Frequently Asked Questions

  • Healthcare Operations and Essential Infrastructure 
  • Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, and convenience and corner stores that sell a significant amount of food, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the habitability, sanitation, and essential operation of residences 
  • Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing 
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals 
  • Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services 
  • Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities 
  • Bicycle repair and supply shops 
  • Banks and related financial institutions 
  • Hardware stores 
  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the habitability, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses 
  • Arborists, landscapers, gardeners, and similar service professionals, but only to the limited extent necessary to maintain the habitability, sanitation, operation of businesses or residences, or the safety of residents, employees, or the public (such as fire safety or tree trimming to prevent a dangerous condition), and not for cosmetic or other purposes (such as upkeep) 
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes 
  • Educational institutions—including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities—for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible 
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers 
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out. 
  • Funeral home providers, mortuaries, cemeteries, and crematoriums, to the extent necessary for the transport, preparation, or processing of bodies or remains 
  • School meals: Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and takeaway basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site 
  • Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate 
  • Businesses whose function is primarily to ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences 
  • Airlines, taxis, rental car companies, ride-hailing services, scooter and bike shares, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order 
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children 
  • Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children 
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities 
  • Moving services that facilitate residential or commercial moves that are allowed under this Order 
  • Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted 

Businesses that do not fall in one of these categories are non-essential. 

You can keep working from home as long as your employer permits it.

Description: Any sidewalks, plazas or parking lots located on private property, including any that are part of a mall.

Prior to Filing Application: Prior to filing an application, please contact your landlord (the property owner) and confirm their agreement for your plan to use parts of the parking lot and exterior of the building for this temporary use. City approval of the temporary outdoor dining/retail does not replace or supersede any private lease or contractual agreements between your business and the property owner/landlord or property owners authority for use of their land/site.

Application Requirements: In order to apply for a temporary outdoor dining/retail on private property, you will need to have the following information ready before you complete the application form:

  • Contact/Business Information – You will need to enter basic contact information for the business, point of contact, address/location, business hours.
  • Photograph – You will be asked to upload a photo of the outdoor area(s) you intend to use.
  • Site Plan – You will be asked to upload a simple diagram with dimensions showing the layout of the outdoor space, including where furnishings or merchandise will be placed. This can be a hand drawing on an 8.5×11 sheet of paper that is scanned and ready to upload.
  • ABC Approval (only if planning to serve alcohol outside) – If alcohol is sold and served, you will be asked to upload proof of California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) approval. More ABC information:

Specific Standards: In addition to the common standards listed above, the following standards will be required to be met while the temporary outdoor dining/retail on private property:

  • Program only allows temporary use during the COVID-19 pandemic and must discontinue and all materials, tables, removed at the terminus of the emergency. Applicant agrees to discontinue use and remove any temporary improvements within 48 hours or notification by the City.
  • Prior to use, applicant shall contact Marin County Health Dept and California Department of Alcohol Control (ABC) and comply with any requirements/ clearances.
  • Applicant is responsible to consult and receive authorization of property owner for the temporary use, including the size and location of the temp use.
  • Maintain all required fire lane drive aisle
  • Maintain safe drive aisles and pedestrian access to and from the building
  • Dining and retail activity and merchandise display area must be limited to the property on which the business is located.
  • This clearance is revocable and if safety issues or non compliance with these requirements arise, the temporary approval is revocable at any time.

No fees will be charged for this automatic permit. This permit is valid subject to City or County (Public Health) guideline changes.

Reviewed on a case by case basis, no fee. Fill out application below.

Description: Public parking spaces are all parking on public streets, such as 4th Street. At this time we are not allowing the use of parking spaces within public City parking lots.

Specific Standards: In addition to the common standards listed above, the following standards apply to a Use of Public Parking Spaces

  • Restaurants must maintain at least one sidewalk seating, or one of the seatings in the parking space for ADA access. Parking space ADA seatings must include the installation of a temporary ramp from the curb to the parking space.
  • Retail must offer associate assistance to ADA customers for any retail on display in the parking space.
  • Traffic control (traffic cones, posts) must be at least 28″ tall, meet MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) standards and placed at the edges of the parking space. Traffic control must include reflection if parking space is to be utilized at night. A secondary barrier (traffic cones, planter boxes, posts with rope, etc.) must be placed 2ft in from the external barrier — maintaining a 2ft buffer between customers and vehicle traffic at all times.
  • Patio umbrellas may be used in the parking space. Any tent or canopy used where an enclosure is created should have a State Fire Marshall seal or flame certification. Umbrellas or shade structures may not intrude beyond the inner barrier of the 2ft buffer zone, and they may not interfere with driver or pedestrian visibility of store signage, street signs, or traffic signals.
  • Enclosed propane heaters are allowed in the parking space, however must be placed as far away from traffic as possible.

COVID-19 use of parking spaces for dining

In their application, businesses may request to utilize any parking spaces fully within their store frontage. Parking spaces partially within a businesses’ storefront can be requested for outdoor dining on a case by case basis. No spaces other than those fully or partially in front of  business will be made available for use under this permit. 

Note: Table and chair placements in the diagram are just a suggestion. Restaurants and retailers have discretion over where to place furnishings and merchandise within the parking spaces and sidewalk so long as they are adhering to County health guidelines.

No fees will be charged for this permit. This permit is valid subject to City or County (Public Health) guideline changes.

Application requires staff review on a case by case basis prior to approval. No fee will be charged with permit.

Description: Public sidewalks are adjacent to public streets. Public plazas include the Court Street Plaza and Lauren’s Place.

Specific Standards: In addition to the common standards listed above, the following standards apply to a Use of Public Sidewalks and Plazas:

  • Dining and retail activity and merchandise display area must be limited to the street frontage width of the business.

No fees will be charged for this permit. This permit is valid subject to City or County (Public Health) guideline changes.

Reviewed on a case by case basis, no fee.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has called on the federal government to take legislative and administrative steps to equip manufacturers to respond to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies.  NAM is requesting the federal government create the “Manufacturing Resiliency Fund,” which would include $1.4 trillion in loans to provide desperately needed liquidity to manufacturers and small businesses.

The California State Tax deadline has been extended by the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) to June 15, 2020.  This includes partnerships and LLCs who are taxed as partnerships whose tax returns are due on March 15, 2020 now have a 90-day extension to file and pay by June 15, 2020.  Note that the FTB’s June 15, 2020 extended due date may be pushed back even further if the Internal Revenue Service grants a longer relief period (the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service have deferred the Federal Tax deadline to July 15, 2020).

The IRS has set up a special section to help taxpayers and businesses affected by COVID-19. The page will be updated as new programs are made available.

California Labor and Workforce Development Agency: Unemployment Insurance and other tools for affected workers.

The Employment Development Department (EDD) provides a variety of resources for employers who anticipate a reduction of work hours or potential closure or layoffs as a result of Coronavirus.  Employers experiencing a hardship as a result of Coronavirus may also request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. For questions, employers may call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center at (888) 745-3886.

If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to six weeks of benefit payments.

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has listed an FAQ with information related to employee leave options, compensation and salary.

If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own.

If you’re unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy.

Employers may be able to avert layoffs or work reduction by offering flexibility in work location and hours through telecommuting. The U.S. General Services Administration website provides an array of resources to help guide employers in offering and managing telecommuting or remote work.

For more information, visit Resources for Managing Teleworkers

Employers can apply for the Work Sharing Program if they are looking for alternatives to layoffs due to reduced production, services, or other conditions. This program helps you keep your trained employees so that when business conditions improve, you can avoid the expense of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees, and save your employees the hardship of becoming fully unemployed.

For more information, visit Work Sharing.   

The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) provides many services to employers affected by COVID-19. For the most up-to-date state resources for businesses, visit the GO-Biz resource page. The CA Employment Development Division (EDD) is granting a 60-day extension to file state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest for employers experiencing hardship from COVID-19. For the most up-to-date information, visit CA EDD’s COVID-19 resource page.

***There are alternatives to layoffs that can help employers keep their employees when there is a lack of work, or during financial hardship.***
En español.

The Office of Emergency Services are making SBA Disaster Loans available to businesses impacted by COVID-19. You can find more information on those programs, here. KIVA is another small business lender, though they haven’t announced any COVID-19 related lending as of yet. You can find more information about them here.

California IBank has low-interest and state-guaranteed business loans and microloans for small business borrowers who have been impacted by regional disasters and who need term loans or lines of credit for working capital.

The California Capital Access Program (CalCAP) for Small Business encourages banks and other financial institutions to make loans to small businesses that have difficulty obtaining financing. If you own a small business and need a loan for start-up, expansion or working capital, you may eligible for this program. Loans are available up to $5 million.

Facebook is offering up to$100 million in cash grants and advertising credits to help small businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak to support their various operational needs.

The Opportunity Fund is committed to supporting existing and new small business customers who are financially struggling amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.  The Opportunity Fund is collaborating with investors and nonprofits to put together a COVID-19 relief fund that will provide grants and low-interest rate loans to business owners in need.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided interim guidance for businesses and employers to plan and respond to Coronavirus Disease. Find resources at the Small Business Development Center website.

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