Long Beach City Council Directs City to Develop Economic Relief Package for COVID-19 Emergency

Yesterday, the Long Beach City Council unanimously voted to direct City staff to develop an economic resiliency program which would assist Long Beach families, workers and small businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“This public health emergency is also an economic emergency,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “We are taking decisive action to support families and small businesses that need support. No one should lose their home due to this crisis and this economics package is just the beginning.”

City Council directed the City Manager to work with the City Attorney’s office and other relevant departments to review a wide-ranging package that will include the following measures:

  • A moratorium on all COVID-19 related non-payment of rent evictions on commercial and residential units through May 31, 2020. Also, a prohibition on late fees and a prohibition on Section 8 terminations by the Housing Authority of Long Beach (HACLB).
  • Emergency loan assistance programs to small businesseswho have suffered significant losses as a result of COVID-19.
  • A review of sick and disability leave processes and enhancements for City employees who must miss work due to COVID-19.
  • A possible transit occupancy tax (TOT) or other revenue-sharing opportunity to support hotels experiencing significant economic impacts.
  • A slate of measures to support laid off or furloughed employees (or those at risk of such actions) through streamlined Employment Development Department processes and assistance for those not eligible for unemployment payment. Policies could also add protection against layoffs or furloughs or give priority when re-hiring commences.
  • A review of parking meter enforcement policies and options for relief.
  • A review of the Housing Trust fund and eligible uses of the fund to assist those in need.
  • Partnerships with financial institutions and lenders to prohibit foreclosures or halt mortgage payments for individuals who have suffered loss of wages as a result of COVID-19.
  • Potential resources and partnerships to safely assist people under self-quarantine due to COVID-19, prioritizing seniors.
  • Training opportunities with the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services on COVID-19 prevention for businesses in the tourism and restaurant industries.

“We are so thankful to the Mayor and City Council for acting quickly to aid the people of Long Beach during this public health emergency,” said Acting City Manager Tom Modica. “To implement their direction, City staff have established an economic resiliency unit and are working as quickly as we can to ensure that our policies and programs support the immediate response to the economic emergency unfolding in the City of Long Beach.”

Major goals for the Economic Resiliency unit include:

  • Coordinating strategy to support economic resiliency.
  • Emergency business assistance support programs, including technical assistance.
  • Access-to-capital partnership programs, such as emergency loans and grants.
  • Income preservation and augmentation, including unemployment insurance and  childcare support.
  • Employer resiliency programs including layoff aversion and work share.
  • Connecting available labor supply with demand, such as irregular work and contract opportunities.
  • Temporarily reducing costs for government regulation, such as regulatory cost relief or deferral.
  • Residential and commercial housing preservation and retention.
  • Industry-specific economic resiliency and recovery programs, including customer generation and worker retention.
  • Online connectivity for all residents, students and business owners, aligning with the City’s digital inclusion initiative.

An emergency ordinance will come back to City Council soon for adoption. City staff will report back to City Council on the feasibility and implementation of the requested items. Businesses and workers impacted by the economic emergency should call (562) 570-4BIZ or visit http://www.longbeach.gov/economicdevelopment/covid-19-business-support/ to access existing small business loan, technical assistance, and unemployment benefits insurance programs provided by the City.