Concord Forward

COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Business Resources

Concord Forward: How the City of Concord is Supporting Local Business

Below is a list of resources for local businesses. Please navigate down the page or choose a link to jump to each section:

Update on Local Restrictions

Effective June 15, 2021, Contra Costa County has removed local restrictions on business activities. In concordance with Beyond the Blueprint, the statewide framework for reopening the economy, color-coded tier systems no longer exist and businesses may return to usual operations.

Indoor Mask Requirements (Expired)

Effective February 16th, 2022, Contra Costa County lifted universal mask requirements for most indoor public settings. Indoor masking is still required by the State for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in public transportation; health care settings; congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters; long term care facilities; and in K-12 schools and childcare settings. Businesses, venue operators, and hosts may determine their own paths forward to protect staff and patrons and may choose to require all patrons to wear masks.

The City of Concord has partnered with the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce to print and distribute customer signage, available in both English and Spanish. Businesses may print the signage on 8.5 x 11 paper (full and half-sized), or request delivery.

Proof of Vaccination for Indoor Dining and Gyms (Expired)

Effective February 4, 2022, Contra Costa County’s health order requiring certain businesses, including restaurants and gyms, to verify the vaccination status or recent negative test results of customers is no longer active.

Download a digital copy of your COVID-19 vaccine record here.

For general information on the pandemic and how the City of Concord is responding, please visit the City of Concord COVID-19 Updates page. 

Concord Forward Action Plan

UPDATE: The Concord Forward Action Plan expired on November 10, 2022, as City Council passed Ordinance 22-11, which ended the Concord Forward Action Plan and lift certain suspensions of municipal code enforcement at their October 10, 2022 meeting. For more information on what that will entail, please contact Robert Carrera, Economic Development Specialist, at 925-671-3018 or robert.carrera@cityofconcord.org

On June 9, 2020 the Concord City Council adopted an urgency ordinance approving the Concord Forward Action Plan, allowing the City to take several actions in support of the Concord business community as we work together to rebuild the local economy.

Comprised of two broad efforts, the Concord Forward Action Plan focuses on Reopening Guidance and Sustainable Recovery. The City is committed to providing assistance to the business community as restrictions in the health orders are lifted to allow more businesses to operate, while continuing to seek input from a wide array of sectors and stakeholders as we work to achieve a sustainable recovery.

To further support businesses, the urgency ordinance authorizes the temporary waiver of certain municipal codes and fees that would otherwise create impediments as businesses seek to reopen safely and quickly.

View Concord Forward Action Plan >

ARPA Small Business Reimbursement Grant

Update: The grant application is now closed. Applicants will receive a status update on November 30. A second round of funding will become available in spring 2023.

Funded by $2 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding, the ARPA Small Business Reimbursement Grant will provide a one-time grant of $5,000 to small businesses that continue to experience financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide grants to 370 small businesses, split equally over two grant rounds.

The online application will open on Monday, November 7 at 8:00 am and close on Friday, November 18 at 5:00 pm. A webinar to explain the application process will take place on Tuesday, November 1 at 3:00 pm.

Learn More About the ARPA Small Business Reimbursement Grant  >

Shop Concord Gift Card Program

Update: The latest Buy-One, Get-One promotion has now ended. Local merchants can still sign up to accept Shop Concord e-gift cards for free by visiting the link below.

The City of Concord and Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce launched Shop Concord, a community e-gift card program, free to businesses, to help businesses increase sales while also keeping dollars local. Originally launched in November 2020 around Thanksgiving with a special promotion for consumers, the e-gift cards are purchasable through a centralized Yiftee community card website and redeemable at any participating Concord business.

Learn More About Shop Concord >

Temporary and Permanent Outdoor Operations (Expired)

As authorized by City Council by the Concord Forward Ordinance passed on June 9, 2020, the City of Concord is offering free, temporary licenses for businesses seeking to establish outdoor operations. Businesses may utilize approved outdoor operation areas and setups until November 10, 2022, after which date expanded outdoor operations must cease and temporary setups must be removed. Businesses not yet taking advantage of the program may continue to apply for a license until March 31, 2022.

Outdoor operations on public property, such as public sidewalks, streets and/or parking, is only allowed in the downtown and requires a temporary encroachment permit in addition to the temporary master license.

To further support businesses as the local economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Concord is waiving the fees for the permitting process to establish a Sidewalk Café and Outdoor Eating Area through September 30, 2022. As a result of this waiver, qualifying businesses that serve food and beverages can establish permanent outdoor eating areas without incurring permitting fees.

It is highly encouraged that businesses interested in taking advantage of the fee waiver contact the Planning Division to determine whether there is potential at their site for a permanent Sidewalk Café or Outdoor Eating Area through the review and approval of an Administrative Permit. Applications from businesses outside the Sidewalk Café boundaries may require an Administrative Permit or Minor Use Permit.

The Concord Forward Ordinance also allowed businesses to display temporary banners. Businesses may keep these banners up until October 31, 2021, after which date businesses must apply through the regular process.

For application assistance on any of the above programs, please email the Planning Division.

July 15, 2021 Letter to Businesses (Extension Notice) >

August 26, 2021 Letter to Businesses (Fee Waiver Notice) >

May 27, 2022 Letter to Businesses (2nd Extension Notice) >

September 27, 2022 Staff Report (Item 9B) >

FAQs – Temporary Master License Program >
*Includes information about temporary signage

Sidewalk Café/Outdoor Café Permit Application >

Site Plan Example >

Hazard Pay for Grocery Retail Workers

On March 30, 2021, the Concord City Council passed an urgency ordinance requiring Large Grocery Stores to pay an additional $5 per hour of hazard pay to grocery retail workers in Concord, effective immediately. “Large Grocery Stores” refers to grocery stores with more than 300 employees nationwide.

The mandate expired on July 28, 2021.

For more information, contact Guy Bjerke, Director of Economic Development & Base Reuse, at guy.bjerke@cityofconcord.org or 925-671-3076.

Urgency Ordinance Establishing Hazard Pay for Grocery Retail Workers >

Measure V Commercial Rent Relief Program

Update: The application period closed on Friday, May 14, 2021 at 5 p.m. The list of 95 grant recipients is viewable here.

The Measure V Commercial Rent Relief Program will provide a one-time grant of $10,000 to small businesses that have experienced adverse financial impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by Measure V sales tax revenue, the program will provide commercial rent relief to 95 small businesses within the City of Concord.

Participation by both the commercial tenant and landlord are required. Small businesses with at least $10,000 in commercial rent arrears accumulated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that meet the eligibility requirements, may apply. Commercial rent relief will be paid directly to landlords.

The online application opened on Monday, April 26, 2021 at 8:00 a.m. and closed on Friday, May 14, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. The selection process will consist of an initial screening of applicants based on priority criteria, followed by a lottery should the number of qualified applicants exceed the amount of funding available.

Learn More About the Measure V Commercial Rent Relief Program >

Concord Eviction Moratorium

In an effort to provide temporary relief to businesses in Concord impacted by COVID-19, on March 25, 2020, the Concord City Council voted unanimously to place a moratorium on evictions and rent increases. Originally in effect through May 31, 2020, in concurrence with Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-28-20, the City of Concord’s urgency ordinance expired on June 30, 2021. The repayment period is 90 days for each month of missed rent, with the cumulative time period starting July 1, 2021.

Contra Costa County’s urgency ordinance continued protections, specifically to small businesses, until September 30, 2021. Small businesses are defined as independently-owned and operated businesses not dominant in their field of operation, with principal offices in California, 100 or fewer employees, and average annual gross receipts of $15 million or less over the previous three years. Commercial tenants must provide adequate documentation showing their inability to pay rent due to loss of income, out-of-pocket medical expenses, or government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Concord small business under the County’s urgency ordinance who demonstrate hardship will have until November 30, 2021 to pay back past due rent for the period from March 16, 2020, to September 30, 2021. They are also subject to the repayment period outlined in the City’s urgency ordinance for past due rent for the period from March 16, 2020, to June 30, 2021, which could be applicable beyond the November 30, 2021 deadline depending on the specific circumstance. 

To learn more about the County eviction moratorium, read the FAQs.

Commercial landlords and tenants with compliance concerns can contact the City of Concord Economic Development and Base Reuse Department: Robert Carrera, Economic Development Specialist, at robert.carrera@cityofconcord.org. If you are looking for information on residential relief, please contact the Housing Division.

Business License Relief Program

Local businesses with business license renewals due during the shelter-in-place order were able to defer payment without penalties or fees. The due date was September 30, 2021.

Please note that, while the program is being made available to all businesses with renewals due during the shelter-in-place order, businesses that are able to pay their renewal fees during this time should make the payment if their finances allow. Payment can be made online via the Business License Portal.

View FAQs for Business License Relief Program >

Virtual and In-Person Permit Centers Open

The BuildingEngineering, and Planning Divisions of the Community Development Department are processing all permits online via our Virtual Permit Center. Our offices are also open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., with staff available to respond to any general inquiries and assist you with your project. Inspectors are performing inspections on all project types. 

Businesses seeking information on zoning, permit requirements, and fees may utilize our Permit Pal tool. If you have any questions regarding building permits, please visit the Building Division’s home page. For questions regarding planning permits or zoning information, please visit the Planning Division’s home page or contact the staff member assigned to your project. 

Additional COVID-19 Business Resources

To help mitigate the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Concord has highlighted a variety of federal, state and other resources that businesses can pursue. For more information, please visit the City of Concord COVID-19 Business Resource Page.