Coronavirus and San Diego’s economy

Updated April 2, 2020 at 11:00am

Like much of the world, we’ve been watching as COVID-19 progresses. For the general population in San Diego, the risk of infection of COVID-19 is currently low. However, we’ve put together this page to provide guidance and support for San Diego businesses affected by the change.

Paycheck Protection Program

Begin applying April 3

Part of the recently passed stimulus package, the $349 billion program will provide partially forgivable, low-interest loans to businesses with 500 employees or fewer. Loans can be used to offset operating costs including payroll, retirement benefits, mortgage/rent and utilities. If used for allowable costs only, and if the company maintains the same number of employees, 10 weeks of operating costs can be forgiven. Companies are encouraged to apply through their existing SBA Lender.

The SBA itself doesn’t lend you the money, they just “back” the loan that the lender provides. You can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program through any SBA-approved lender—you can check out the SBA’s Lender Match tool to find a lender. Sole proprietorships can apply starting April 3. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply starting April 10. You are encouraged to apply early as there is a funding cap for this program. You have until June 30 to submit an application.

Stay Informed

Text COSD COVID19 to 468-311 to sign up to receive real-time text message alerts about COVID-19 from the County of San Diego

Take the Survey

Help us understand the impact
EDC has partnered with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the San Diego & Imperial SBDC on an economic impact study. Please take this short survey to help us assess the impacts.


Local Impact & Updates

  • Effective March 20, the California Governor has declared a “Stay at home” order. Individuals are instructed not to leave their homes unless essential. More info.
    • Essential businesses include:
      • Gas stations
      • Pharmacies
      • Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out, and delivery restaurants
      • Banks
      • Laundromats/laundry services
    • Essential workers (as of March 22), include individuals in the following sectors:
      • Healthcare/Public Health
      • Emergency Services (law enforcement officers, EMTs, firefighters)
      • Food & Agriculture (grocery store workers, farm workers)
      • Energy (electricity workers, petroleum workers)
      • Water & Wastewater (water authority staff, water infrastructure support workers)
      • Transportation & Logistics (workers in aviation, mass transit, postal, shipping)
      • Communications & Information Technology (workers in communication infrastructure, independent system operators and regional transmission organizations)
      • Community-Based Government Operations (workers in critical government functions, elections personnel, trade officials)
      • Critical Manufacturing (workers essential for medical supply chains, water & wastewater
      • Hazardous Materials (workers at nuclear facilities, workers managing medical waste, workers managing waste from pharmaceuticals and medical material production)
      • Financial Services (workers who are needed to process and maintain systems for processing financial transactions and services)
      • Chemical (workers supporting the chemical and industrial gas supply chains, including manufacturing of hand sanitizer)
      • Defense Industrial Base (workers who support the essential services required to meet national security commitments to the federal government and U.S. Military)
  • Effective March 23, all public parks, beaches, and trails in the cities of San Diego and Carlsbad are closed.
  • The City and County of San Diego declared public health emergencies and stay at home orders are in effect.
  • The County of San Diego Department of Health and Human Services is working to closely monitor any suspected cases to protect the public’s health and prevent the disease from spreading. Please refer to the County for the most up-to-date information

Resources for Companies Looking to pivot Manufacturing Operations


Guidance for SD Companies Developing COVID-19 Diagnostics, Vaccines, or Medicines

As a life sciences hub, San Diego leads the way in developing cures and vaccines. Below is an ongoing list with funding opportunities we’ve found to further R&D and vaccine development for COVID-19, as well as some updates from San Diego companies at the forefront of progressing a cure. San Diego Regional EDC is a privately-funded non-profit, but if we can help provide support in any way, please contact us.

San Diego companies involved in scientific remedies for COVID-19

Guidance for Companies

For combating COVID-19 at work – It is strongly suggested that companies institute remote working capabilities! Non-essential businesses must follow ‘shelter in place’ orders
Please head to the Centers for Disease Control for additional information

Production Resources/Needs
Many local San Diego companies are pivoting operations to address COVID-19 related items, such as developing PPEs and others supplies and resources. We created this open source document to help better connect companies with available resources. If you are looking to make respirator masks or ventilators, PPEs, hand sanitizer, or have the capacity to help other companies with crucial aspects of the supply chain, please use this sheet….and THANK YOU!


Other resources for local companies
Note, these resources were compiled to help companies. With the exception of Advancing San Diego, EDC does not administer any of these programs directly. Please use the hyperlinked info to get in touch with the program administrator.

    • City of San Diego – Economic Relief Package – The City of San Diego has recently announced an economic relief package of approximately $4 million that reduces fees, provides certainty, and offers support to local employers affected by the global pandemic known as COVID-19. Programs include:
      • San Diego Small Business Relief Fund: $2 million in micro loans available to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
      • Tax Certificate Deferral Program: Business owners will be not penalized for late renewal submissions for up to 120 days; also includes a one-year forgiveness period for Business Tax Certificate penalties and surcharges when reestablishing delinquent accounts
      • Commercial Utility Deferral: Suspends water billing fees, removing penalties for late payments, and ensuring there are no commercial account shut-offs. This mirrors previous relief provided to families in San Diego struggling to make payments to keep current during uncertain times
      • Extension of All Business Permits: Extension will last for 180 days and can be stretched further upon review. Usually, discretionary items would be automatically closed after 90 days of inactivity. This change will not only allow them to be open longer, but the City will be working with customers on a case by case basis
    • City of San Marcos –  COVID-19 Business Sustainability Program – The program will set aside up to $3,000,000 of the City’s General Fund Reserves for a short term business loan program. Learn more.
    • Other small business loans:
      • SBA: California has been declared an eligible area for disaster loan assistance. Recovery and Resiliency Assistance: The US SBA and the State of California have low-interest loan options per the disaster declarations. The San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as resource partners of both the SBA and California Go-Biz, are here to provide small business owners no-cost guidance through your recovery process, including applying for disaster recovery loans if needed. We are still providing these services online and will in-person again soon. Please contact the SBDC directly.
      • South County Restaurant Loan: South County EDC is offering a no-interest loan to eating establishments in South County in order to provide some economic relief during these difficult times. Establishments can apply for a one-time $5,000 loan. Apply here.
      • LISC Small Business Recovery Fund: Thanks to a $2.5 million investment from Verizon, LISC is offering grants to help small businesses fill urgent financial gaps until they can resume normal operations or until other more permanent financing becomes available. The first round of applications is due April 4. Apply here.
      • CDC Small Business Finance
        • C-19 Emergency Relief Microloan – Small businesses affected by COVID-19 can apply for a loan to cover operational expenses such payroll, rent or mortgage. Businesses that are open or temporarily closed due to COVID-19 related mandates are eligible with loans amounts of up to$50,000 available. The streamlined application process involves applying, submitting a Dec. 31, 2019 financial statement, and bank statements from the previous three months. Applicants will be given a decision within 48 hours and could expect funding within 4-7 business days. The loan has a variable rate consisting of the prime rate, 3.25% + (1%). For more information, please visit the CDC Small Business Finance resource page. Apply here.
        • C-19 Emergency Relief Working Capital Loan – Small businesses affected by COVID-19 can apply for a loan to cover operational expenses such payroll, rent or mortgage. Businesses that are open or temporarily closed due to COVID-19 related mandates are eligible with loans ranging from $20,000 to $150,000 available. The loan has a variable rate consisting of the prime rate, 3.25% + (2.75%-6%) depending applicant’s combined business and personal credit. Applicants will be given a decision within 48 hours and could expect funding within 4-7 business days. For more information, please visit the CDC Small Business Finance resource page. Apply here.
    • Online tools: If you are a small business that is new to online tools, please contact us – we’ll put you in touch with a member of our community that has offered to help businesses get set up with Zoom and other online tools
    • Internet: Cox Communications and Viasat are boosting speeds and lowering fees for individuals working at home. Learn more
    • Electric bills via SDG&E: SDG&E will waive late payment fees for business customers whose finances have been hit hard. Please contact SDG&E directly.
    • Crisis communications support via KCD PR: The PR team is offering pro-bono crisis communications support to small businesses & nonprofits. Fill out this form to get started
    • Layoffs: If your business is in the process of laying off or furloughing employees, please contact the San Diego Workforce Partnership or call (619)228-2982
    • Distilleries interested in producing hand sanitizer: Please follow these federal guidelines from the TTB (and thank you!)
    • Business consulting via Chairmen’s Roundtable: Small businesses & non-profits can get pro-bono business consulting through Chairmen’s Roundtable. Fill out this form to get started.



Request EDC Assistance

We’re here to help. If you would like assistance from EDC, please use this form. Once we receive your responses, we will make every effort to reach out to you within 24 hours.

Request EDC assistance

Guidance for Individuals

Experiencing impacts to employment or wages:

    • Sick or Quarantined – If you’re unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim
    • Caregiving – If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim
    • Reduced Hours – If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operatons due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim
    • Evictions – there is currently a statewide moratorium on evictions

Other Resources:

  • For Scripps Health patients, a hotline has been set up: 888-261-8431 (staffed 7am – 9pm)
  • Call Sharp HealthCare at 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277) with your questions about COVID-19.  Sharp is pleased to offer this resource from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (PDT).

At San Diego Regional EDC

  • The office is currently closed, but all of EDC’s staff is working remotely
  • All EDC events and committees have been postponed or are being held virtually. Please reach out to the staff lead on the committee for additional information

COVID-19 Useful Links

Like you, we don’t have all the answers, but we’re hoping by working together, we can help mitigate some of the effects. If we can help in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Lastly, even amidst this pandemic, there are still a lot of positive things happening in San Diego (and the world) – let’s make sure to continue those conversations as well. You can sign up for “Good News of the Week” below to learn more.


Submit a Resource

Know of a resource that we should add? Please use the form below. We are looking to curate the best localized resources for companies.

  • We are specifically interested in localized services that will help businesses throughout San Diego County
  • If you have a PDF, please upload it here. Due to the volume of requests we receive, we will not be able to continuously update your PDF. A website link above is preferred.
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