COVID-19: What You Need to Know
This is our general COVID-19 page, for dedicated pages, click below:
California Stay at Home Order
As of March 19, the Governor, the California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health are ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, critical government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction.
This goes into effect on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The order is in place until further notice.
More information can be found through the COVID-19 California Website.
California Public Health Officials Release Guidance on Use of Cloth Face Coverings
California’s public health officials released guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to protect against COVID-19 for Californians who must leave their homes to conduct essential activities.
The guidance does not require people to wear face coverings – and is not a substitute for the state’s current guidance regarding social distancing and hand washing. The state also does not recommend Californians use N-95 or surgical masks, which are needed for our health care workers and first responders who will be there for when our lives at risk.
COVID-19 Health Updates & Information
Ventura County: https://www.ventura.org/covid19/
Ventura County Hotline: 2-1-1 call at any time to speak to someone and ask a question regarding specifically on Ventura County resources and updates.
Santa Barbara: https://publichealthsbc.org/
Santa Barbara Call Center: (833) 688-5551 ( 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Updates for Homeowners and Renters
The Governor has placed a temporary moratorium on evictions for the next 60 days only if a tenant:
- Were previously current on their rent.
- Notifies their landlord in writing of their inability to pay, either before rent is due or seven days thereafter.
- Has documentation of their inability to pay due to COVID-19.
- Tenants remain obligated to pay the full rent in a timely manner.
It also forbids county sheriffs from evicting tenants who meet these requirements. The protections last until May 31, 2020. For more information, visit his Executive Order.
The executive order does not:
- Prevent eviction lawsuits from being filed, even if a tenant complies with the above requirements.
- Protect commercial tenants, including small businesses, from eviction.
- Specify how sheriffs are supposed to know that tenants are entitled to the extra 60 days. This may lead to evictions of tenants who are, for example, seeking medical treatment when the sheriff comes to enforce a lock-out order.
- Halt no-fault evictions, such as for property renovations.
What you should do if you are an at-risk-tenant:
- Notify their landlord in writing no later than April 7, 2020, and again (if they are still unable to pay their full rent) no later than May 7, 2020, of their inability to pay rent. This could be by email, text message, or something handwritten or typed that they deliver or mail to their landlord so that it reaches by the 7th.
- If they receive a notice to pay rent or quit, and are then served with an unlawful detainer (eviction) complaint for non-payment of rent, they should immediately (a) file with the court Judicial Council Form MC-030, (b) state in the form that they are requesting a 60-day extension of time to respond based on Executive Order N-37-20, and (c) attach a copy of the written notice they provided their landlord. Link to the form: https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/mc030.pdf
- Keep all documentation of their inability to pay rent in a form that they can show their landlord, the court, and the sheriff.
- Save up what they can to pay back rent when the March 27 EO’s protections expire.
In addition, tenants should research what additional eviction protections their local government has put into place. Low-income tenants may be eligible for free legal services through local legal aid nonprofits. A list is available at https://lawhelpca.org.
Over 200 CA financial institutions have agreed to a 90-day pause on mortgage payments to those with proof of financial impact due to COVID-19. This includes Citi, US Bank, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan. Please, contact your mortgage servicer to opt-in before stopping payments. For a full list of institutions visit: https://dbo.ca.gov/covid19-updates-fi/
Lastly, the California Legislature authored a letter urging Congress to increase funding to give tenants more time to make rent and provide landlords forbearance on mortgages if renters cannot pay. In addition, we asked Congress to suspend commercial rental payments for businesses and non-profits that are facing financial hardship due to the pandemic. COVID19 Letter to Congress
Beware of Scams
Unfortunately, there are people that are using COVID-19 to defraud people across the country. Here are some resources and tips to help protect you or your family from COVID-19 related scams:
- Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers are trying to get you to buy products that aren’t proven to treat or prevent the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores. At this time, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for the virus.
- Fact-check information. Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn’t been verified. Before you pass on any messages, contact trusted sources. Visit What the U.S. Government is Doing for links to federal, state and local government agencies.
- Know who you’re buying from. Online sellers may claim to have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies when, in fact, they don’t.
- Don’t respond to texts and emails about checks from the government. The details are still being worked out. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.
- Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.
If you experience illegal price gouging on housing, gas, food, or other essentials, submit a complaint at http://oag.ca.gov/report or call 800-952-5225.
School Closures & Meal Services
Ventura County: https://www.vcoe.org/news/ArticleID/4714/coronavirus
Ventura School Meal Service during COVID-19 Closures: https://www.vcoe.org/meals
Santa Barbara County: https://sbceo.org/emergencyinfo-2/
Santa Barbara School Meal Service during COVID-19 Closures https://sbceo.org/student-nutrition/
Food Bank North County, 490 West Foster Road. Santa Maria CA 93455
(805) 967-5741 / Mon. – Fri.: 7:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Food Bank South County, 4554 Hollister Avenue, Santa Barbara CA 93110
(805) 967-5741 / Mon. – Fri.: 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Food Share Ventura County, 4156 Southbank Road., Oxnard CA 93036
(805) 983-7100 / Mon. – Fri.: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Resources for Seniors
The following Agencies on Aging are responsible for planning and administering services for seniors across the state.
528S Broadway, SantaMaria, CA 93454
646 County Square Drive, Suite 100, Ventura, CA 93003
Phone: 805-477-7300 Email: LOIS.VCAAA@ventura.org
Meals for Seniors
If you are or know of a senior who is in need of a meal now or in the near future, visit Meals on Wheels of America to contact your local resources.
The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) (Individual Annual Taxes)
The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced special tax relief for California taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Affected taxpayers are granted an extension to file 2019 California tax returns and make certain payments until July 15, 2020, in line with Governor Newsom’s March 12 Executive Order.
If possible, taxpayers should continue to file tax returns on time to get their refunds timely, including claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and Young Child Tax Credit. During this public health emergency, FTB continues to process tax returns, issue refunds, and provide phone and live chat service to taxpayers needing assistance. MORE INFORMATION.
Extension to file and pay have also been extended until October 15 for personal, partnership and LLCs. For a full list of extensions based on the return type, view their chart.
Utilities and Services
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and utilities under its jurisdiction are supporting communities during these challenging times, here are some local utilities and services:
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)
PG&E has implemented a moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment, effective immediately. This suspension will apply to both residential and commercial customers and will remain in effect until further notice. To further support customers who may be impacted by the pandemic, PG&E will offer its most flexible pay plans to customers who indicate either an impact or hardship as a result of COVID-19.
Southern California Edison
Southern California Edison announced that it is suspending service disconnections for nonpayment and waiving late fees, effective immediately, for residential and business customers impacted by the COVID-19 emergency.
Effective March 16, Spectrum commits to the following for 60 days:
- Collaborate with school districts to ensure local communities are aware of these tools to help students learn remotely.
- Open Wi-Fi hotspots across our footprint for public use.
- Spectrum will not terminate service or charge late fees for residential or small business customers who face difficult economic circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Effective Monday, March 16, COX Communications is providing:
- Limited-time, first month free of Connect2Compete service, $9.95/month thereafter.
- Until May 15, 2020, they are providing phone and remote desktop support through Cox Complete Care at no charge to provide peace of mind and ease for technology needs.
- Resources for discounted, refurbished equipment through their association with PCs for People.
For the full list of utilities and services, please visit https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/covid/.
Resources for Non-Profits
Small Businesses Disaster Loan:
Non-profits can qualify for a disaster loan through the Small Business Administration at a lower interest rate, please visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ .
The Santa Barbara Foundation (SBF) and the United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) announced a partnership that will provide financial support to address the needs of individuals and families in Santa Barbara County as well as the nonprofits who serve them. To support the efforts of the nonprofit community, the Santa Barbara Foundation is organizing webinars and organizations by topic areas that have been identified by grantees and other social sector partners; you can find the list of webinars at https://www.sbfoundation.org/sbf-events/
Resources for the Undocumented Community
The Supreme Court’s decision on the pending DACA case may still be released at any time from now until June 2020.
Informed Immigrant has an online clinic tracker, where you can find with organizations across the state clinics that are hosting DACA renewal workshops/meetings. They are updating their site as more clinics are changing to virtual methods.
As of March 18, USCIS suspended all routine in-person services until at least April 1.
Biometrics appointments at USCIS have been rescheduled until further notice. When USCIS again resumes normal operations, USCIS will automatically reschedule Application Support Center appointments due to office closure. According to USCIS, if you do not receive a new appointment notice by mail within 90 days, call 800-375-5283.
Application processing. USCIS staff may continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public, such as processing centers. Currently, it is unclear if any cases are still being processed, including DACA renewals.
Additionally, as always, with or without DACA you have rights.
With a few exceptions, undocumented workers qualify for benefits and remedies provided to workers by both federal and California law. More information.
The 805 UndocuFund is a collective effort among Ventura and Santa Barbara County-based grassroots organizations to assist local undocumented immigrant individuals and families who are excluded from federally funded safety net programs; that have been economically impacted by the loss of their homes, wages, and/or employment due to disasters in our community like wildfires, mudslides, and COVID-19.
They are currently fundraising and hiring staff to serve the community. They will open applications to receive assistance soon.
The DMV continues to provide essential services via mail, online, kiosks, its call center at (800) 777-0133, available business partners and virtually to process critical transactions, including eligible driver license and vehicle registration renewals, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The DMV encourages customers to use another service channel if their transaction does not require an office visit. These services are listed on the DMV Online Services and DMV Anytime webpages and include change of address, replacement sticker or registration card, notice of transfer and release of liability, and vehicle license fee refund requests, among others.
Starting April 2, the Virtual Field Office at virtual.dmv.ca.gov can process title transfers and complex vehicle registrations that would otherwise have to be accomplished in an office. More services will be offered through the Virtual Field Office in the coming weeks.
Please remember all DMV field offices are closed until further notice.
Due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline beyond the current October 1, 2020 deadline. States will have a twelve-month delay and the new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2021.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA has many resources online, including a COVID-19 Rumors Control page that will debunk many of the rumors out in the community.
COVID-19 and California Public Schools
Questions for CDE about an emergency?
Related issues may be directed to EmergencyServices@cde.ca.gov.
SB 117 (urgency measure ): The bill contains changes for education programs that ensure local educational agencies continue to receive funding during the COVID-19 emergency and allow for flexibility for local educational agencies to continue to provide educational options to their students. It addresses school district funding, afterschool programs, child development programs, special education, and English learners, among other topics.
California Department of Education Guidance:
The CDE has issued guidance related to the following topics, and plans to update the information every Friday:
- Distance learning
- Ways to gain access to the internet
- Special education
- Nutrition and student meals
- Child care and student supervision
- Special education: U.S. Department of Education guidance
Executive Orders Regarding the CDE:
- March 18 Executive Order: The order suspends standardized testing and seeks federal waivers.
- March 13 Executive Order: The order provides that even if schools close temporarily because of COVID-19, school districts must:
- Continue delivering high-quality educational opportunities to students through other options, distance learning and independent study;
- Safely provide school meals through the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option, consistent with the requirements of the California Department of Education and U.S. Department of Agriculture;
- To the extent practicable, arrange for supervision for students during ordinary school hours
- Continue to pay employees.
Those who are uninsured and/or do not have a primary health care provider and are symptomatic of virus can call 211 for assistance.