The Travel Forecast

September 30, 2020

COVID-Related Small Business Grants Available

The County of Santa Cruz announces that a second round of funding through the Santa Cruz County Cares Recovery Program is available.  These funds are in the form of grants up to $15,000 and are designed to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Immediate financial reimbursement is available to businesses located in Santa Cruz County, including the cities of Capitola, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, and Watsonville. This round of grants is available to both essential and non-essential businesses with fewer than 25 employees to aid in maintaining their business and workforce.  Businesses that have already received Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) funds will not qualify per Federal guidelines, although 501c6 nonprofit entities do qualify.  Grants will be awarded through a lottery system with the county divided into three grant zones: South, Mid, and North County. 

Grant funds may be used to reimburse payroll expenses due to business interruption, lease payments for business premises, acquisition of inventory needed to re-open or maintain open status, new telework equipment costs, personal protective equipment, facility readiness (social distancing preparedness, business modifications, outdoor dining, etc.), and other eligible expenses.

Restaurants, childcare providers, hair salons, retail outlets, and other kinds of businesses throughout the county are eligible. Fifty percent of the grants are dedicated to businesses owned by women and socially disadvantaged individuals.

The first round of applicants received awards totaling over $278,000. A total of over $721,000 is available to be awarded during this second round.

Applications and additional information can be found here. Complete applications are due no later than October 11, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

RESTAURANTS Act Joins Revised HEROES Act Legislation

The Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) is supporting a bill to create a $120 billion restaurant revitalization fund for independent restaurants who are struggling to survive the coronavirus pandemic. Now this legislation – known as the Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive (RESTAURANTS) Act – has been included in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) – proposed legislation supporting a $3 trillion stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and intended to supplement the earlier CARES Act stimulus package.  Here is what the revised stimulus plan would mean for restaurants, and how you can help support the HEROES Act:

Independent restaurants and bars have been fighting for the inclusion of the RESTAURANTS Act in the current round of Federal relief. The bill would establish a $120 billion fund for small restaurants and bars to cover costs such as payroll, rent, supplies, and PPE.

The IRC is asking restaurant owners and those in the hospitality industry to contact their representatives via the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 and tell them to pass the revised HEROES Act.

Those businesses who are active on social media can share this graphic using the hashtag #SaveRestaurants, and post the caption below on social channels, tagging your members of Congress.

Suggested caption: 

I urge you to pass the updated HEROES Act, which includes the RESTAURANTS Act, giving America’s 500,000 independent restaurants and bars a fighting chance to survive. Doing so will help #SaveRestaurants, put millions back to work, and uplift our communities.

Support the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Foundation

The effects of COVID-19 continue to reverberate throughout the community. The Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds – host to a number of events throughout the year – is operating on reserve funds without the ability to host regular events during the pandemic. With operating costs at approximately $10,000 per week, both the fairgrounds and the Fairgrounds Foundation need assistance in order to stay soluble. During the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire, the fairgrounds served as a shelter for people and animals who were displaced. The Fairgrounds Evacuation Center, managed by the American Red Cross continues to be the largest Emergency Center in the County.

Locally, the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Foundation is raising funds to maintain the fairgrounds as a venue for celebration, education, and in times of emergency. This venue has received a $10,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County: approximately one-third of the total amount it has raised so far. Click here to read more – and to donate to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Foundation.

In July, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-20th introduced legislation to help preserve agricultural fairs across the country and offset the devastating financial losses they have experienced due to COVID-19. The Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act will provide grant funding for agricultural fairs through state departments of agriculture to keep them functioning and preserve them for the future.

ERC County Blueprint Status Report

The weekly County Blueprint Status Report related to COVID-19 in Santa Cruz County is now available. These updates, provided by the Economic Recovery Council of Santa Cruz County (ERC) are now available in English and Spanish. Health officials indicate that it is likely that Santa Cruz County will be flagged next Tuesday based on the current trending metrics, which would place our region under the Purple Tier 1 restrictions – the most restrictive category – by October 20th. Businesses would then have an additional three days to comply), however lobbying is underway to extend the grace period.  Information from the ERC aligns with state and county health officials, Governor Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency, and SAVE Lives Santa Cruz County. 

Safety Pledge Update!

VSCC’s Let’s Cruz Safely campaign – including a broadcast commercial airing locally and in key visitor markets through October – will be reaching nearly 2 million e-newsletter subscribers through digital marketing efforts. The Safety Pledge is featured in Edible Monterey Bay’s recent e-newsletter; in case you missed it, it will be emailed next week to GT e-news subscribers. A display ad is included in this week’s print version of the Good Times. Do you have images of your staff, employees, or front-line staff taking the VSCC Safety Pledge? Send us some snaps to be featured on our social media channels! 

Halloween Safety Reminder

Bay Area health officials remind residents that many commonly celebrated Halloween and Día de Los Muertos activities carry high risk for spreading COVID-19. Focusing on decorations, limiting activities to the people you live with, and virtual costume parties or contests will help keep our communities safe this season, especially our children. Together, we all need to do as much as we can to protect ourselves and those around us!  

2020 Community Champions Awards Nominations

Nominees for the 2020 Community Champions Awards, sponsored by Santa Cruz Works and the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership are now being accepted! Do you know someone who lifted our community with their leadership, their commitment, their character, and contributions this year? Nominees must reside in Santa Cruz, Monterey, or San Benito County, and must have made a positive impact supporting our communities during the crises of 2020. Award winners will be announced on December 2, 2020. Nominate your champion here!

Did you know……

that during the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire, the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds sheltered: 180 horses; 500 chickens, rabbits, and birds; 300 goats, sheep, lamas, and pigs, and 30 exotic animals?

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