By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– The Board of Supervisors has introduced the San Bernardino County COVID Compliant Business Partnership that will direct $30 million in funding to help small businesses offset some of the costs needed to meet public health guidelines when reopening.
The new program will provide $2,500 grants to local companies that meet County and State safety and health guidelines. Participating businesses will be issued a window sign noting that “This Business Partner is COVID Compliant” — offering reassurance to employees and customers that their health is a priority.
“The pandemic and resulting lockdown are having a huge impact on the County’s small business community, including extensive employee layoffs and furloughs,” said Curt Hagman, chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “We must move to reopen our economy without sacrificing a commitment to protect our residents. The COVID Compliant Business Partnership is an important step toward making that happen.”
“We know compliance with the new health and safety guidelines may involve additional costs, and this partnership is designed to help with some of those costs,” said Hagman. “We hope to incentivize small-business owners to implement a site-specific protection plan, with industry-specific guidelines, that will allow a business to open and stay open. This includes wearing face coverings, ensuring physical distancing, strict sanitation standards and anything else they can do to lessen the spread of the coronavirus.”
The County estimates that the program will assist 12,000 local businesses, with money being issued to qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds are exhausted. Businesses can begin the application process as early as today by going to http://sbcovid19.com/covid-compliant-business-partnership-program/, where application contents and other submission requirements are listed. The application deadline is August 31, 2020.
To be eligible for participation in the Partnership, a business must have been located in San Bernardino County for at least one year, have between one and 100 employees, and be current on property tax payments. Nonprofit organizations with storefronts are eligible for the program. A key County priority is to help companies that have not received support from either the state or the federal government.
Businesses that are too new or too large for the funding can still participate and receive a window sign.
Certain businesses are not eligible for the program, including race tracks, gambling facilities, adult entertainment, insurance companies, lenders, financial and investment companies, home-based businesses, and nonprofits lacking a storefront.
Companies will need to provide a copy of a current city business license or other “proof of business residence” documentation, along with evidence of its employee count (e.g., a 2019 payroll statement). Participating businesses must also commit to participating in COVID-19 training and education and to implement County public health guidelines. Complaints from the community could lead to an inspection of the business. Non-complying businesses risk a loss or reduction in funding.
More details and information on industry-specific guidelines will be shared in later updates and on the County’s COVID-19 website.