relief: Applications are now open for LA County COVID-19 Rent Relief through August 31, 2020. Assistance is available for LA County renters, with the exception of residents living in the City of Los Angeles, as the City also received its own allocation of CARES Act funds and has its own programs for City Residents. Eligible renters must qualify based on income and have struggled to pay rent, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their landlord must provide a W-9 and sign a participation agreement in order to have the rent paid on behalf of the tenant.

 

Apply at 211la.org/lacounty/rentrelief, which is available 24/7, or by dialing 2-1-1 between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. FAQ here

LA County Assessor's Disaster Relief Program

If your property has been damaged by this year's civil unrest incidents which began on May 26, 2020 (or by any natural disaster or unforeseeable occurrence, such as an earthquake, fire, flood, etc.) you may be eligible for property tax relief through the Disaster Relief Program offered by LA County Assessor Jeff Prang's Office. Those found eligible for disaster relief will see a temporary reduction on the assessed value of their property - and property taxes - which will remain in effect until damage repairs are completed. To qualify, applicants must have sustained a minimum of $10,000 in physical damage to their property; and must submit a Misfortune & Calamity Claim (M&C) within 12 months of the disaster date

Business owners considering this disaster relief should know: 1) Tax relief is only available for taxable property. Taxes are paid on business personal property (such as machinery, equipment, and furniture), but generally not on inventory or merchandise. 2) If the business rents the space, then relief for damage to business personal property (equipment and furniture) would be filed for by the business, while relief for damage to real property would be filed by the landlord. To learn more or apply to the County Assessor's Disaster Relief program, visit assessor.lacounty.gov/disaster-relief.

SBA Disaster Relief Deadline Has Been Extended

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) extended the deadline to apply for a disaster recovery loan to September 16, 2020 for LA County business owners who suffered physical or property damage due to the civil unrest incidents that began on May 26, 2020. Read this week's announcement for more on the deadline change and how you can apply.

Last week LA County announcedthe creation of a COVID-19 Rent Relief Program which aims to assist low-income renters and property owners who have struggled to pay their rent and/or who are behind on paying rent due to COVID-19. Today, we offer you a multi-lingual Toolkit and FAQs, so it's easier to share the good word before the application filing period (August 17 through August 31) comes and goes!

LA COUNTY RELIEF GRANTS

LISC LA has partnered with the County and City of Los Angeles along with other philanthropic partners to oversee and manage the new LA COVID-19 Regional Recovery Fund. The regional Fund will create a much-needed new wave of relief and recovery tools for small businesses, non-profits providing essential services, immigrant-owned enterprises and the most vulnerable Angelenos impacted by COVID-19. They have expanded the criteria to include more businesses. The first phase of the program includes a $3 million grant fund for microenterprises, small businesses and nonprofits.The Round 4 application period will open August 31st.

Before completing the application, please review our Grant Information and FAQ

Please keep the following in mind:  

  • For business owners with multiple businesses, please answer this survey based on your largest business owned.  
  • Each awardee is limited to one grant.
  • Grants will be made to qualified businesses and based on accurate and complete submission and verification of required documentation.

PRIOR INFORMATION:

City of Pasadena officials announced 128 new cases of Corovnavirus last week, about 20 new local cases of the Coronavirus each day. More than half of the City's cases were people under 40 years old. No new deaths were reported as the city’s case count continued to move towards 2,000. So far there have been 1,956 cases and 106 deaths. Meanwhile cases at Huntington Hospital appear to be on the decline.

Los Angeles County saw 2013 new cases and 35 deaths from Coronavirus. So far, LA Cunty has had 220,762 cases and 5,245 deaths. The Los Angeles Times did an analysis of the reopening here. 

Also: California, which has recorded more than 600,000 coronavirus cases, saw the highest weekly death toll in August since the pandemic began, with 969 deaths reported in a seven-day period, Rong-Gong Lin II and Iris Lee report for the Los Angeles Times. The state’s vast Central Valley, where jobs in agriculture and food processing are concentrated, has been hit particularly hard. There have been major outbreaks at a poultry processing plant, a meatpacking facility and a frozen-food packager, and the low-wage workers who staff such businesses may not be able to afford to skip work and stay home, either because they could face eviction or other financial hardship if they don’t work, or because their employers have threatened that they could lose their jobs.

The United States reported its largest single-day death toll since May on Wednesday, with 1,499 people dying because of Covid-19, CNN reports. The seven-day average of new deaths has been above 1,000 for 18 consecutive days. There are now more than 5.2 million cases in the U.S. with more than 167,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker.

New York Times analysis found that there have been at least 200,000 more deaths in the U.S. than usual since March, probably a better measure of the true toll of the pandemic. Globally, nearly 21 million cases have been recorded, with more than 760,000 deaths.

The imapct on employment, business and industry has been catastrophic. Here is a link to the UCLA/Alan Matkins Economic report on commercial real estate. In part, they found that the current recession has tripled down on the struggles retail already faced during the previous economic expansion. First, household loss of income and shelter-in-place policies reduced current demand for brick-and-mortar retail. Second, the inability to physically frequent many retail establishments created a new set of online shoppers. Third, increases in the savings rate on the part of households in response to the recession portends less consumption. To be sure, some activities will return, particularly personal services and experiential retail. However, marginal properties will not find tenants willing to pay sufficient rent to keep the properties in the retail space.

More than 2,000 students, teachers and school staff members across five states are in quarantine after over 200 coronavirus cases were reported shortly after restarting classes, Christina Walker, Annie Grayer, and Elizabeth Stuart write for CNN. In one Georgia school district that began in-person classes on August 3, more than 1,100 students, teachers and staff members are under quarantine and more than 50 positive cases have been reported. School districts in Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Indiana have had to do the same. Also: The Georgia high school depicted in the viral photo of a crowded school hallway where few students were wearing masks has switched over to virtual learning after nine positive cases of coronavirus were reported, Dakin Andone and Chuck Johnston report for CNN. Hannah Watters, the student who took and shared the photo, was initially suspended for it, but her mother told CNN that the suspension was later reversed. “My biggest concern is not only about me being safe,” Watters said. “It’s about everyone being safe because behind every teacher, student and staff member there is a family, there are friends, and I would just want to keep everyone safe.”

Weekly new jobless benefits claims fell below one million last week for the first time since March, The Wall Street Journal’s Sarah Chaney reports. Still, the number of people collecting unemployment benefits is twice that of the peak of 6.6 million in 2009 during the Great Recession. The extra $600 a week that out-of-work Americans were receiving expired at the end of July. President Trump created a new program through an executive order that he said would add $400 to unemployment benefits—$300 from the federal government and $100 from states—but states have vocally protested, citing huge budget shortfalls. So the extra cash will likely be reduced to just $300 a week, Ben Casselman and Emily Cochrane write in The New York Times. More significantly, it could be weeks or months before the extra benefits start arriving.

BEWARE

In the wake of emergency assistance available to help small businesses in response to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), the SBA is urging disaster loan applicants seeking federal aid to be alert to phishing campaigns and scams. These malicious actors are impersonating the SBA and its Office of Disaster Assistance to collect personally identifiable information (PII) for fraudulent purposes.

NEW ROUND OF GRANTS

LA County Assessor's Disaster Relief Program

If your property has been damaged by this year's civil unrest incidents which began on May 26, 2020 (or by any natural disaster or unforeseeable occurrence, such as an earthquake, fire, flood, etc.) you may be eligible for property tax relief through the Disaster Relief Program offered by LA County Assessor Jeff Prang's Office. Those found eligible for disaster relief will see a temporary reduction on the assessed value of their property - and property taxes - which will remain in effect until damage repairs are completed. To qualify, applicants must have sustained a minimum of $10,000 in physical damage to their property; and must submit a Misfortune & Calamity Claim (M&C) within 12 months of the disaster date

Business owners considering this disaster relief should know: 1) Tax relief is only available for taxable property. Taxes are paid on business personal property (such as machinery, equipment, and furniture), but generally not on inventory or merchandise. 2) If the business rents the space, then relief for damage to business personal property (equipment and furniture) would be filed for by the business, while relief for damage to real property would be filed by the landlord. To learn more or apply to the County Assessor's Disaster Relief program, visit assessor.lacounty.gov/disaster-relief.

SBA Disaster Relief Deadline Has Been Extended

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) extended the deadline to apply for a disaster recovery loan to September 16, 2020 for LA County business owners who suffered physical or property damage due to the civil unrest incidents that began on May 26, 2020. Read this week's announcement for more on the deadline change and how you can apply.

Last week LA County announcedthe creation of a COVID-19 Rent Relief Program which aims to assist low-income renters and property owners who have struggled to pay their rent and/or who are behind on paying rent due to COVID-19. Today, we offer you a multi-lingual Toolkit and FAQs, so it's easier to share the good word before the application filing period (August 17 through August 31) comes and goes!

LA COUNTY RELIEF GRANTS

LISC LA has partnered with the County and City of Los Angeles along with other philanthropic partners to oversee and manage the new LA COVID-19 Regional Recovery Fund. The regional Fund will create a much-needed new wave of relief and recovery tools for small businesses, non-profits providing essential services, immigrant-owned enterprises and the most vulnerable Angelenos impacted by COVID-19. The first phase of the program includes a $3 million grant fund for microenterprises, small businesses and nonprofits.The Round 6 application period is now open. Click here to apply. Your application must be completed by Monday, August 24th, 11:59 p.m. ET. 

Before completing the application, please review our Grant Information and FAQ

Please keep the following in mind:  

  • For business owners with multiple businesses, please answer this survey based on your largest business owned.  
  • Each awardee is limited to one grant.
  • Grants will be made to qualified businesses and based on accurate and complete submission and verification of required documentation.
  • This round of applications must be submitted by Monday, August 24th, 11:59 p.m. ET.

 

LA COUNTY PROTOCOLS FOR COLLEGES AND HIGHER LEARNING FACILITIES, CHILDCARE CENTERS and more

LA County's Department of Public Health (DPH) has released it's Protocol for Institutes of Higher Education, which, among other things, states essential operations at colleges and universities may continue, but most academic instruction must continue to be done virtually. Regrettably, LA County's community transmission rates remain high. (Pasadena protocols are the same.)

If you haven't read it yet, below we share highlights on what's new or may have changed:

  • Institutions may continue to offer in person training;
  • Instruction only for students who are or will become part of the essential workforce (and only for required activities that cannot be accomplished through virtual learning);
  • Faculty and other staff may come to campus for the purpose of providing distance learning, and other activities related to the purposes above, as well as maintaining minimum basic operations; 
  • Colleges and universities should limit their on-campus student residency to only providing housing for students who have no alternative housing options;
  • Collegiate sports may ONLY proceed in compliance with all the California Department of Public Health Specific Interim Guidance for Collegiate Athletics.

 

DPH continues to work closely with the State to ensure that when students return to campuses, the environment will be safe for all. As guidance is updated, we will let you know.

Protocols for Child Care & Extended Day Programs

As County students, families, educators and care providers navigate the beginning of a new school year, LA County recognizes that extended day programs for school-aged children are an essential piece of the puzzle for working parents. These programs provide essential enrichment activities, and help children stay healthy while socializing with their peers in the periods before and after school.

To help get virtual learning started on the right foot, LA County's Department of Public Health (DPH) developed protocols for early childhood education, childcare programs for school-aged children, and day camps. Protocols issued earlier this week include the following highlights:

  • Childcare centers may now have more students per class (increased from 10 to 12)
  • Childcare programs can now offer physical activity & academic enrichment activities before, during and after the normal school day.
  • Extended day programs will now have to follow similar rules as childcare & day camps: 
    • staff and students are required to maintain a safe physical distance;
    • wear cloth face coverings while they are together; and
    • staff and students will be screened before the start of activities each day, and will need to take detailed actions if anyone in the program develops COVID-19 symptoms.

LA County continues to urge residents to wear masks, socially distance from people you don't live with, and wash hands regularly, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. In-person learning for students in TK-12 can not take place until LA County's case rate drops to 200 cases per 100,000 population, per State guidance. 

Learning Together Safely

To help children get back to school, and parents back to work, LA County will be sharing regular content on resources and support for distance learning. County students, parents, educators, child care providers, or administrators are invited to read and share what you see here to ensure we are all "learning together safely" during the COVID-19 crisis.

Heard of the COVID-19 Education Response Fund?

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Greater LA Education Foundation (Greater LA) has established the COVID-19 Education Response Fund to coordinate community, business and philanthropic resources in support of the LA County Office of Education (LACOE) and the immediate (and evolving) needs of school districts - and families.

To learn more about this effort or to contribute to the fund, visit calfund.org/greaterla.



The Pasadena Chamber is one of the founders of the California Coalition for Safe Re-Opening. We are asking the State of California to do three things:

1. Create a safe reopening task force that would help formulate a long-term, clear (simple to follow) roadmap to reopening so that businesses in California can rely on for guidance, clarity and the ability to reasonably plan for the future.
2. Provide funds to county and local health departments to facilitate enforcement of health requirements for those who do not follow protocols for safe operations.
3. Provide a relief fund to support those businesses who invested in safety and sanitary practice protocols and who have been negatively impacted by the revised closure orders in California.

You can find more information here:  http://www.pasadena-chamber.org/business/take-action-now
Learn more about the Chamber's proposal for a Three Point 

Click here to Take Action Now and add your name and/or organization to those calling for safe, reasonable, reliable and supportable future for California. 
         
AND

Have you seen the comet? Neowise, discovered by a JPL led project has passed the sun and is visible for the next couple of weeks in the night sky just after dark. Look toward the northwest under the Big Dipper. If you have binoculars or a telescope, you'll find it if the clouds permit.

It's actually in the photo, but blurry and tiny.

Even with all the weirdness, apprehension, fright and dread, some wonderful things happen.

Be safe, be well and wear a mask over your mouth and nose when you are in public, please

 

Congress authorized an extension of PPP loan application period.

With less than four hours before the PPP was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. ET on June 30, the Senate unanimously passed a bill to extend the PPP application deadline until Aug. 8. The bill passed the the House on Wednesday, and now heads to President Trump for a signature.

The bill’s extension of the PPP comes after the program was set to end with over $130 billion left of unused funds for the taxpayer program. As of Tuesday night, the latest data from the Small Business Administration shows the program lent more than $520 billion in emergency loans to over 4.8 million American small businesses. The loans are intended to help businesses keep employees on the payroll, can range up to $10 million per loan, and can become grants.

Newsom orders bars and restaurants closed (again).

Governor Newsom orders all restaurants in LA County to close for indoor dining. Only outdoor dining, take-out service, curbside pick-up and delivery allowed.

Effective immediately the California Department of Public Health is requiring counties that have been on the County Monitoring List for at least 3 days to move certain sectors outdoors or they must close. Bars are also ordered closed. Los Angeles County is among those listed.

These businesses must close indoor operations/service for at least three weeks:

  • Restaurants
  • Wineries and Tasting Rooms
  • Movie Theaters
  • Family Entertainment Centers
  • Zoos and Museums
  • Cardrooms
 
Counties with closures should consider cancelling firework shows.Parking lots at many State Beaches near high populated areas will be closed. In counties that close local beaches, state beaches will close as well. This order will remain in place for at least three (3) weeks.

This announcement comes as other states pull back the reopening of their economy, dial back restaurant capacity, and as California counties continue to experience a surge in hospitalizations due to the sudden increase in positivity rates for COVID-19.


Pasadena COVID-19 DISASTER SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF FUND
Pasadena Community Foundation (PCF) launched the online application portal for Pasadena COVID-19 Disaster Relief Small Business Relief Fund grants on Friday, June 26, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. The Fund is a collaboration between the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, Pasadena Community Foundation, and the City of Pasadena to assist small businesses in recovering from the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis and resulting business closures, and will provide grants of $10,000 to storefront retail businesses.
Please CLICK HERE to review the grant guidelines and access the application or visit the PCF website at www.pasadenacf.org. The grant application will be available starting at 5:00 p.m. on June 26, 2020. Applications will be accepted through July 10, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

The Pasadena COVID-19 Disaster Small Business Relief Fund is intended to augment federal, state, and local aid in supporting Pasadena businesses and sustaining the local economy. The City of Pasadena has seeded the fund with an initial gift of $500,000, with the goal of assisting 50 or more small businesses. The City will match all private philanthropic gifts to the fund up to $250,000, creating the potential for $1 million in assistance. The Fund will accept donations from individuals, businesses, and foundations. (See below)

Local storefront retail and restaurant businesses are strongly encouraged to apply. The fund will prioritize business owners who have not received financial assistance from federal and state-level COVID-19 relief programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program. Businesses receiving grants must be located within the physical boundaries of Pasadena. The selection process will also consider local ownership and whether businesses employ Pasadena residents. Once awarded, grant funds may be used for business-related operational costs, including COVID-19-related expenses and re-opening compliance costs.

New Round of LA County Grants
The County of Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles, and private philanthropy have partnered to deploy $3 million dollars in grants for small businesses, non-profits and microentrepreneurs in a newly launched LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund. The first phase of the Recovery Fund will include grant opportunities of $5K for microentrepreneurs and $15K for small businesses and nonprofits. The grant program will offer a total of six rounds, opening July 6th through September 25th. The second phase will launch in the next few months and will include loans. For information visit www.LACOVIDfund.org for more information. Here is the link to watch the first Recovery Fund webinar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv0y3CRaILM#action=share. There will be other webinars.

Resources to help you reopen

Pasadena Chamber member Stark Spirits distillery retooled to manufacture approved sanitizer. You can find all the details here to get your cleaning and sanitizing products locally.

Essential PPE For Reopening - The Space Sanitizing Mister :  One of our newest members, Giana Korth, is here to solve all of your Reopening challenges with a game changing new machine - The Space Sanitizing Mister. This simple and elegant machine kills 99.9% of all viruses, bacteria, and germs in a 300 sq ft space. With its human and food safe air disinfecting capabilities, it can safely disinfect an entire room in 10-15 mins and will continuously do so while operating. Most importantly it provides a visible peace of mind, which we are finding one of the highest priorities upon reopening. It has become an invaluable product for many business owners across all industries - Healthcare offices, schools, gyms, spas, hotels, restaurants, office buildings, retail stores, etc. Giana is a Pasadena native, and her parent's local optometry practice, Charles J. Korth Optometry, was the inspiration behind this "Magical Mister" as her mom, René Korth, calls it. René was spending hours each day sanitizing equipment, glasses, countertops, etc; both for patient safety and peace of mind. It was becoming impossible to do this, while continuing their exceptional patient eye care. Now, with two Misters in the dispensing area and one in each exam room, all they have to do is turn the Mister on in the morning and they are good to go! If you are interested in seeing the Misters in action, feel free to stop by and check them out firsthand. They also have a number of other PPE products that may prove very beneficial, and are happy to source other items you may need. She looks forward to supporting your business in Reopening safely, effectively and as stress-free as possible! You can get more information and purchase the Misters directly through their company website here. For orders over 10, and all other questions, you can contact Giana directly at giana.korth@tampontribe.com or 626-818-1584. 

On June 1, 2020, a free mobile application for restaurants was unveiled to the community. Pasadena Be Local Strong lists Pasadena area restaurants that are open for business. There are no charges to restaurants to be listed and no cost to for users to download the app. The application is a collaboration between Small World Communication and the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce as part of Small World’s Be Local Strong initiative. The app can be accessed online at https://pasadena.belocalstrong.com/.

Businesses that want to be listed on the site can go to: https://belocalstrong.com/home/submit-your-listing/ and put in their information. Right now, the app only lists restaurants, but retail and service businesses will be added soon. The app is available to any retail or service business in the greater Pasadena area. Membership in the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce is not required to be listed.

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The City of Pasadena launched expedited permit and plan check processes to facilitate the rapid reopening of qualified dining and retail establishments seeking to comply with COVID-19 protocols and social distancing requirements. The City will also allow certain restaurants to temporarily expand dining areas outdoors. The online application portal has been created to facilitate submittal of these applications and to ensure streamlined departmental review within the expedited timeliness. To learn more about these temporary regulations and processes, or to submit an online application, visit www.cityofpasadena.net/reopening-permits.  

Exer Urgent Care, an ER alternative staffed by ER doctors, provides onsite testing for COVID-19 is available at clinic locations across Southern California. Exer is now offering drive-up testing for COVID-19 in Pasadena. In Pasadena, Exer Urgent care is located at 3160 East Del Mar in Pasadena. You are advised to make an appointment in advance.

ChapCare on North Lake Avenue is also providing FREE COVID-19 testing. Call for an appointment.

THE PCC SBDC IS HERE TO HELP. No-Cost Assistance. NEW Webinars. SBDC advisors are available to meet with you via Zoom. Business growth and recovery assistance includes: Disaster Loan Applications; "Life After Covid" Business Planning; Creating New Sales Streams; Leveraging Resources; And much more; Contact us for no-cost assistance. 626-585-3105 REGISTER FOR ASSISTANCE   or CONTACT US

IF YOU NEED PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT, SANITIZER OR OTHER ITEMS OR INSTALLATIONS TO MEET PUBLIC HEALTH STANDARDS PLEASE PURCHASE THOSE ITEMS LOCALLY. SUPPORT THE BUSINESSES YOU WANT TO SUPPORT YOURS!

Please follow the guidelines and maintain social distancing. If at all possible, when you are in public and could interact with anyone at all, please wear a mask. You can make your own. (Click here for a 'how-to') or purchase a mask through one of these links:

Here are some local resources you may need (and can support local businesses as you do):

The Print Spot is offering free Open/Closed/Taking Orders signs for any business that wants it. To pre-order, please email Paul@pasadena-chamber.org.  THESE ARE FREE FOR PASADENA CHAMBER MEMBERS COURTESY OF THE PRINT SPOT.

Download the order form here: Print_Spot_Pasadena_Chamber_window_sign_offer_flyer_FINAL.pdf

The Print Spot can also provide 6 feet distance floor indicators, along with signs reminding emloyees to wash hands as well as traffic directional signs for those narrow hallways. These are not free but The Print Spot is always competitive. Call The Print Spot at 323-269-4218; printspot323@gmail.com www.goprintspot.com.

Please follow the guidelines and maintain social distancing. If at all possible, when you are in public and could interact with anyone at all, please wear a mask. You can make your own or purchase a mask through s number of Chamber members.

Shield48 is a reusable face shield used as a personal protective equipment (PPE) and manufactured in Europe in cooperation with infectology and ICU specialists in conformity with the official guidelines from CDC and WHO. Each reusable face shield set includes 3 replaceable screens that can endure 100 cycles of sanitizing. Shields48 are comfortable to wear and ensure your protection all day everyday. Download the flyer here: http://www.pasadena-chamber.org/sites/default/files/media/Rose_Walk_Global_Shield48_Flyer_USA_0.pdf

Face protection can be purchased through Pasadena Chamber member Beck and Call. Click here to email for info. They can create branded PPE equipment for you and your business.

Maintco Corp. is a woman owned Pasadena Chamber member organization located in Burbank that caters to construction, maintenance and sanitation needs of varying industries. Maintco Corp. created its Maintco Certification Program that uses OSHA-approved processes to encourage a #SaferLA as businesses reopen and operate with the recent COVID-19 related restrictions and regulations. The 5-Step Maintco Certification Program Includes: Sanitizing the Facility - Maintco technicians will deep clean and sanitize all hard and porous surfaces using CDC-approved and EPA-registered sanitizers. Installing Air Filtration - Maintco’s certified technicians will install a CDC-recommended HEPA Filtration System into HVAC units to capture 99.97% of airborne allergens and viruses. Physical Protective Barriers - Maintco technicians will install translucent acrylic barriers or sneeze guards in areas requiring close physical contact. Touchless Technology - Maintco’s certified plumbers and electricians will install motion-sensored appliances and technology (toilets, hand dryers, lighting, air conditioning, door openers, etc.) throughout the facility. Visual Reminders - Maintco technicians will distribute informational and directional signs at entrances, restrooms, and other highly frequented areas. Contact Lindsay via phone or email for information on how a Maintco Certification can help your business promote a #SaferLA.  Email - lindsay.hornsby@maintco.com Cell - (951) 805-337

Pasadena Restaurateurs that may be reopening soon to help them accommodate their Social Distancing Seating when guests return.  Many will be using additional sidewalk space, portions of parking lots, patios and areas not currently used.  Dolphin Event Service's website has many useful selections on the header that help explain how a typical set-up is done.  Whether it be Vinyl fencing, lattice or hedge panels, barricades, or even stanchions, we can create areas with comfortable access/egress that will maintain the CDC and County distancing guidelines.  We offer discounted monthly rates designed especially for the Covid-19 crisis that are affordable.

Face covering ad

M3 Office has solutions for social distancing and workplace safety. Download the info here:  M3 problem_solving_product_suggestions.pdfM3_return to office items.pdf

Finding an abandoned baby in the mountains of the San Gabriel Valley inspired Azita Milanian to create the “Children of One Planet” Foundation. To learn more about this amazing and life-altering experience, go to http://childrenofoneplanet.org/howwehelp.htm. The Children of One Planet” Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes the well-being and health of children from all over the world.  To help support our cause, please purchase necessary facial coverings for your businesses and employees.  The flier with information is here:PDF icon TOSCAMasks-1page-covid-logo.pdf. To learn more please call Azita at (626) 712-3451 or email us at  azita@childrenofoneplanet.org.

Hello Pasadena businesses.  I would like to create and gift a free “Branding” photo session for your business.  I am looking for upto 5 Pasadena small businesses that have been affected by the Covid-19 shutdown.  I would like to highlight your business with a complete photo session which captures your business space, and yourself as a portrait.  Photographer Jerry Camarillo (multiple Images of Pasadena Photo Contest winner) wants to help promote you and your business.  Via social media and the like.  You are free to use the images as you’d like as well of course.  This is for you to show off what makes you, you and it fits into my tag line, ‘Reveal Your Awesome”. If it is a restaurant, I will shoot your space with 4 to 5 images, 3 to 5 dishes if possible, and yourself in the space.  I will also interview you about how you are moving forward post Covid.  A simple sentence or two can be enough, more is welcomed. This all serves as a small way in how I can be of service to you, and you are also helping me build a portfolia of “Personal Branding Photography”.  Its a win, win !  Thank you for your consideration, and let’s get back to business. Always grateful Jerry Camarillo Voted Best Photographer in Pasadena www.jerrycamarillophotography.com 626-375-6684

EVENT SPECIALISTS HAS A NEW PROTOCOL FOR CLEANLINESS AND PERSONAL SANITATION AT FESTIVALS AND LARGE GATHERINGS. You can find information here: Purely_Sanitizing_for_Fesitval_Presentation_from_Event_Specialists.pdf

SBDC Offers Daily Webinars on COVID-19 Relief Options (plus 3 Weekly Webinars in Spanish!)

California’s SBDCs are hosting a daily live webinar and Q&A on the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program. 

Daily, 3pm. Register here for free.

Webinar en Español Todos los Lunes, Miercoles, y Viernes a las 12 pm Regístrese Aquí

Additionally, Pasadena City College's SBDC office is offering SBA Loan Updates every Tuesday and Thursday.