Santa Cruz County COVID-19 Updates
BY ZACH FRIEND, COUNTY SUPERVISOR
Many in our community have been severely impacted by both the health and economic conditions caused by the virus. With community members losing their jobs, businesses seeing declining revenue and tenants and renters unable to pay rent, we know it is also difficult to meet your basic needs – and many have been contacting me with questions on ways to get assistance. We want to help. What resources are available to you? How does the shelter-in-place order apply to a number of sectors? Here are answers to some of the most common questions that have been coming into my office in the last week.
Where can I get the most reliable local data and info on COVID?
The County Health website now has a significant amount of data (updated daily) for you to be informed about local data and resources on COVID-19 including: local demographic data of cases, a breakdown of where the cases are occurring, the total number of cases and tests, resources for providers and residents, a county-by-county comparison, info on the shelter-in-place order and much more. Visit santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus to learn more.
I have a business and I’ve lost a most of my revenue and need a loan. Where can I apply?
The County’s Economic Development Department has created a special webpage for businesses with information on how to apply for Small Business Association (SBA) loans, California IBANK loans, as well as tax extensions and payment relief from local utilities, and the California Franchise Tax Board. This information can be found at www.sccvitality.org (select COVID-19 Guidance and Resources for Businesses). Additionally, they are hosting regular webinars on these topics. The Small Business Development Center at Cabrillo (SBDC) is also offering help in preparing applications to the SBA and others. You can visit their website at cabrillo.edu/services/extension/sbdc.html for contact info.
I lost my job – where I can I find information on unemployment or funding available to me?
The State of California Employment Development Department is working to expedite unemployment claims for lost work, a reduction in hours, for those acting as caregivers or that have become sick with COVID-19 and are unable to work. edd.ca.gov has information on how to file for these and other circumstances.
I’ve noticed that vacation rentals and homeshares still seem to be operating as usual. Are they allowed to be renting?
Under the Governor’s order, all non-essential travel is prohibited. Therefore, local vacation rentals, homeshares, hotels and other similar lodging shall only be used for essential functions or purposes as defined by the State. For example, some vacation rentals are being used to house local and out-of-town health care workers and first responders. However, leisure travel is prohibited. Violations could lead to revocation of the owner’s vacation rental permit. The Sheriff’s Office has dedicated a team to outreach and enforcement of the shelter-in-place order and you can call the non-emergency line at to report potential violations. 471-1121
Are parks still open? It seems some people aren’t adhering to social distancing at beaches and some parks.
The Health Officer ordered all parks and beaches closed for a week during Easter and Spring Break. This is a dynamic situation and it’s possible that if social distancing principals aren’t adhered to it becomes likely additional restrictions will be placed on some (or all) functions at State and County parks and beaches. Some locations, like the skate park in Seacliff, were problematic and needed to remain closed after the one week order where as some of the open space park areas haven’t had issues. The Health Officer is working to balance the overall health and safety of the community with the health (emotional and physical) aspects of using the outdoors. She is looking at ways where low risk activities can be resumed in the coming month but where higher risk and/or emerging higher risk activities will be restricted. It’s a very difficult balance to meet and one that elicits strong, differing, opinions from the community.
Is there a place where I can speak with someone to get questions answered?
Yes. The County has a live, staffed hotline – open every day between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm. Call (831) 454-4242.
What other ways can I get information?
You can call 211 or text “COVID19” to 211211. I’m also maintaining regular updates on social media at www.facebook.com/supervisorfriend and during the shelter-in-place order I’m hosting weekly tele-townhalls on various issues on Tuesday nights from 6-7 pm. The call in information for the town halls is 454-2222 with the Meeting ID: 145384#.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns please do feel free to reach out to me. You can always call me at 454-2200.