How Your Business May Be Impacted and Resources to Help 
As the number of California cases of COVID-19 rises, the team at West Business Development Center wants you to know we are here to help. Like we recommend to our for-profit business clients, we will be adjusting work protocols to continue to serve our clients and protect our staff. We encourage you to continue working with your advisers via phone and video conferencing. We are evaluating transitioning our live workshops to be all online webinars to minimize large gatherings. 

If you are a sole proprietor this is an excellent time to upgrade your online presence, consider revisiting your website outreach or just learn new video conferencing tools. If you manage staff or a team, read the information below on how best to protect your employees and work with groups during this time. 

Because of the fluidity of the situation, no one knows today the economic short term or long term effects of this outbreak. However, as a business owner and community leader, you need to keep healthy, keep your staff informed, and provide your county officials with data on any adverse effects this situation has on your business.
Federal, State, and local agencies are seeking ways to help small business owners during this economic downturn. In the next week we will send out industry-specific surveys asking you for information on the impact COVID-19 has had on your own business. This information will help inform officials on what actions to take next.

Please read the information below.
  1. First and foremost, it is critical that businesses stay informed and understand the facts. Official public health information can be found here.
  2. The latest California State information on business assistance for resilience can be found here.
  3. Employers can access support for their businesses and their employees with these helpful resources.
  4. Mendocino County public health information can be found here.
  5. Lake County public health information can be found here.
  6. Access to capital programs remain in place, including special disaster assistance at the state and federal levels.
How to prepare your business during COVID-19 outbreak
Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
  • Employees with a fever or who show symptoms of acute respiratory illness should stay home.
  • Don't require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness.
  • Encourage employees to protect themselves:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.

Ensure your sick leave policies are up to date.
  • Understand California’s Paid sick leave
  • Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for themselves or a sick family member.
  • Review policies to ensure your sick leave policies and practices are consistent with public health guidelines.
  • Explore whether you can establish policies and practices like flexible work sites (telecommuting) and flexible work hours. 
  • Establish a process to communicate information to employees and business partners.

Prepare for increased absences.
  • Monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace.
  • Implement plans to continue essential business functions in the event you experience high levels of absent employees.
  • Consider work from home options. If possible consider giving workers laptops to work from home.
  • Utilize online conference tools like Zoom, Webex, GoToMeetings to keep continuity with teams and with clients.
  • Cross-train staff to perform essential functions so your business can operate even if key staff members are absent.
  • Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
  • Consider canceling non-essential business travel to other countries per CDC's travel guidance.

Notify employees of a confirmed COVID-19 case.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, notify employees of their potential exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Make sure you maintain confidentiality, as required by the Americans with Disability Act.
California Support for Employers and Workers

Paid Family Leave provides up to eight weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for
an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) Employees may file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim .  

UI Work Sharing Program is available for employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the Coronavirus impact. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs.

Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim
Governor Proclaimed State of Emergency 

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency to make additional resources available, formalize emergency actions already underway across multiple state agencies and departments, and help the state prepare for broader spread of COVID-19. The emergency proclamation includes provisions that protect consumers against price gouging, allow for health care workers to come from out of state to assist at health care facilities, and give health care facilities the flexibility to plan and adapt to accommodate incoming patients. A copy of the emergency proclamation can be found here .  

Mendocino County Public Health Information

Mendocino County Public Health is working closely with local health care providers, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to closely monitor the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019.
Mendocino County has a hotline to answer questions from the public about COVID-19: Call (707) 234-6052