Supporting Small Business More Important than Ever

This past week has been a difficult one in the West Alameda Business Association (WABA) office. We have fielded multiple calls from local businesses who are suffering a significant slowdown in business. It is during these trying times that we look to come together as a community for safety, security and comfort.  As Alamedans we take pride in our huge sense of community and neighborly spirit.  

So, we encourage each and everyone to first, be safe, and secondly, remember to support one another; this includes our local business community.

Here are some ways locals can still practice good social distancing while continuing to patronize the businesses that are the lifeblood, color and character of our community. 
• Consider placing a delivery or to-go order from one of our many restaurants.  Several are available through Uber Eats, Caviar, GrubHub, Doordash and Postmates. Others, if you ask kindly, will even bring an order out to your car!
• Pick up a grab and go smoothie or coffee and enjoy it safely in the sunshine.
• Shop at the Farmers’ Market. The regular Tuesday and Saturday market will stay open as long as it is safe. 
• Help a senior neighbor and shop local. If your neighbors, friends, or family are in high-risk groups and need more isolation, offer to pick things up for them from local businesses. Shopping Alameda businesses online can be just as effective as buying from major corporations.
• Shop online, via phone or attend a virtual webinar. Many businesses have online shopping available; local and independent shops will help via phone, Facetime or other methods, if necessary. Others are looking at ways to bring their experiences online with virtual webinars or streaming events.
• Buy gift cards. Enjoy them later while supporting small businesses now, when they need it most.
• Give a favorite local business a shout-out. It doesn’t cost a thing to give kudos to favorite local businesses via social media, Yelp or Google reviews. It’s an incredibly difficult time for small business owners, and every bit of visibility and amplification helps.
• Let WABA know about businesses that can use some extra support. We’re here to amplify, encourage, and connect independent businesses in need to consumers who care.
• Share this article and information widely so others know how to help.

WABA thanks the Colfax Avenue Business Association for several of these recommendations.

WABA would like to highlight just a few businesses that are working to weather the storm. Feathered Outlaw will be launching a series of virtual events, bringing their popular classes to an online format. East Ocean Seafood Restaurant will be closing for in-house dining but they are open for takeout and delivery orders. Leann’s Nails and Al’s Barbershop are selling gift certificates for future services.

Mastick Programs Canceled

Note Mastick Senior Center at Bay Street and Santa Clara Avenue will no longer be hosting its diverse offerings. Until further notice, Mastick Senior Center will only be providing a noon meal to those who have preregistered. The meals are to be picked up and enjoyed at home. 

“This might change into a delivery service at some point,” said Jackie Krause, recreation manager at the center. “Things are changing by the moment.”

Resources for Workers Impacted by COVID-19 
• Information on the use of paid sick leave related to COVID-19 is available now from the State of California. Note that paid sick leave may be used for illness, treatment and preventative care (e.g. self-quarantine).
• Sick or quarantined workers may be eligible to file for state disability insurance, with benefits ranging from 60 to 70 percent of wages (depending on income) and from $50 to $1,300 a week. 
• Workers caring for an ill or quarantined family member maybe able to file for up to six weeks of paid family leave. Benefit amounts are approximately 60 to 70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50 to $1,300 a week. 
• Workers whose hours have been reduced or who have been laid off due to COVID-19 may be able to file for unemployment insurance (UI). UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own. 
• Workers who miss work to care for a child who is not ill, but home due to a school closure, may be eligible for UI. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis. 

For a complete list of resources and answers to frequently asked questions from California Employment Department (EDD) see www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm.

As always, it is a great pleasure to represent and advocate for West Alameda, a neighborhood I call home. I can be reached at linda@westalameda business.com or 523-5955.