COVID-19 Assistance for Businesses and Workers


Businesses affected by the Coronavirus with closures or layoffs please contact our Business Services Strategist, Alma Janabajab at alma@sbcwdb.org to connect you with services and resources offered to local businesses.

The California Small Business COVID-19 relief grant program's website has launched with further information regarding grant eligibility and application periods. There will be two rounds of application windows. The first application window opens December 30th. Daily webinars are being hosted by the SBDC network to help business owners navigate the application process. Click here to sign up. It is highly encouraged to all who wish to apply to attend one of these valuable webinars. A live Q&A will be part of the presentation. To visit the state's website and learn more about the program visit www.careliefgrant.com.  

California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program

The Governor announced the creation of a $500 million COVID-19 Relief Grant administered by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) at the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development for small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and the 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. Cultural institutions and non-profits are also be eligible for these grants. 

This grant program is NOT first-come, first-served. Please take the time to prepare all necessary documentation and careful review your application. One complete application will qualify you to be considered for both rounds, please only apply once; applications will be rolled over for consideration in the second round. 

300,000 applications successfully completed during the first round that ended on January 13.  Application approval notifications will be sent out Friday, January 15 through Friday, January 22 with disbursements over a 45-day verification period beginning Friday, January 22. 

A second round of applications will open at 8 AM February 2 and will run through 6 PM February 8, 2021.  


A small business or small nonprofit must satisfy the following criteria to be eligible to receive a grant award:

  • Must meet the definition of an "eligible small business". An "eligible small business" means (i) a "small business" (sole proprietor, independent contractor, 1099 work, and or registered "for-profit" business entity (e.g., C-corporation, S-corporation, limited liability company, partnership) that has yearly gross revenue of $2.5 million or less (but at least $1,000 in yearly gross revenue) based on most recently filed tax return) or (ii) a "small nonprofit" (registered 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) nonprofit entity having yearly gross revenue of $2.5 million or less (but at least $1,000 in yearly gross revenue) based on most recently filed Form 990);

  • Active businesses or nonprofits operating since at least June 1, 2019;

  • Businesses must currently be operating or have a clear plan to re-open once the State of California permits re-opening of the business;

  • Business must be impacted by COVID-19 and the health and safety restrictions such as business interruptions or business closures incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;

  • Business must be able to provide organizing documents including 2018 or 2019 tax returns or Form 990s, copy of official filing with the California Secretary of State, if applicable, or local municipality for the business such as one of the following: Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Organization, Fictitious Name of Registration or Government-Issued Business License;

  • Business must be able to provide acceptable form of government-issued photo ID; and

  • Applicants with multiple business entities, franchises, locations, etc. are not eligible for multiple grants and are only allowed to apply once using their eligible small business with the highest revenue

    Funds May be Used For

    Eligible costs are only those costs incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health and safety restrictions such as business interruptions or business closures incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following are the eligible uses of grant funds:

  • All employee expenses including payroll costs, health care benefits, paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums;

  • Working capital, overhead (including rent, utilities, mortgage principal and interest payments (excluding mortgage prepayments)), debt payments (principal and interest) incurred before March 1, 2020;

  • Costs associated with re-opening business operations after being fully or partially closed due to state-mandated COVID-19 health and safety restrictions and business closures;

  • Costs associated with complying with COVID-19 federal, state or local guidelines for reopening with required safety protocols, including but not limited to equipment, plexiglass barriers, outdoor dining, PPE supplies, testing, and employee training expenses; or

  • Any other COVID-19 related expenses not already covered through grants, forgivable loans or other relief through federal, state, county or city program.

For all updates, further information and guidance on where to apply, please visit CAReliefGrant.com.

This information was provided by the Economic Development Collaborative (EDC)



Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The PPP will be re-opening the week of January 11, 2021 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. If you have already received PPP, you may be eligible for a second draw. Please contact the same lending institution you previously received PPP through if you are able to. 

Important Dates:

  • January 11, 2021: Participating Community Financial Institutions will be able to accept first draw applications. 
  • January 13, 2021: Participating Community Financial Institutions will be able to accept second draw applications.
  • Shortly Thereafter: All additional participating financial institutions will be able to accept applications.
  • March 31, 2021: Loans are available through March 31, 2021 OR until all allocated funds are exhausted. 

CLICK HERE to learn more. 

Economic Disaster Injury Loans (EIDL)

This low-interest federal disaster loan for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 is available now. New Extended Deadline: December 31, 2021.

CLICK HERE to learn more. 

Expanded Unemployment Benefits

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA, for those self-employed, freelancers or independent contractors, is extended until March 14, 2021, and the maximum number of weeks of eligibility is extended from 39 weeks to 50 weeks. 
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), an additional payment for those collecting certain unemployment insurance benefits (including regular unemployment compensation, PUA and PEUC), is reinstated at $300 per week from the week after December 26, 2020 and runs through March 14, 2021.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), for those who have exhausted their regular unemployment compensation benefits, is extended until March 14, 2021 and the number of weeks of eligibility is extended from 13 weeks to 24 weeks.

Please note the following: 

  • Many accounts were suspended due to a high volume of fraud. The EDD is working to address these issues before the new federal funding rolls out. If your account was suspended, please continue to certify as usual. They will send you an email between January 6, 2021 and January 14, 2021 to upload your personal ID documents.
  • If you were receiving Unemployment Insurance/Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and have not received monies, please continue certifying your unemployment as usual. The EDD hopes to begin sending out the new federal funds the week of January 11, 2021 or January 18, 2021. The additional $300/week will continue for 11 weeks. 
  • If there has been no movement on your account for 2 weeks, your claim will need to be directed to your local assembly member's office. Please reach out to us at 805.409.9159 (ENGLISH) or 805.309.5874 (SPANISH).

CLICK HERE to learn more. 

Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) 

The Employee Retention Credit under the CARES Act encourages businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% to 70% of qualified wages up to $10,000 in the aggregate for all calendar quarters to $14,000 per calendar quarter for 2021 paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. 

CLICK HERE to learn more.

California Resources

California COVID-19 Website:  https://covid19.ca.gov/business-and-employers/

California and the federal government are providing broad assistance to small businesses and employers impacted by COVID-19. This includes:

Funding, Resources, Advice

Women's Economic Ventures offers the (WEV) ReStart Loan to businesses based in the city of Goleta up to $25,000 at 4.5% fixed interest up to 60 month repayment and must demonstrate COVID-19 financial impact.

Economic Development Collaborative (EDC) continues to offer 4.25% interest EDC Disaster Loan from $5,000- $50,000 and a 48 month term to give a cash flow boost to businesses impacted by reduced sales, supply chain disruption or other challenges related to COVID-19. Email loans@edcollaborative.com for more information.

The following also provide resources, free advice, and webinars:
Small Business Development Center (SBDC)   
Santa Barbara SCORE

Santa Barbara Foundation in collaboration with other partners, have provided over $19 million in funding to support businesses and families affected by COVID-19.  Currently they do not have anything available.

For reopening guidelines, please refer to the Reopening in Safe Environment (RISE) Guide and visit the RecoverySBC.org website for latest updates on resources and information.  For updated information from the Governor's office, visit the California covid19.ca.gov website.

Affected Workers/Employees

While the America's Job Center of California (AJCC) locations are currently closed due to the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home orders, you can contact the AJCC to speak to someone who can walk you through the different services available to you either virtually, by phone or on the internet. 

  • Watch this video of our workforce programs for adult job seekers. 
  • Watch this video introduction of our youth program for young adults.
  • For laid off or furloughed workers, this video explains the different resources available to you.

Unemployment Insurance

If you have lost work or have had your hours reduced we encourage you to apply for Employment Development Department (EDD) Unemployment Insurance (UI). In California, Governor Newsom has waived the one-week waiting period for benefits and is looking at expanding UI claim offerings.

For comprehensive guidance and resources about state benefits related to employment and COVID-19, we highly recommend this FAQ page from EDD.

May 1 EDD webinar on "Assistance Programs for Workers during COVID-19" presentation slides.

As of March 17, 2020, our Santa Barbara America's Job Centers of California (AJCCs) is closed to the public and the Santa Maria location remains partially open to the public.   This includes EDD Workforce Services, located at each AJCC.  There are multiple ways to file for Unemployment Insurance:

  • By-phone: Representatives are available at the following toll-free numbers, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon Pacific Time except on state holidays.
    • English 1-800-300-5616
    • Spanish 1-800-326-8937
    • Cantonese 1-800-547-3506
    • Mandarin 1-866-303-0706
    • Vietnamese 1-800-547-2058
    • TTY 1-800-815-9387
  • By Mail or by Fax: File your UI claim by accessing the paper Unemployment Insurance Application. For faster and secure processing, fax the completed application to the number listed on the form. If you mail your application, use the address on the form and allow additional time for processing.  If any of the items below pertains to you, it is best that you file a claim using the paper Unemployment Insurance claim process:
  • How to Apply for UI Benefits (File a Claim) (YouTube)
    English | Spanish | Cantonese | Vietnamese | Mandarin

In the case that you do not have access to a computer or do not have a phone to receive calls or an email, access to a phone or computer to reach Unemployment Insurance will be provided by the AJCC by appointment only.  For general information or appointments, connect the AJCC at Santa Maria, 805.614.1550 or Santa Barbara, 805.568.1393.  For information and available resources during the closure of the AJCC, please feel free to email the following:

Other Benefits

Click on this link to view a matrix summarizing all the benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19.

Paid sick leave law provides time off to many workers. You are entitled to use whatever sick leave you have accumulated.

California law provides for paid family leave, which you may be eligible for if you are providing care for an ill or quarantined family member.

In the event of a particularly long illness, you may be eligible for disability benefits, provided your illness is certified by a medical professional.

If you were exposed to COVID-19 while on the job and in the course of your regular duties, you may also qualify for workers' compensation.

For all part-time, intermittent, reduced hours, and reduced wage situations, the Employment Development Department (EDD) suggests that you file a claim, and after we receive your properly completed claim, we will determine if you are eligible for Disability Insurance (DI) or Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic. The provisions of the program once operational include:

  • Up to 39 weeks of benefits starting with weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020, through the week ending December 31, 2020, depending on when you became directly impacted by the pandemic.
  • An additional $600 to each PUA weekly benefit amount you may be eligible to receive, as part of the separate CARES Act Pandemic Additional Compensation program. Only the weeks of a claim between March 29 and July 31 are eligible for the extra $600 payments.

Click here for a COVID-19 Guide to Applying for Unemployment Benefits.

Additional Resources Provided by the Workforce Development Board

The Workforce Development Board also received several grants to provide job seekers with assistance. These programs provide assistance to workers whose employment was affected due to COVID-19, veterans, youths, etc.  Click here to access the flyer that provides information and contact information for the various programs we have available and visit our Special Workforce Programs and Projects page.

Weekly Virtual Webinars

Allan Hancock College Non-Credit Department will be providing webinars as part of the America's Job Center of California (AJCC) Virtual Services. This will further enhance the quality of our webinars, which have been ongoing since the beginning of the pandemic. These are one-hour, FREE, live employment-related/preparation webinars.  Click here for the Weekly Webinar flyer.

Wednesdays and Thursdays at 1 PM


Meeting ID: 457 562 2746

Call In: 1 (669) 900 - 6833

Samples of topics include:

  • Job Search - Websites, Engines, How to Organize

  • Resumes - 3 Types, Using Job Descriptions to Write Your Resume

  • Making Your Case with Cover Letter

  • First Impressions

  • Interviewing - STAR Techniques, Common Interviewing Questions, Ultimate Tips, Mock Interviews

  • Transferable Skills

  • Find your Passions

  • What is your Work Style?

  • "Up" Skilling your Current Employment Skills

  • Developing an Elevator Speech

  • How to Network for Employment

  • How to Develop a Professional 5-Year Plan

  • Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills

  • Top Skills Employers are Looking For

  • Work Values

  • Interest Inventories

Access the AJCC Trainings and Services below:

Additional Resources

We are working closely with the State of California for additional emergency benefits to workers impacted by this health crisis.

County of Santa Barbara Social Services provides assistance with health coverage, food aid, cash aid, job services, child services, and adult services.

Santa Barbara County 211 logo

In need of services and don't know where to turn? Just pick up the phone and call 211 or click here to find resources for food, shelter, health care, childcare, domestic abuse support, counseling, and many other services for families, seniors, veterans and more. The 211 service is free, confidential, and available 24/7 in over 150 languages.

Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) – requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.

For up-to-date information and resources, visit RecoverySBC.org