Written by Beckett Glass (News Writer)
“We truly feel like a valued member of this strong community and we are feeling the love.” The owner of Mission Hill Creamery said talking about a local fundraiser run by the local non-profit Santa Cruz Works called Ride Out The Wave, during this crisis, the local economy in the County will change and affect small businesses, hospitals and most importantly the residents of the area.
In times of crisis, Americans come together to help, our county is no different. Ride out the Wave, the aforementioned organization run by Santa Cruz Works, lists hundreds if not thousands of businesses that you can purchase gift cards from to help them stay open, like Kuumbwa and Atlantis Fantasyworld.
The county Office of Economic Development has resources on their website for small businesses to stay open in these times of crisis, the Coordinator of this Office Andy Constable was asked: “What effect will the outbreak have on the local economy?”. He replied “Short and long-term impacts to our local economy must include the consideration of impacts felt on a national, state, and regional level, which have yet to be fully defined. We will also need to understand the impact on local non-essential businesses that are required to remain shuttered until May 3rd, and what percentage of job losses will be temporary. Therefore, making an economic forecast during this global pandemic is like shooting at a moving target.” Constable also explained how the office of economic development is mitigating the effect on the local economy. He said”The Santa Cruz County Office for Economic Development is working diligently to help reduce the impact of the pandemic on the local economy in the following ways: We created a page of business resource links that we posted on the County’s economic development website (www.sccvitality.org) called “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance and Resources for Businesses.” The Office of Economic Development has also put out informational webinars for small business owners about financial aid and advisement they can get from the state and federal governments.
In the throes of this crisis, the sleepy valley that we call home will still bear a brunt of the economic effect of this pandemic. Fortunately, the County, State, and Federal governments have all made a plan to mitigate the force of the economic effect. Federally, the CARES act which is a 2.2 trillion dollar relief bill that will go to small businesses, citizens and companies, will be able to take some of the force of it off of our community. One of the most important aspects of the CARES act is that it will give tax rebates to individuals up to $1,200 (subjected to limits by total income) and an additional five-hundred dollars per child. The act also contains a Paycheck Protection Program which allows for complete forgiveness for a loan to pay up to 8 weeks of pay and for assistance for expenses such as utilities and rent. With the condition that all employees are kept on the payroll or rehired quickly.
Other actions have been taken by the State of California, such as moving the tax deadline for 2020 (for various taxes) to July 15, 2020. California also has a Small Business Relief Payment Plan which allows for small business taxpayers (Those who make less than five million in taxable sales) to have interest free loans over twelve months.
One of the economic industries of our valley that will take a hit is our tourism industry as visitation to our local state parks will drop and that will bring some economic damage to our county because when people stop visiting our state parks and then they will not be shopping our spending at local businesses.