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:
- Concord Forward Action Plan
- Shop Concord Gift Card Program
- Temporary and Permanent Outdoor Operations (Extended)
- Hazard Pay for Grocery Retail Workers (Expired)
- Measure V Commercial Rent Relief Program (Closed)
- Concord (& County) Eviction Moratorium
- Business License Relief Program
- Building & Planning Permits
- Important Federal, State & Other Resources
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, with the exception of mega events.
Contra Costa County has created a summary of Beyond the Blueprint, which includes Masking Requirements and Guidance, Vaccination Verification Guidance for Businesses, Venues or Hosts, and General Restrictions for Indoor & Outdoor Settings.
Indoor Mask Requirements
While Beyond the Blueprint does not require social distancing for customers, as of August 2, 2021, Contra Costa County requires that all people, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public areas.
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.
Beginning November 1, 2021, Contra Costa County will lift masking requirements in certain indoor settings where everyone is fully vaccinated. Eligible settings are in controlled spaces not open to the general public, including offices, gyms and fitness centers, employee commuter vehicles, indoor college classes and organized gatherings in any other indoor setting, such as a religious gathering.
Participating businesses, organizations and hosts must verify that all patrons, employees and attendees are fully vaccinated before allowing people inside their facilities not to wear face coverings. There can be no more than 100 persons present at these facilities, and the group of those present must gather on a regular basis.
Indoor-masking requirements remain in effect for the time-being in public settings, such as bars, restaurants and retail stores until other targets are met. Masking would also still be required in indoor K-12 school settings.
Proof of Vaccination for Indoor Dining and Gyms
Effective September 22, 2021, Contra Costa County requires patrons utilizing the indoor facilities of restaurants, bars, theaters serving food, and fitness studios to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test from the past 3 days, to gain entry. This order does not apply to patrons dining outdoors, briefly using the restroom, or picking up food or goods.
Beginning November 1, workers at businesses serving food and drinks indoors or fitness facilities must show proof of vaccination or provide negative test results to their employer.
The mandate to provide vaccination proof or a negative test result to patronize and work in indoor settings is authorized by the September 14, 2021 public health order. To learn more and access printable flyers, visit the FAQ page and see Tools for Businesses.
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
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.
Shop Concord Gift Card Program
The City of Concord and Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce launched Shop Concord, a community e-gift card program that is 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.
Temporary and Permanent Outdoor Operations (Extended)
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 June 30, 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 June 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 by January 21, 2022 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.
FAQs – Temporary Master License Program >
*Includes information about temporary signage
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 925-671-3076.
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.
Concord Eviction Moratorium
These are extraordinary times and companies of all types are being impacted. 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 email@example.com. 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 can defer payment without penalties or fees. The new due date is 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.
Virtual and In-Person Permit Centers Open
The Building, Engineering, 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.