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Business Relief and Support

Economic Assistance for San Diego Businesses Affected by COVID-19

Quick Reference


The establishment of the City of San Diego Small Business Relief Fund is in addition to other steps the City of San Diego is taking in consultation with—and at the direction of—County of San Diego public health officials to help businesses affected by the global pandemic known as COVID-19.

On March 18, 2020, the City of San Diego outlined an economic relief package that reduces fees, provides certainty and offers support to local employers. (Read the full press release.)

“Businesses are following public health orders, and we recognize this has an impact. This relief effort is about restoring some balance to the current situation,” then-Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said. “San Diego businesses are makingSDBC COVID19 Guide cover a necessary sacrifice while bearing a tremendous burden as they comply with these orders. We’re taking aggressive action today to help businesses stay afloat and continue to pay as many employees as possible.”   

Businesses are advised to reach out to their nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which has developed the Small Business Survival Resources Guide to help business owners navigate through the chaos COVID-19 is having on our communities. SBDC can help with applying for relief, guiding you through available resources and assisting with cash flow concerns, supply-chain interruptions, workforce capacity, insurance coverage and more—all at no cost.

Register for free SDBC one-on-one business counseling.

Additionally, please consider the following federal, state and regional resources listed below.

We will continue to update resources as they become available.

City of San Diego Small Business Relief Fund

U.S. Federal Support

  • CARES Act (Coronavirus Air, Relief and Economic Security Act) addresses the economic impact of COVID-19 and dedicates $350 billion towards small businesses. This federal stimulus act was signed into law on March 27 enhances the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). PDF icon Learn more

    • An on-demand webinar from the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center (SBDC) details the EIDL and PPP, offering guidance on how to comply your EIDL application. Signup to watch the 30-minute webinar

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) | 800-659-2955 | The SBA offers business assistance to impacted businesses and providing guidance for employers to plan and respond to COVID-19. For questions on any of the programs offered by SBA, you can contact the SBA San Diego District Office at 619-557-7250.

    • Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program offers $7 billion in low-interest loans to businesses, renters and homeowners located in regions affected by declared disasters, such as COVID-19 and California wildfires.

    • Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is a direct loan from the U.S. Federal Government. Any small business can apply, with very limited exclusions. Independent Contractors, freelancers, gig workers, home-based businesses and any other sole-proprietor can apply. Nonprofits can also apply. The loan is for working capital to pay your business operational expenses, not to expand your business. It can be used to pay an owner their draw or wage for their living expenses. Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties within 3 days of a successful application. Apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

    • Paycheck Protection Program was created by the CARES Act to support COVID-19-impacted small business owners and their employees by providing loans, that can be forgiven, in support of payroll expenses, mortgage, or rent. This program became available on April 3. Current law dictates that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) close at the end of August 8. As such, SBA is no longer accepting PPP applications from participating lenders.Preparing Workplaces

    • Small Business Debt Relief will pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a) loans for a six-month period and of new 7(a) loans issued prior to Sept. 27.

    • SBA Express Bridge Loans enable small businesses with a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These can be a term loan or used to bridge the gap while waiting for the determination on your application for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. These loans will be repaid in full or in part with proceeds from the EIDL loan.

  • The Federal Reserve created the Main Street Lending Program to offer up to $2.3 trillion in 4-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers or with revenues of less than $2.5 billion. Principal and interest payments will be deferred for one year. Learn more.

  • Internal Revenue Services (IRS) is offering Federal Income Tax Extensions.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers interim guidance for businesses and employers to plan, prepare and respond to coronavirus.

  • Department of Labor OSHA has guidance on PDF icon Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.

State of California Support

DOWNLOADPDF icon State Small Business COVID-19 Relief and Resources Guide

For more state programs and information, visit business.ca.gov or contact the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) at business.ca.gov/zendesk.

On Nov. 30, Governor Newsom announced immediate assistance for businesses impacted by COVID-19, including temporary tax relief and $500 million in grants. Learn more.

In April, the Governor issued directives to provide relief for small businesses and workers displaced by COVID-19. Relief plans include allowing small business owners to defer sales and use tax payments for up to $50,000. Learn more. He also announced the creation of an Employment Development Department call center and expedited access to the Work Share program to avert layoffs. The Governor also announced $125 million in disaster relief assistance for working Californians. Learn more. 

Small Business Technical Assistance

NEW $500M California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant | California Office of Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) administering the $500 million grant program announced on Nov. 30 by the Governor and the Legislature, awarding grants up to $25,000 for small businesses impacted by COVID and the health and safety restrictions. Funds would 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. Nonprofits would also be eligible for these grants. If you are an interested small business or small nonprofit, please visit the grant page (here) for application information and eligibility criteria. 


Applications are now being accepted through Jan. 13, 2021.

Start a new application: Dec. 30, 2020 –  Jan. 13, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PST
Update and upload documents for in-process applications: Jan. 6, 2021 – Jan. 13, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PST


Grant recipients will be determined by a number of factors, including geographic distribution of awards based on COVID-19 impact factors, industry sectors most impacted by the pandemic, and underserved small business groups (e.g., businesses majority owned or operated daily by women, minorities/persons of color, veterans and businesses located in low- and moderate-income and/or rural communities). CalOSBA provides information, direct assistance, webinars and trainings, and advocates for small businesses to help them succeed in the California marketplace.

  • Small Business Centers | California supports a network of more than 80 small business technical assistance centers that provide free one-on-one consulting and no-cost or low-cost trainings to help businesses get funded, enter new markets, strengthen operations, build resiliency and more. With more than 30 languages available, use this map to find your local advisors today.

  • Get Digital CA | Launched by CalOSBA in September, “Get Digital CA!” is an e-commerce initiative which includes trainings and bootcamps for small businesses to build the skills necessary to compete in an online marketplace, and 40+ free or discounted partner resources offered to help small businesses get digital.

  • GO-Biz's Office of Permit Assistance | GO-Biz permit experts offer comprehensive permit and regulatory compliance assistance to all businesses in California by serving as the central source of permit guidance.

Resilience and Disaster Preparedness Resources

  • COVID-19 Business and Employers Assistance | California and the federal government are providing broad assistance to small businesses and employers impacted by COVID-19.

  • OnwardCA | This is a one-stop resource for people impacted by job loss during the COVID-19 Pandemic with more than 70,000 job opportunities in critical industries.

  • OutSmart Disaster | Businesses can take the necessary steps to prepare for disasters and business interruption and become more resilient. Take California’s Resilient Business Challenge and get important resources to plan and prepare for disasters.

Capital Programs

  • California Rebuilding Fund | The California Rebuilding Fund is a loan program to support California’s small businesses—especially those located in economically disadvantaged and historically under-banked areas of the state. Businesses that employed 50 or less Full-Time Equivalent employees (FTEs) and had gross revenues of less than $2.5 million or below in 2019 are eligible to apply. The Fund was launched with an investment by the state to support California’s small businesses by offering flexible, affordable capital and free advisory services through community-based lenders. This program is built to be a resource in the market for the next year as businesses pivot and recover. An increase of $12.5 million, announced by the Governor on Nov. 30, would allow the Fund to be fully capitalized. The additional funding will help the 3rd 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.

  • California Small Business Finance Center's California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) | 916-341-6600 | IBankhelps businesses create and retain jobs, and encourages investment in low- and moderate- ncome communities.

    • Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program provides guarantees for loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses. The State has allocated $50 million to mitigate barriers to capital for businesses with up to 750 employees.

    • Jump Start Loan Program provides microloans, technical assistance, and financial literacy training.
    • Farm Loan Program supports direct loans of up to $1,399,000 to small farms for purchase operating costs and other expenses.
  • California State Treasurer's Office | 916-654-5610 | California Capital Access Program (CalCAP) for Small Business is another state government-backed loan program that operates through a network of lenders to offer credit. It is a loan loss-reserve program that may provide up to 100% coverage on losses as a result of certain loan defaults.

Additional State Resources

  • NEW $100M "Main Street" Small Business Hiring Tax Credit (CDTFA) | PDF icon SB1447 Tax Credit  | 800-400-7115
    Beginning Dec. 1, 2020, CDTFA began accepting applications for small business hiring credit against California state income taxes or sales and uses taxes to certain qualified small business employers that receive a tentative credit reservation subject to availability. To qualify for this credit, taxpayers (employers) must:

    • Have 100 or fewer employees on Dec. 31, 2019 (all employees, including part-time employees)
    • Have experienced a 50% decrease in gross receipts in the second quarter of 2020 (April 2020 to June 2020), compared to the second quarter of 2019 (April 2019 to June 2019)
    • Apply for a tentative credit reservation between Dec. 1, 2020 through Jan. 15, 2021, with the California Department of Tax & Fee Administration (CDTFA)

THIS IS IMPORTANT: A small business seeking this credit must first apply for it, beginning Dec. 1, 2020, through an online portal administered by the CDTFA. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is important to reserve credits as early as possible. If application volume is high, CDTFA may close the application window earlier than Jan. 15, 2021.

San Diego Region Support

  • County of San Diego: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) information.

  • County of San Diego Treasurer-Tax Collector: Those unable to pay property taxes on time may file a penalty cancellation request, which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis after the April 10 deadline. Read the County announcement regarding COVID-19 and property taxes

  • Jewish Community Foundation San Diego will offer relief to support to those out of work and vulnerable communities through its COVID-19 Emergency Fund

  • South County Economic Development Council is offering emergency 0% interest loans to restaurants in San Diego’s South County.

  • The San Diego Foundation is offering emergency grants to nonprofits in food security, rental and utility assistance, and income replacement or gap funding through its COVID-19 Community Response Fund

  • San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, a project of Alliance San Diego, will provide grants of up to $500 to immigrants in San Diego County who have lost all or part of their income due to COVID-19 through its Immigrant Relief Fund.

  • San Diego Workforce Partnership offers information and services that may assist employers who are forced to consider work stoppages, layoffs or furloughs. Also, SDWP has resources for impacted employees, including unemployment Insurance information, tax assistance, a work-sharing program to avoid layoffs, financial planning, remote career services and more. Access their career portal.

  • Minority Humanitarian Foundation launched the MHF Immigrant Relief Fund to provide grants of $250 for immigrants in San Diego County who have lost all or part of their income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • United Way of San Diego County will support low-wage workers and their families whose incomes have been negatively impacted during this time of uncertainty through the San Diego Worker Assistance Initiative.

Additional Support

California Scope

National Scope