COVID-19/Coronavirus Update

COVID Business Test

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses large and small are faced with tough decisions and an overwhelming volume of information to decipher in order to survive.

Whether you need a lifeline to keep the doors open, guidance on finishing a project in Riverside, help understanding rapidly changing health and safety practices, or answers to complicated employer and employee questions, below is a catalog of resources broken into manageable categories to assist you.

Open for Business

Retail Toolkit   |   Printable PDFs & JPGs

  • Retail Fast Facts (English) PDF
  • Datos Rápidos de Venta Minorista (Español) PDF
  • 8.5"x11" - Physical Distancing PDF | JPG
  • 8.5"x11" - No Mask No Service PDF | JPG
  • 8.5"x11" - No Mask No (English/Spanish) JPG
  • 8.5"x11" - Sin Máscara Sin Servicio (Español) JPG
  • 8.5"x11" - 1 Shopper per Household PDF | JPG
  • 8.5"x11" - Open for Business PDF | JPG
  • 11"x17 - Physical Distancing PDF | JPG
  • 11"x17 - No Mask No Service PDF | JPG
  • 11"x17 - 1 Shopper per Household PDF | JPG
  • 11"x17 - Open for Business PDF | JPG
  • Floor Sign - Physical Distancing PDF | JPG



  • CA Department of Public Health: Frequent updates about the COVID-19 virus including State Health Emergency Announcements, Quarantine, and Social Distancing Guidelines.
  • CA Franchise Tax Board: The Franchise Tax Board announced special tax relief for California taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Affected taxpayers are granted an extension to file 2019 California tax returns and make certain payments to June 15, 2020, for all tax filings and payments due between March 15, 2020, through June 15, 2020.
  • Cal/OSHA: Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus: Workplace safety and health regulations in California require employers to protect workers exposed to airborne infectious diseases such as the coronavirus. Cal/OSHA has posted guidance to help employers comply with these safety requirements and to provide workers information on how to protect themselves.
  • CA Tax and Fee Administration: The CDTFA has the authority to assist individuals and businesses impacted by complying with a state or local public health official's imposition or recommendation of social distancing measures related to COVID-19. This assistance includes granting extensions for filing returns and making payments, relief from interest and penalties, and filing a claim for refund. For more information, click here.
  • CA Treasurer's CalCap Program: Special Loan Program which encourages banks to make loans to small businesses that have difficulty getting financing.
  • Open for Business Hub: The Open for Business Hub lists technology companies that are helping small businesses by enabling remote work throughout this period.

Development and Construction


  • COMING SOON! - The City of Riverside Approves New Program Providing Grants to Small Businesses (En español)

  • SBA - Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
    SBA - Coronavirus (COVID-19): Orientación y recursos de préstamos para pequeñas empresas
     Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL): In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. 
         ◦ Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance: This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.
    • Paycheck Protection Program: An SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
    • SBA Express Bridge Loans: Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
    • SBA Debt Relief: The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • CALIFORNIA SMALL BUSINESS LOAN GUARANTEE PROGRAM & DISASTER RELIEF LOAN GUARANTEE PROGRAM - The State’s Small Business Finance Center (SBFC) partners with Financial Development Corporations to provide loan guarantees and direct loans for small businesses that experience capital access barriers. These loan guarantees and loans are available for small businesses located in California with 1 to 750 employees or eligible non-profits. Funds can be used for start-up costs, new construction, inventory, working capital, export financing, franchise fees, business expansion, lines of credit, gap financing, agriculture, and disaster relief. For more information,  click here.

  • JUMP START LOAN PROGRAM - The Jump Start Loan Program (Jump Start) helps small businesses start, grow, and thrive. Jump Start provides microloans, technical assistance, and financial literacy training. This program is available to small businesses or individual(s) becoming a small business, located in California. Borrowers must be a low wealth entrepreneur with a business located in a declared disaster area OR must be a low wealth entrepreneur located in a low-wealth community within BOTH a county with a per capita income equal to or less than 115-percent of the statewide average AND a city or unincorporated area with an unemployment rate equal to or greater than the statewide average. Borrowers’ annual income must be equal to or less than the statewide average. Loan proceeds must be used in California and funds must be used for start-up costs, property, buildings, machinery, equipment, inventory, or tenant improvements. For more information, click here.

  • CDC SMALL BUSINESS FINANCE EMERGENCY LOANS - CDC Small Business Finance is offering emergency microloans and working capital loans in addition to their usual loan offerings due to the COVID-19 crisis. Click here for the details on their different loan programs.

  • FACEBOOK SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS PROGRAM - They know that your business may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. They are offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help small businesses. For more information, click here.

  • PACIFIC COMMUNITY VENTURES SMALL BUSINESS LOAN PROGRAM - Pacific Community Ventures is a non-profit that specializes in helping small businesses who have trouble qualifying for loans gain access to capital. For more information on the program, click here.

  • LENDISTRY LOAN PROGRAMS - Lendistry offers several different types of loans including lines of credit. For more information on their different loans and terms, click here.

  • KIVA - Kiva is a non-profit that expands access to capital for entrepreneurs around the world. They have crowdfunding and loan options. Entrepreneurs can raise up to $15,000 with no interest and now, entrepreneurs in the U.S. can qualify for a six-month grace period on repayment. For more information, click here.

  • ACCION SMALL BUSINESS LOANS - ACCION is a nationwide network of lenders. ACCION provides small businesses with loans from $300 to $100,000, as well as providing free business counseling and other services. For more information about the Southern California branch, click here.

  • OPPORTUNITY FUND - They are a national non-profit business lender. Opportunity Fund is committed to supporting existing and new small business customers who are financially struggling amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information, click here.

  • AMPAC MICRO AND REFINANCE LOANS - They offer several different loans to small businesses and are offering micro and refinance loans to small businesses affected by COVID-19. For more information, click here.

  • EXIM BANK - The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) is announcing relief provisions for exporters and financial institutions located throughout the United States that may have been affected by COVID-19. EXIM is offering the relief measures listed below, including waivers, deadline extensions, streamlined processing, and flexibility, to our customers for an initial period of 30 days (with the possibility of a further extension of the period, at EXIM’s discretion). For more information, click here.

  • AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION COVID-19 ASSISTANCE LIST - The ABA has created a centralized list of bank relief programs that are available here

  • EATER LIST OF RELIEF FUNDS FOR RESTAURANTS, BARS, AND FOOD SERVICE WORKERS - Eater has compiled a list of relief funds for food and drink service businesses and workers. Some of these funds offer loans, microloans, or grants. Click here to learn more about the various funds available.

  • RIVERSIDE COUNTY SMALL BUSINESS LOANSThe County of Riverside is strongly committed to serving its small business community. As a response to the COVID-19 virus-pandemic that has negatively impacted many in our business community, the County, in partnership with AmPac Business Capital, has established a COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Program, consisting of two separate loan programs totaling $1 million in available assistance. These programs are designed to help provide small businesses with emergency capital cash flow during this immediate health crisis.  Click here to review Riverside County’s Economic Development Agency financial assistance loans.

Predatory Lending 

Predatory Lending

Unfortunately, small business owners are common targets for predatory lending. It can be difficult for small businesses to get loans, especially startups with no track record of success. The reality is when unable to qualify for a loan from a mainstream bank, you’re left with fewer options. Some of the places you might be tempted to turn for a loan might practice predatory lending, which is harmful to your growing business.

Most of your borrowing experience to date has probably been with major commercial banks or credit unions for mortgage loans, or with financing companies for car loans. These transactions are highly regulated with laws that cover the way they’re handled, and protections built-in for both borrowers and lenders. Don’t expect the same when it comes to small business lending. You may actually even be shocked by how some companies do business in this far-less-regulated area.

One of the oldest bits of advice is still one of the best: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It’s also one of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to making a decision about what kind of funding to get for your business and where to get it so that you don’t fall prey to predatory lending practices.

What is Predatory Lending?

There is no single legal definition for predatory lending, but the FDIC’s Office of Inspector General has called it “the imposing of unfair and abusive loan terms on borrowers.” There are two ways this happens. First, the language of the terms of the loan may sound reasonable but actually be anything but. Second, you understand the terms aren’t favorable, but feel you don’t have any other options. Either scenario is a potential recipe for trouble, so let’s explore what to watch out for.

7 Warning Signs of Possible Predatory Lending

Some lenders will use deceptive, sometimes even fraudulent practices to try to attract you. If you’re not careful, you could wind up with terms that are very unfair to you, ones that could possibly cripple your business.

On their own, some of the warning signs may not be enough to steer you away from a specific loan or lender (although some truly do raise red flags), but when you start to see two or more, be on your guard for sure. This deal is probably not in your best interest.

So how do you know if a lender is reputable and above-board? The following warning signs may indicate predatory lending practices.

1. Unclear Pricing and Terms

Red Flag: Lack of transparency, fees/interest rates not listed as APR or listed in a format that is hard to calculate.

In an ideal world, each and every lender would be upfront about the fees, risks, and terms of the loan. Shady lenders may use unusual terms or formats to keep you from getting a clear sense of what’s going on. They may also try to rush you into accepting the loan before you’ve had time to review and clarify everything.

If all of the terms of the loan aren’t clear to you, don’t sign. You’ll need to know what fees to expect, what interest rate you’ll be charged, whether there will be any balloon payments or penalties for early repayment, what the repayment terms are, and what happens if you make a late payment. Your lender should be able to answer all of those questions clearly and completely.

2. Aggressive or Abusive Broker Practices

Red Flag: Brokers who don’t disclose extra interest or fees or push you into accepting a loan you’re not fully comfortable with.

Find out whether you’re paying a kickback to the broker. Brokers can inflate the interest rate on your loan and call it a “yield spread premium” to cover their fees. That means you’re paying more than you have to. Your broker should be upfront and honest about his or her fees.

3. Pre-Payment Penalties

Red Flag: Penalties for paying the loan off early, fees for extra items like insurance.

Lenders make money when they charge interest on your loan. That means each party has competing goals: your incentive is to pay off the loan early to save money and their incentive is to discourage early pay off or refinancing so you pay as much interest as possible.

A small fee for prepaying the loan is typical, but you should be wary of any lender who demands a big fee. You should also be cautious about a lender who agrees to an early payoff in exchange for an even larger loan – they use that tactic to keep you trapped in a revolving door of debt.

4. Approval Is Too Easy

Red Flag: Offers fast and easy approval with little or no required documentation.

Reputable lenders require documentation, including detailed information about business plans and existing finances, before offering financing. Even microlenders, who specialize in small business loans and are usually more flexible than traditional banks, still have a thorough application process.

If a lender approves you for a loan without performing proper due diligence, it may be a sign that you’re not working with a scrupulous organization. It’s tempting to take a loan that doesn’t require all that groundwork, but it indicates that the lender isn’t concerned with the actual viability of your business plan. That means they’re planning on making their money whether you’re successful or not – usually through high rates and fees.

5. Abnormal Payment Structures

Red Flag: Payments debited daily, weekly, or as a percentage of sales.

Don’t agree to payment terms that vary from day to day or month to month. Payment should be consistent across- the board and that schedule should be documented. You need to know how much you owe and how much you’ll be paying every month or every few weeks – you don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you never know when they’ll pull money out of your account.

6. Short Term Loans

Red Flag: Loans that must be repaid in a very short time.

Short term loans may also be called “Payday Loans” or “Car Title Loans.” “Tax Refund Anticipation Loans” are a similar form of short-term cash advance with an exceptionally high APR. These short-term loans allow you to borrow against your employer-issued paycheck, your vehicle title, or your pending tax refund. They often have extraordinarily high-interest rates and severe penalties for nonpayment. These lenders are betting that you won’t be able to pay them back on time, so you’ll get stuck racking up interest charges and fees.

In many cases, these “alternative lenders” fall outside the regulations that apply to traditional banks, meaning you don’t have the legal protection you would when dealing with a reputable institution. However, they may offer funding in the form of traditional business loans or lines of credit, which can be deceiving unless you’re looking closely at the terms and conditions.

7. Not Willing to Answer Questions

Red Flag: Hard to contact, dodge questions about cost and terms.

Reputable bankers want to work with you to help you achieve your goals. They want to understand your business and work with you to achieve financing that will boost the future of your business, not burden it. They want you to understand what you’re signing up for – they want you to actually be able to repay the loan. If the lender won’t respond to your questions, they may have something to hide.

Predatory Loan Types

In general, you’ll be safe from most predatory lending practices when you borrow from a reputable bank, credit union or microlender. Areas where there may be regulatory gaps include many forms of short-term loans such as Payday Loans or Car Title Loans, where you borrow against a paycheck or the title for your car.

Payday Loans and Car Title Loans typically carry extremely high annual percentage rates and can trap borrowers in a cycle of debt. Tax Refund Anticipation Loans are a similar form of short-term cash advance with an exceptionally high APR.

So-called “alternative lenders” can also be problematic, as many fall outside the regulations that apply to traditional banks. Funds from these lenders can range from true business loans to cash advances, lines of credit, and personal loans. Your payments will include interest and fees, and unless you look closely, you may not realize the APR can easily top 50%.

How to Protect Yourself

By reading this article, you’ve already taken the first step, which is to educate yourself about what predatory lending is and how to spot it. Other, concrete steps you can take include:

Take your initial request for funding to a traditional bank or local credit union.

If you’re turned down, ask about reputable financing options. Accion Chicago’s Steve Hall points out that microlenders like Accion that specialize in small business loans are usually more flexible, and may approve you when a traditional bank won’t.

Talk to trusted financial professionals.

Hall notes that many small business owners are so enthusiastic to start and grow their businesses, they may not be aware of all the resources available to them. This enthusiasm can lead to making quick decisions that don’t always turn out to be in the best interest of the business, and predatory lenders know this and prey on it. Accion recommends working closely with an accountant or bookkeeper. Make sure your financials are current and you’re keeping them updated. This allows you to anticipate cash flow needs before they become urgent.

Beware of unsolicited offers.

Offers of loans through the mail, over the phone, or door-to-door solicitations are suspect, and reputable lenders typically don’t operate in this way.

Avoid overpromises.

Steer clear of lenders who promise you loan approval regardless of your credit rating or credit history. Talk with a banker, even if you might not be approved by a traditional bank, to gain an understanding of what you should be able to qualify for and realistically payback.

Don’t rush.

It’s tempting to take the first offer that comes along, especially if your business needs immediate financing to grow, or worse, stay afloat. But don’t let yourself be hurried into signing paperwork you don’t fully understand or with terms you shouldn’t agree to.

Faster is not always better. You want a lender to take your current financial and personal situation into consideration to ensure that the loan is what’s best for you. That takes time. Think long term. How is this going to affect your cash flow and profit? Can you afford the payments?

Understand the interest rates and fees.

Ask for a breakdown in writing so you know exactly what you’re paying for and how much you’re agreeing to. Insist on seeing all the fees and charges ahead of time, including any prepayment penalties. If they won’t tell you, don’t take the money.

Often you will owe interest on the advance regardless of whether you pay it early. Don’t be afraid to question rates that seem out of proportion. And most importantly, do NOT agree to a loan with terms or payments that you can’t afford.

Decline additional services.

You don’t want or need additional credit, health or disability insurance (and if you do, you will almost certainly find them available elsewhere for less.)

Watch out for prepayment penalties.

Prepayment, if you can manage it, may not be in the lender’s best interest, but it is in yours. Don’t accept a loan that penalizes you for being able to pay it off early.

Read reviews and research.

See what past customers have to say about the lender. Also, see if the lender has signed the Borrowers’ Bill of Rights.

Use your best judgment.

Sadly, when you’re feeling desperate, it’s easy for good judgment to go out the window. Predatory lenders make victims of vulnerable individuals every day just because a short term need has overtaken a lifetime of common sense. If your gut is telling you a deal may not be kosher, listen.

Accion’s Steve Hall cautions the danger is real, and companies have been forced to close because they didn’t have the cash available to pay off their loans. At best, it becomes a vicious cycle, with businesses taking out additional loans or merchant cash advances as they try to keep up with payments. Hall says, “Most business owners hope the funds would be available and they would never have to use these products again. I have seen one business take seven merchant cash advances.”

Don’t sign any documents that contain blank spaces. Don’t agree to payment terms that may vary from day to day or month to month. Read every piece of paper carefully, and have a trusted friend (or better yet, your attorney or accountant) read them as well.

Information above provided by Accion.

Employers & Employees

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR GUIDANCE  - The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a press release with employer and employee guidance on the effects the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will have on paid sick leave, family and medical leave. Click here to review this document.

U.S. WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION - The U.S. Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has put together answers to commonly asked questions related to how COVID-19 affects wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. They have also put together information on how the recently passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act will affect paid leave for both employers and employees. For more information on these subjects,  click here.

FECA COVERAGE FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WITH CORONAVIRUS - The Division of Federal Employee’s Compensation (FECA) has stated that employees who contract COVID-19 while working will qualify for full coverage of relevant medical treatment and wage loss. However, to be eligible for this coverage, the employee must have a confirmed positive test that is proven to have resulted from exposure that occurred while working. There will be no coverage or payment for exposure that does not lead to the contraction of COVID-19 and wage loss and medical treatment from preventative measures will also not be covered. Click here to review what a federal employee who contracts the Coronavirus Disease is entitled to.

GO-BIZ COVID-19 - The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development has compiled helpful information for employers, employees, and all Californians as it relates to the cornonavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Click here to access this site which includes links on how to support employers and employees who are susceptible to the virus’ disruption.

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION (OSHA) WORKPLACE GUIDELINES - Workplace safety and health regulations in California require employers to protect workers exposed to airborne infectious diseases such as the Coronavirus. Cal/OSHA has posted guidance to help employers comply with these safety requirements and to provide workers information on how to protect themselves. Click here to review OSHA information for workers and employers about the evolving Coronavirus outbreak.

CDC RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYERS - Click here to learn how to plan, prepare, and respond to the Coronavirus.

U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS - While COVID-19 has pushed many companies to adopt remote work practices, Click here for some ideas to consider for employees who do not have the option to work remotely.

OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) works closely with a number of federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide updated information to Federal agencies and employees as it becomes available. Click here to view the latest information.

Health and Hygiene Resources

The Riverside Marketplace has been established to connect vendors in our community and Riversiders. They are currently accepting vendors who are:  making fabric face masks. Learn more: https://theriversidemarketplace.com/

  • CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH - California is actively working with the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local governments, health facilities, and health care providers across the state to prepare and protect Californians from COVID-19. Click here to access the most up to date health-related information.


Title Date & Time Link Organizer
Ask SBDC Daily Calls Webinar Every Weekday, 3:00 p.m. PST Register Here SBDC
America's SBDC Restaurant Rapid Recovery Series May 27, June 2, June 9, June 16, at 10:00 a.m. PST Register Here SBDC
Workplace Hygiene & Safety 05/27/2020, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. PST Register Here GRCC
How to Start a Small Business 05/27/2020, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. PST Register Here IESBDC
Cafecito Wednesday With The Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 05/27/2020, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PST Register Here GRHCC
Introduction to Quickbooks Online (Class 3) 06/02/2020, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. PST Register Here IESBDC
Loans for Your Small Business 06/03/2020, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. PST Register Here IESBDC
Cafecito Wednesday With The Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 06/03/2020, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PST Register Here GRHCC
Preparing to Return to Work: What You and Your Employees Need to Know 06/09/2020, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. PST Register Here IESBDC
Level Up With LinkedIn 06/09/2020, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. PST Register Here IESBDC
Incorporating Your Small Business 06/10/2020, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. PST Register Here IESBDC
Cafecito Wednesday With The Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 06/10/2020, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PST Register Here GRHCC
How to Start a Small Business 06/11/2020, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. PST Register Here IESBDC
Understanding Your Financials 06/16/2020, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. PST Register Here IESBDC
Cafecito Wednesday With The Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 06/17/2020, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PST Register Here GRHCC
Loans for Your Small Business 06/18/2020, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. PST Register Here IESBDC
You are the Brand - Building Your Image Online 06/23/2020, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. PST Register Here IESBDC
Cafecito Wednesday With The Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 06/24/2020, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PST Register Here GRHCC
Previous Webinars      
Ask SBDC Daily Calls Recording    
My Store Front Is Closed? How Do I Sell My Goods Online? Recording    
Survival Strategies for Tech Startups Recording    
SBA Disaster Loan Recording