Economic Development News from the East Bay | May 2020

Nearly 2,000 business owners in the East Bay region responded to our East Bay Business Recovery Survey between mid-April and early May, where they weighed in on the impacts of the pandemic on their operations. Their r esponses underscored the breadth, depth, and severity of its impacts.

The impacts of COVID-19 are particularly acute for local-serving industries such as food and beverage, hospitality/leisure/entertainment, retail, and personal services. Nearly 40% of businesses had temporarily closed, and those that w ere able to remain open experienced significant drops in revenue, compelling many to lay off workers and take other difficult actions to try and survive.

With the nation's unemployment rate having skyrocketed from record low levels to more than 14% in a matter of two months, we know that the road ahead is going to be a difficult one for our region's businesses and residents alike. East Bay businesses reported laying off more than 25,000 workers during the months of March and April based upon WARN notices filed with the State of California, layoffs that are additional to those reported by the businesses responding to our survey.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, East Bay EDA has been serving as a resource to support economic relief and recovery as our region continues to grapple with the unfolding impacts on our business community.

Although East Bay EDA had to postpone its annual East Bay Innovation Awards event until later this year, we were excited to announce and celebrate the accomplishments of our 2020 Finalists in the May 15, 2020 insert of the San Francisco Business Times.

The 2020 finalists represent an inspiring, resilient and (yes) innovative group of businesses and organizations that make the East Bay an incredibly unique and vibrant region to live, work, and do business. Several of them, like Idea Builder Labs, the Oakland Genomics Center, and UrbanBloc have already pivoted to offering or producing new products and services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many others continue to find ways to adapt and respond to the unprecedented challenges that we are presented with during this moment.

Look for additional details about our plans to announce the 2020 East Bay Innovation Award winners in Fall 2020.

Join East Bay EDA on Thursday, May 21 for our (virtual) annual Spring Membership Meeting. This year's event, "The Building Blocks to Recovery" will highlight research findings in our 2020 East Bay Economic Outlook Report with special attention to economic disruption, relief and recovery efforts related to COVID-19.

The State of California is confronting an economic crisis. The May Revision proposes a blueprint to fund the state's most essential priorities and to support workers and businesses, especially small businesses, who are the lifeblood of our economy. Click here to see the full details of Governor Newsom's proposed budget.

Visit our website for the latest real-time business resources and webinars related to COVID-19. If you have a resource you would like to contribute or other suggestions for our team, please contact us at

Now more than ever, your response is needed to help allocate federal resources toward schools, transportation, and other public services for communities in our region. Learn more and be counted.