COVID-19 Resources for CalGeo Members

The PPP Dilemma: Can employers exclude employees who refuse to work from their PPP loan forgiveness calculation?

Download this short 2-page white paper from Littler HERE >>

Update to Shelter-in-place orders for Bay Area Counties (May 1, 2020)

Bay area counties have extended shelter-in-place orders through June 1st but have eased restrictions on construction activities. The areas included released a joint statement sent April 27 by the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara along with the city of Berkeley

The revised order will allow all construction activities, certain businesses that operate primarily outdoors, and some outdoor activities to resume with specific conditions.

The extended, revised order takes effect Monday May 4 and runs through May 31. Until then, the current order remains in place.

View the Official Order Here >>

View the Small Construction Safety Protocol >>

View the Large Construction Safety Protocol >>

Free Legal Information from California Lawyers Association

If you have some legal questions either as an Employer or an Employee right now, you aren't alone.

The California Lawyers Association has a free resource page available to the public with short 20-minute videos on various topics ranging from:

  • Employee rights, employee benefits and employee health and safety issues
  • Small business employer issues
  • Family issues (child custody, spousal support and domestic violence)
  • Residential and commercial real estate issues
  • Tele-med changes, issues related to the PPP, EIDL and other relief available to small businesses
  • Tax implications for those seeking unemployment insurance or other CARES related benefits
Visit the CLA resource page

Geo-Professionals ARE Essential Services

Download PDF of CalGeo's Memo regarding Essential Services & California Executive Order N-33-20

New Requirements for Employers under COVID-19

Download PDF of Department of Labor Employee Paid Leave Rights Poster

Download PDF of Employer Paid Leave Requirements

Less than 50 employees? Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act UPDATE

The U.S. Department of Labor released a Temporary Rule on Wednesday that sets forth three circumstances which would exempt employers with fewer than 50 workers from the twelve week paid leave requirement provided by the Emergency Family andMedical Leave Expansion Act” (FMLA+), which is part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FCCRA), if granting such leave would “jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” Under the Temporary Rule, employers with fewer than 50 workers will not have to provide paid leave under FMLA+ if:

(1) doing so would raise expenses above revenue such that the employer would “cease operating at a minimal capacity”;

(2) the absence would “pose a substantial risk” to the employer’s financial health or operations because of the requesting worker’s skills, knowledge or duties; or

(3) the employer cannot find enough workers to perform the work of the employee requesting an absence.

However, such employers are not exempt from the two-week paid sick leave requirement under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), which is also part of the FFCRA, unless the worker is requesting time off to care for a child whose school has closed. 

The EPSLA provides six “qualifying reasons” that allow workers to use the two-week paid sick leave benefit, including if they cannot work because of a quarantine or isolation order or have COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis.  The Temporary Rule clarifies these circumstances.

For example, workers can take paid sick leave if they are isolated because of “a broad range of governmental orders,” including stay-at-home orders or mandates that “otherwise restrict” their mobility, but only if the order is what prevents them from working.  The Temporary Order provides that a  worker is not entitled to paid sick leave if they can telework or if they would not otherwise have work even without the isolation order, such as if they work for a business that has closed because of low business.  The Temporary Rule also explains that workers can use paid sick leave intermittently by agreement with their employer and that an employer can make workers use accrued vacation days or other paid time off at the same time they take leave to care for a child.

The Temporary Rule can be found at: https://www.law360.com/articles/1259463/attachments/0

Construction Site Safety Requirements during COVID-19

The City of Los Angeles Building Safety recently released a Construction Site Guidelines document outlining steps for construction sites to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These are based on Interim CDC’s Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, and other publications.

Download the Guidelines HERE >>

NorCal Extension of Shelter-in-place and Essential Businesses

New requirements and an expansion of the shelter in place orders in Northern California were released on Tuesday March 31st that could affect what is deemed "essential business operations". Read on below for more details:

Six Bay Area Counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and San Mateo), as well as the City of Berkeley, have extended their previous Shelter-In-Place Orders through May 3, 2020, with stricter limitations on construction. The new Orders went into effect at 11:59 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, requires people to stay at home except for doing essential activities, and prohibits most residential and commercial construction. The Orders provide an exception for “Essential Businesses,” which includes “Construction, but only for the types listed below:

  1. Projects immediately necessary to the maintenance, operation, or repair of Essential Infrastructure;
  2. Projects associated with Healthcare Operations, including creating or expanding Healthcare Operations, provided that such construction is directly related to the COVID-19 response;
  3. Affordable housing that is or will be income-restricted, including multi-unit or mixed-use developments containing at least 10% income-restricted units;
  4. Public works projects if specifically designated as an Essential Governmental Function by the lead governmental agency;
  5. Shelters and temporary housing, but not including hotels or motels;
  6. Projects immediately necessary to provide critical non-commercial services to individuals experiencing homelessness, elderly persons, persons who are economically disadvantaged, and persons with special needs;
  7. Construction necessary to ensure that existing construction sites that must be shut down under this Order are left in a safe and secure manner, but only to the extent necessary to do so; and
  8. Construction or repair necessary to ensure that residences and buildings containing Essential Businesses are safe, sanitary, or habitable to the extent such construction or repair cannot reasonably be delayed.” 

Thank you to Van Allyn Goodwin of Littler Mendelson P.C. for this quick update. Don't miss his COVID-19 Webinar: Requirements for Employers on April 10th at 11am PDT.

More information on the Webinar HERE >>

Small Business Emergency Loans & Loan Forgiveness: Do you qualify?

Download US Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Emergency Loans Info >>

How is your business navigating the COVID-19 pandemic?

We want to help! We conducted a short survey from March 25-27th, 2020 and here are the results:

Download PDF of survey results HERE >>

We will now work towards getting you the answers to your most pressing questions. See below for some of our top resources and information on Small Business loans.

TOP RESOURCES + TIPS FOR BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19

from CDC Small Business Finance’s Business Advisors
Last update: March 23, 2020

Please use these resources and tips as you plan for the impact of Coronavirus on your business.  These tips are important to address immediately and continually over the next 30 to 60+ days.

Below you will find Key Resources, Tips for All Businesses, Tips for Retail/Customer-facing businesses and Tips for Office/Indirect customer contact businesses.

Please note: You can bookmark this document, as it will be updated with new resources and tips on a regular basis by CDC Small Business Finance’s Business Advising team.

Stay connected.  Get the most recent news from CDC Small Business Finance

KEY RESOURCES

SBA (Small Business Administration)
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center
Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339)
e-mail [email protected]

San Diego County: San Diego County Coronavirus Disease Updates
San Diego SDG&E: SDG&E Suspends Service Disconnections for Nonpayment as a Part of Its Coronavirus Response

Los Angeles County Economic Development:  Los Angeles Updates

City of Sacramento:  CityofSacramento.org/Emergency-Management/COVID19

California:   Information for employers, employees and all Californians as it relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

EMERGENCY GRANTS/LOANS

IRS:

SBA Disaster Loan: Disaster Loan Online Application
Facebook Business Grants: https://www.facebook.com/business/grants   
Los Angeles City: Los Angeles City Small Business Emergency Microloan
San Diego South County EDC: South County Business Emergency Loan Program
City of Sacramento Emergency Loan: Covid19 Relief Fund Loan

TOP TIPS FOR ALL BUSINESSES

CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION
It's critical to communicate openly with your customers about the status of your operations, your ability to provide service/deliver goods/perform work.
Include the proactive protective measures you've implemented, and how they (as customers) will be assured when they visit your business or you visit them
Make sure to reference cleanliness, and the training of your employees.
Utilize your email marketing and social media outlets, ASAP and with regular updates. As you serve your customers on social platforms, thank them for their business and how you appreciate referrals and/or positive social media posts so that others will know your business is up and running.

EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATION AND INVOLVEMENT
Communicate daily with your employees about your immediate plans, for the first 30 days, and then for 60 days. Set up a distribution list, conference call, etc.
Prioritize the health and wellness of co-workers and customers. Make sure they know not to come in if sick or have symptoms - the same goes for owners/management.
Get Co-workers involved - Have ‘virtual meeting/conference call’ to get ideas for sales, efficiency, customer service. Find out who wants to work, has to work and who shouldn’t work due to various concerns (exposure, family, etc)
Strongly encourage co-workers to notify you as soon as possible if they have symptoms, been exposed or can’t work for other reasons (kids home, transportation, etc.)
Explain to your staff any temporary measures you put in place.

SUPPLY CHAIN COMMUNICATION
Communicate with suppliers. Understand any supply chain limitations.
Ensure you have sufficient inventory and find alternate suppliers if necessary.
Negotiate extended payment terms.
Contact the CDC and/or your bank if you are unable to meet your loan commitments.
If possible, set up your business for take-out orders and deliveries through Instacart, Post-mates, Door Dash, GrubHub, Uber Eats, etc.

MANAGE YOUR CASH FLOW
Budget for the upcoming 30 days or 60 days.
Reduce overhead, all discretionary and non-essential expenses.
Cut back on staffing/payroll if necessary.
Stay compliant with HR laws/regulations.
Explain to your staff about your temporary measures.

IMPLEMENT SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGIES AND TACTICS
Don’t stop selling and marketing
For large/commercial orders consider offering discounts (2-5%) for early payments
Promotions may encourage customers who may have been reluctant to sign contracts or to come to your business. In addition, offer 10% non-cancellation benefits or discounts, and specials on gift certificates, i.e. $20 for $30 value.
The majority of the population is on the internet with their smartphones or computers. Utilize your email marketing and social media outlets and with regular updates and promotions.
But don’t panic – don’t bombard your digital audience with constant emails and posts. Do social media daily, email marketing once or twice a month with meaningful information.
Thank your customers for their business. Ask them to post on Yelp/Facebook/Instagram about how you are open for business, etc.

BEWARE OF SCAMS  
Exercise Caution  
Be leery of scams that may emerge – scammers will appear as if they are striving to assist business owners struggling with the effects of the Coronavirus.  
Beware of predatory lenders, suppliers, etc.  Seek the advice of reputable Business Advisors.

TIPS FOR RETAIL/CUSTOMER FACING BUSINESSES
Negotiate with the Landlord for concessions (reduction, slower payment, late fee waiver, etc)
Train/Retrain coworkers to be hypervigilant with cleanliness, health, safety.
Modify business hours of operation as needed
Put signs in windows to communicate with customers
Discourage sick customers (fitness centers, coffee houses, etc.).  Show gratitude for their patronage, but note that safety must come first
Modify staffing schedule – Ask who has to work and who doesn’t
If necessary- temporarily close down.
Post your business status on social media – “We’re open…Normal Hours, Reduced Hours, ” whatever applies.
Franchisees should contact franchisor rep and request “Royalty Holiday” in writing
Cross-train coworkers so you’re able to function with limited crew.
Expect to be hands-on in your business. Serving customers, cleaning, etc.
Convert Self Serve stations to Full Serve (ex. Toppings at yogurt shops or salad bars)

TIPS FOR OFFICE/INDIRECT CUSTOMER CONTACT
Establish work from home options where possible/necessary
Notify customer of your work from home status
Explain any changes to interacting with you/your company
Specify work hours, preferred communication (email, phone, etc).
Explain possible delays in reply/servicing, etc.
Show empathy to clients as they may be undergoing personal and business distress

Reminder: Please bookmark this document as CDC Small Business Finance’s Business Advising team will be updating it regularly/frequently with valuable new resources and tips.

 


Helpful links & information:

WHO (World Heath Organization)

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

California Department of Public Health

The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 


Access the GBA Business Brief FOR FREE:

Our friends at GBA wanted to extend their help to CalGeo members by providing access to their NEW GBA Business Brief: Preparing for the Next Recession Now.

*Note: This was written before the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic but is very useful as we are all facing these issues sooner rather than later.

No one knows when the next recession will arrive, but most economists agree  that another recession is certain. Most also agree that we’re getting closer to the next recession.  What can geoprofessionals do now to prepare?

  • Create or Update Your Strategic Plan
  • Strengthen Client Relationships and Increase Your Brand Equity
  • Identify Ways to Increase Cash Availability
  • Examine Your Financial Structure and Results
  • Align Your Corporate Culture with Your Strategy

 These themes are presented along with practices to deal with the recession once it arrives. The Business Brief focuses on how to help you prepare for and thrive during the next recession.

CalGeo members can download the Business Brief even if they are not GBA members through our Members Club page HERE >>

Login required. If your company is a member but you do not have a login associated with their account, please e-mail Kelly Cabal for access


Update from the EEOC (US Equal Opportunity Employment Commission) on ADA, Rehabilitation Act and COVID-19:

The EEOC enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, including the requirement for reasonable accommodation and rules about medical examinations and inquiries.

The ADA and Rehabilitation Act rules continue to apply, but they do not interfere with or prevent employers from following the guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local public health authorities about steps employers should take regarding COVID-19. Employers should remember that guidance from public health authorities is likely to change as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. Therefore, employers should continue to follow the most current information on maintaining workplace safety.

The EEOC has provided guidance (a publication entitled Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans With Disabilities Act), consistent with these workplace protections and rules, that can help employers implement strategies to navigate the impact of COVID-19 in the workplace. This pandemic publication, which was written during the prior H1N1 outbreak, is still relevant today and identifies established ADA and Rehabilitation Act principles to answer questions frequently asked about the workplace during a pandemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 to be an international pandemic. The EEOC pandemic publication includes a separate section that answers common employer questions about what to do after a pandemic has been declared. Applying these principles to the COVID-19 pandemic, the following may be useful:

How much information may an employer request from an employee who calls in sick, in order to protect the rest of its workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic?

During a pandemic, ADA-covered employers may ask such employees if they are experiencing symptoms of the pandemic virus. For COVID-19, these include symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat. Employers must maintain all information about employee illness as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA.

When may an ADA-covered employer take the body temperature of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Generally, measuring an employee's body temperature is a medical examination. Because the CDC and state/local health authorities have acknowledged community spread of COVID-19 and issued attendant precautions, employers may measure employees' body temperature. However, employers should be aware that some people with COVID-19 do not have a fever.

Does the ADA allow employers to require employees to stay home if they have symptoms of the COVID-19? 

Yes. The CDC states that employees who become ill with symptoms of COVID-19 should leave the workplace. The ADA does not interfere with employers following this advice.

When employees return to work, does the ADA allow employers to require doctors' notes certifying their fitness for duty?

Yes. Such inquiries are permitted under the ADA either because they would not be disability-related or, if the pandemic influenza were truly severe, they would be justified under the ADA standards for disability-related inquiries of employees. As a practical matter, however, doctors and other health care professionals may be too busy during and immediately after a pandemic outbreak to provide fitness-for-duty documentation. Therefore, new approaches may be necessary, such as reliance on local clinics to provide a form, a stamp, or an e-mail to certify that an individual does not have the pandemic virus.

If an employer is hiring, may it screen applicants for symptoms of COVID-19?

Yes. An employer may screen job applicants for symptoms of COVID-19 after making a conditional job offer, as long as it does so for all entering employees in the same type of job.  This ADA rule applies whether or not the applicant has a disability.  

May an employer take an applicant's temperature as part of a post-offer, pre-employment medical exam?

Yes.  Any medical exams are permitted after an employer has made a conditional offer of employment.  However, employers should be aware that some people with COVID-19 do not have a fever.

May an employer delay the start date of an applicant who has COVID-19 or symptoms associated with it?

Yes.  According to current CDC guidance, an individual who has COVID-19 or symptoms associated with it should not be in the workplace.

May an employer withdraw a job offer when it needs the applicant to start immediately but the individual has COVID-19 or symptoms of it?

Based on current CDC guidance, this individual cannot safely enter the workplace, and therefore the employer may withdraw the job offer.


10 Ways to Use Working Remotely or Self-Quarantining as an Opportunity

From Forbes.com writer Joan Michelson

As we all face the reality of being unable to go to work, school or events or gather in normal ways due to the coronavirus pandemic, we can reframe our time at home as an opportunity to take stock and to tackle some projects we’ve put off. This perspective, importantly, can help keep your spirits up in this unprecedented and potentially disconcerting situation.

Read more on Forbes.com

Check out #2. Catch up on webinars and online courses (see CalGeo's members club below)


CalGeo Members Club Recorded Webinars

Remember to check out our Members Club page if you are working from home and looking to expand your educational resources. We will be adding information and presentations in the coming weeks and months to address our Project Award winners and on-line learning.

Use this time to catch up on missed presentations and classes and start your on-line learning now!

Visit CalGeo's Members Club