Business Help

Resources for Businesses from the U.S. Chamber

All employers should be implementing strategies to protect their workforce from the coronavirus while ensuring continuity of operations.

Created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, these guides are based on information provided by the CDC, to help employers and employees prepare for and address the impacts of the coronavirus.

Executive Order

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring all Californian’s to stay at home. The order is in place until further notice.

Effect on Businesses

To enable residents access to essential services, gas stations, pharmacies, banks, laundromats/laundry services, grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, and take-out and delivery restaurants are permitted to remain open. The order exempts activity necessary for maintaining “the continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors”, such as essential government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction.

Many business owners and employees were uncertain if they were exempted under the order. The State released additional information on Friday, March 20, providing more detailed information to assist those businesses and employees trying to determine if the stay-at-home order applies to them.

The Orange County Health Care Agency website provides the following list of Essential Businesses and Services that can remain open:

City/County government services: police stations, fire stations, hospitals/clinics and healthcare operations, jails, courts, garbage/sanitation, OCTA buses (use of public transportation is limited to essential required travel only), utilities (water, power and gas), and city offices

  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Food: Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
  • Hardware stores/plumbers/electricians and those who provide services necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences
  • Banks
  • Community benefit organizations on a case-by-case basis
  • Laundromats/laundry services
  • Cemeteries
  • Health care providers (dentist, veterinary)
  • Waste management

State and Federal Resources for Businesses

Resources are available to help small businesses financially impacted by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in working capital to assist small businesses in paying for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other financial obligations and operating expenses that cannot be paid due to the financial impact of the COVID-19. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based on the borrow’s ability to repay. If the business requests a loan over $25,000, collateral may be required.

Applicants may apply online by visiting The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is December 16, 2020. For additional information on the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, please call 1-800-659-2955 or email

SBA Capital Loans

SBA works with lenders to provide loans to small businesses. The agency doesn’t lend money directly to small business owners but sets guidelines for loans made by its partnering lenders, community development organizations that makes it easier for small businesses to get loans. Loans guaranteed by the SBA range from small to large and can be used for most business purposes, including long-term fixed assets and operating capital. For more information, please visit

CA Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBANK)

IBANK’s Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program is currently available to small businesses needing assistance to overcome economic injury caused by COVID-19. Financial Development Corporation (FDC) partners throughout the State are assisting businesses in securing a 95% guarantee on bank loans of up to $1 million.

For additional information on the Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program, visit

Tax Assistance

Employers experiencing a hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the CA Employment Development Department (EDD) to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return. For more information, please call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center:

Toll-free from the U.S. or Canada: 1-888-745-3886
Hearing impaired (TTY): 1-800-547-9565
Outside the U.S. or Canada: 1-916-464-3502

Reduced Work Hours

Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Work Sharing Program. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs. Please visit the EDD’s Work Sharing Program webpage to learn more about its benefits for employers and employees, and how to apply.

Additional State Resources

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development has complied helpful information for employers, employees and businesses in regards to COVID-19 on their webpage.
In addition, the California Office of the Small Business Advocate has developed a FAQ list for California Small Businesses.

Local Resources

SCORE Orange County

SCORE Orange County offers no-cost personal mentoring at 23 locations throughout Orange County and provides free and low-cost workshops on a variety of business topics. Visit or call 714-550-7369 for more information.