COVID Business Update for Carlsbad Businesses

Joint Communication to Carlsbad Businesses Regarding COVID-19 #27

On Tuesday, San Diego County moved closer to the red tier, but did not yet cross the threshold to move to this less restrictive tier. County metrics have been progressing in the right direction and we are optimistic that we should advance to the red tier in the coming weeks. Last week, the state announced additional criteria, like vaccine distribution, to its tier-status determination. This additional criteria is expected to help San Diego County move to less restrictive tiers faster. The county anticipates it could be as early as March 17. To see the latest tier status and what that means for different industries, visit the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy page.

In preparation for a future move to the red tier, here’s a reminder of what will change:

  • Restaurants will be able to open indoors up to 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums will be able to open up to 25% capacity
  • Retail will be able to open up to 50% capacity
  • Gyms and fitness centers will be able to open indoors up to 10% capacity
  • Movie theaters will be able to operate indoors up to 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less
  • NEW – April 1: Live sports will be able to have up to 20% audience capacity
  • NEW – April 1: Live outdoor events with assigned seating will be able to open with up to 20% audience capacity

As the county moves through less restrictive tiers, the city’s temporary outdoor activation program will continue to allow businesses to operate on private property or in the public right of way with the appropriate permits. This program is intended to help businesses mitigate lost indoor operating space due to health order restrictions. Any business interested in activating outdoor space, can visit this page for more information.

Updated Relief Programs for Businesses

This table shows the most common available relief programs and expenses they can be used for.

Deadline Approaching – Paycheck Protection Program

The deadline to apply for the current PPP round is March 31. Please note that not all financial institutions are processing PPP loans. If you are interested in applying for a PPP loan, but are having trouble finding a lender, try this resource. You are not obligated to use a local lender.

American Rescue Plan

As was noted in our City Manager’s Update earlier today, Congress passed the final bill, the President signed the American Rescue Plan into law, today. The Associated Press has a good summary of what’s included, from direct payments to individuals, extended unemployment benefits, aid for schools and business, plus a lot more. This will be welcome news to everyone who has been impacted by this year-long pandemic.

Restaurant Relief

Part of the American Rescue Plan includes grants equal to the amount of a restaurant’s revenue losses, up to a maximum of $10 million per company and $5 million per business location. Eligible companies cannot own more than 20 locations, and they cannot be publicly traded. The bill sets aside $5 billion for the smallest restaurants, whose annual revenue is $500,000 or less. As program details become available, we will include in a future Joint Communication.

California Small Business Relief Grant

The fourth funding round for this grant program will open March 16 and close March 23. It is reserved specifically for non-profit cultural institutions.

The fifth round will open March 25 and close March 31. Waitlisted applicants will be considered in this round. New applicants will need to apply through the program website.

The sixth round has been announced but no specific dates have been cited.

Other state programs

California Small Business Rebuilding Fund applications are being accepted now


Updates to Carlsbad Business Loan Program

The Carlsbad Business Loan Program has been updated to provide increased access to relief and rebuilding funding for Carlsbad small businesses to keep operations going. There are two loan types for Carlsbad small businesses.

  • Small business microloans of between $5,000 -$10,000 for businesses with $2,000,000 or less in gross revenue or 15 or fewer employees
  • Small business recovery loans of between $10,000 – $50,000 for businesses with $5,000,000 or less in gross revenue and 50 or fewer employees
  • Both loans types include scaled interest rates depending on how quickly the loan can be repaid. Neither loan type is forgivable. Access the application


Applicants may also apply for multiple loan products if they meet all eligibility requirements. Those that have been approved for a loan, may reapply for a second loan up to the current total limit. No business may receive more than $60,000 total between all loan products.



The city’s communications team has been diligently promoting ways that residents and guests can safely patronize our Carlsbad merchants. With ads being featured on platforms across North County, and resources being developed for Carlsbad businesses to help promote our safe environment, the campaign both shows how we can all support our business community and how some of our Carlsbad businesses are going the extra mile to keep us safe. Keep checking back as this program evolves to feature new resources.

Inclusive Recovery – Stakeholder Engagement Opportunity

Between February and May 2021, the City of Carlsbad Office of Innovation and Economic Development is assessing COVID-related impacts and response for future economic strategy and programming. As part of the process, a series of stakeholder engagement sessions with local businesses and intermediaries will provide essential context on COVID impact, city response, and potential gaps to address.

The week of March 22, OIED will be hosting a series of stakeholder input sessions, with emphasis around business support organizations, innovation companies and start-ups, tourism businesses, local small businesses, and disables, veteran, minority, and women-owned businesses. To participate, please contact us at [email protected] for more information.

With the anticipated tier change and continued progress toward further reopening, the Office of Innovation & Economic Development is available to assist businesses with challenges they may be facing through the recovery. Please email us at [email protected] with any questions.

Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce