Today’s update is filled to the brim with useful information for local businesses, renters, landlords, parents homeschooling their children, and much more! As you read through, please share these items with anybody you know who might find them useful. It is our pleasure to be able to share resources with you as we get them. Together we stand #petalumaproud!
DISTANCE LEARNING TO CONTINUE THROUGH END OF SCHOOL YEAR
In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Sonoma County Office of Education announced yesterday their plan for classes to continue via distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. CLICK HERE to read the full announcement.
Our schools and teachers have risen to the occasion, developing distance learning programs from the ground up in an effort to ensure quality education in the midst of this health crisis. We are grateful for the actions they are taking, providing our children a much needed sense of routine, normalcy, and connection during this stressful time.
As children adjust to learning from home, parents adjust to becoming full time teachers – often while attempting to work from home themselves. This is no easy task! CNN.com spoke with experts in the field and gathered some great tips on ways “regular school” parents can smoothly homeschool their children. CLICK HERE to read the full article.
How are you coping with homeschooling your kids? We’d love to hear any useful tips and tricks you can share with other parents in our community!
HELPFUL TIP: Plan activities that don’t need supervision. Create activity boxes that contain games and puzzles for toddlers and grade-school children. Child-friendly apps and favorite shows can also work. CLICK HERE for 32 totally free educational resources for kids of all ages (source: USA Today). Online schooling will help occupy older kids.
RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
The extension of the Shelter-in-Place order has many small businesses worried about what the future holds. Please know, help is available! Our Petaluma businesses are a huge part of what makes our community so special and we are committed to helping however we can.
City staff are currently reaching out to Petaluma businesses to check in and share information. If your business needs help, please contact Nancy Sands, the City’s Economic Development Specialist, by phone (707-778-4484) or email – [email protected]. We are here for you!
We are continually securing information on state and federal relief funding programs to share with you that offer advice as well as financial assistance in these tough times.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act offers significant tax-saving provisions that may impact both individuals and business owners. Topics covered include cash payments to individuals, access to retirement plans without penalty, charitable contribution, delay of employer payroll taxes, employer deferrals, credits and loans, extended tax return filing, modification of limits on corporate net operating losses and interest deductions. Businesses with no employees – such as independent contractors and “gig” workers – will also be able to take advantage of CARES Act programs.
The Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center is a great resource for learning how these programs work, and if they’re right for your situation. This local gem offers personalized help from trained advisors, as well as webinars and online tip sheets – all at no charge. Reach out to a counselor at SBDC today to determine which resources are most applicable to your situation: https://www.napasonomasbdc.org/
Links to Other Business and Financial Assistance Resources to Explore:
Economic Injury Loans and Grants
Payroll Protection Program
On March 27, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Order establishing a statewide moratorium on evictions through May 31, 2020. This Order protects tenants from evictions due to non-payment and is meant to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by allowing residents to stay in their homes.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to pay rent during the time specified in the Order, Elece Hempel, Executive Director of Petaluma People Services Center, explains it is important to be very clear and honest with your landlord. She recommends following these steps:
- Call your landlord let them know you are sending a letter informing them of your inability to pay – keep a copy for your records. Sending a hard copy is best but, if you send it via email, be sure to copy (CC) yourself on so you have a copy of it.
- Ask the landlord to confirm that they received the letter. If you don’t hear back, call them.
- Work with your landlord to put a payment plan in place. You will be responsible for all the rent at some point so even if it is a small amount each week, make the payment
- Record the payment, payment method and how you got it to the landlord; this record should be shared with your landlord every time you make a payment.
If you, or your landlord, has questions please email Petaluma People Services Center: [email protected]
PAYING BILLS TO THE CITY DURING COVID-19
As we double down on our efforts to slow the spread of the virus, the City of Petaluma has made it quick and easy to pay your utility bill without a visit to City Hall or dropping a check in the mail. Please take advantage of one of these convenient options when payment time comes around:
- Pay by Phone: Please call 1-877-484-4346 to make a secure payment by debit or credit card 24 hrs/day.
- Payment Online: You may go to online bill pay at https://www.onlinebiller.com/petaluma to make a secure payment by debit card, credit card or bank account, or enroll in auto-pay which will automatically deduct the current amount of your bill from either a debit card, credit card or bank account prior to the bill due date.
And, we have good news! If you need additional time to pay your water bill, the City has put a policy in place that allows the balance of your bill to be paid over a period of 90 days. Please contact us at [email protected] and let us know your circumstances and we will work with you to address. The City is waiving late fees are also being waived and no water shut offs will occur during this period. We are all in this together and want to do what we can to help each other get back on our feet.
DEBATING THE RULES OF SHELTER-IN-PLACE
If you’re anything like us, you’ve been hearing some debate around the exact guidelines of Shelter-in-Place. What is allowed? What do we need to avoid? It can all feel a little confusing.
The County of Sonoma recently shared a great one-page reference guide that clearly and succinctly outlines the rules. Print it out and stick it on your refrigerator to avoid any confusion!
CLICK HERE to download the one-page guide.
ONLINE CITY COUNCIL MEETING IS COMING UP!
We’re 4 days away from our first online City Council meeting! We are excited to offer you this new way to participate. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate our first foray into livestreaming – it is new to us, as it is to many of you!
We will be hosting the meeting via Zoom, an online videoconferencing platform you have probably heard mentioned quite a bit lately. Haven’t tried Zoom before? No problem! It’s free and simple to use. Check out these helpful tips to get started:
- We recommend logging in a few minutes early to allow for any minor technical issues. If, for some reason, you are unable to participate, please email or call the City Clerk. Your message will be included in the record.
Here are the ways you will be able to participate:
Written public comments may be submitted by email to [email protected]. The clerk will read public comments at the City Council meeting, not to exceed three minutes (approximately 350 words).
Spoken public comments will be accepted through the teleconference meeting only. To address City Council, please Register in advance for this webinar: