City Extends Closures Through May 1, 2020
Tuesday, March 31, City Manager Lorie Tinfow announced that City buildings and facilities will remain closed to the public through Friday, May 1, 2020, in recognition of the continuing need to minimize exposure of City staff and the public to the COVID-19 virus. Staff will continue to be available to answer questions and provide resources and referrals, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Contact information is available on each department’s page on the City’s website, www.ci.benicia.ca.us, or call the Community Services phone line at 707-746-4285, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 p.m.
The Phenix Dog Park has been closed effective today, due to the high number of people using the park without observing appropriate social distancing protocols. At this time, all other parks remain open, however, playgrounds are closed. Parks and other facilities may close without notice in order to ensure proper social distancing. While outdoor exercise is encouraged, large groups congregating is prohibited.
“Our residents may be going stir-crazy at this point, but we all know the importance of sheltering-at-home to limit exposure to COVID-19,” said City Manager Lorie Tinfow. “If you see a group of people congregating, go somewhere else for your fresh air. We want to keep our parks open for our residents but will be forced to close them if social distancing requirements are not met.”
In other COVID-19 news, donation and volunteer information is now available on the City of Benicia Coronavirus page https://www.ci.benicia.ca.us/coronavirus along with the latest updates. The latest updates and resources for Benicia businesses are available at https://www.beniciabusiness.com/covid-19.
Benicia Unified School District announced the extension of all school closures through May 1, 2020
Parents or students may drive or walk up to any of the locations listed below to pick-up breakfast and lunch for their students. Each student will receive a lunch for the day and a breakfast for the next day. They will be put together in a grab-and-go bag for your convenience.
Student Meal Pick-Up Procedures:
New Extended Date: Monday March 30 through Friday May 1 (served Monday through Friday)
Robert Semple Elementary School2015 E 3rd St, Benicia, CA 94510
*Entrance of the Staff Parking Lot
Time: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Benicia High School 1101 Military W, Benicia, CA 94510
*Turn into Plaza de Oro and keep right pass the gates until you see us
Time: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
91 Riverview Terrance Complex*Look for the Benicia USD Van
New Time: 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM, (starting March 30)
If you have not signed up for these student meals, please reply to this email: email@example.com and let us know if your child(ren) will pick up a free student meal and which Pick-Up Location will be used. Please include the student name(s), so we can anticipate how many student meals to prepare.
Order Staying Evictions in the City of Benicia
On Sunday, March 22, City Manager Lorie Tinfow, in her authority as Director of Emergency Services, signed an order staying evictions for non-payment of rent in the City of Benicia in accordance with California Emergency Services Act and Benicia Municipal Code in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
The order does not relieve tenants of liability for unpaid rent but puts a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent due to the impact of COVID-19 and includes provisions for eviction notices and no-fault evictions. Under the order, tenants have a responsibility to let their landlord know that they are unable to pay some or all of their rent due to COVID-19. Payment is then due within 60 days of May 31, 2020, or when the order expires whichever is later.
The order staying evictions will remain in effect until May 31, 2020 or until superseded by a resolution of the Benicia City Council.
Moratorium on utility disconnections and late fees; Due dates for business tax payments extended
Effective March 17, the City of Benicia implemented a moratorium on utility service disconnections and late fees for non-payment due to the COVID-19 emergency and the current closure of City Hall offices. The deadlines for business license tax and transient occupancy tax payments are also extended.
The utility-related changes will apply to both residential and commercial water and sewer customers and tax deadline extensions will apply to all businesses, until June 15, 2020.
“We know that the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 emergency and the current shelter-at-home order has created a financial strain on our residents and businesses,” said City Manager Lorie Tinfow. “We are extending due dates to relieve some of the stress in dealing with the current situation.”
To further support customers who may be impacted by the pandemic, the City will offer its most flexible payment plan to customers who indicate either an impact or hardship as a result of COVID-19. Simply fill out the Payment Arrangement Agreement found online at www.ci.benicia.ca.us/UtilityBilling and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although the City’s offices are closed to the public, customers may still make payments in many ways:
– Calling 1-866-344-1979
– Paying online at www.ci.benicia.ca.us/UtilityBilling
– Using the drop box located in front of City Hall, 250 East L Street. (Do not leave cash in this depository.) If you have questions about starting or stopping water services or other service- related issues, please go to www.ci.benicia.ca.us/UtilityBilling and fill out the appropriate form, then email it to email@example.com.
More information on the City of Benicia’s response to the COVID-19 emergency can be found at www.ci.benicia.ca.us/coronavirus.
Business resources and support
During the unprecedented and unexpected business closures and shelter-at-home orders, many Benicia business owners find themselves in dire need of help to weather the COVID-19 emergency. The City of Benicia’s Economic Development division is sharing business support information and resources.
“In the past week, our business community and their employees have grappled with changing guidelines and ever more stringent restrictions. We know that this has caused great uncertainty and anxiety,” said Economic Development Manager Mario Giuliani. “The City’s Economic Development staff are focused to assist our businesses to learn about and apply for the programs developed by our State and Federal partners to support employers and employees during this emergency.”
Rapid Response Services for Businesses
Solano Small Business Development Center is standing by to help businesses facing potential layoffs or business closures. Start by filling out the client intake form at https://www.jotform.com/build/200757157479162 or reach out to Pamela Clemmons at 707.307.3986.
Aid with Loan Applications
The Northern CA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network produced multiple webinars last week to help small businesses weather the current storm and to specifically provide help with completing the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan application. The webinars are available at https://www.norcalsbdc.org/coping-covid-19-webinars-northern-california-sbdc-network. There is a place for businesses to enter their contact information so that they will be sent invitations and links to all upcoming webinars that will occur over the next few weeks.
SBDC and SBA Assistance Links
The SBDC and the SBA are there to help businesses with no-cost advising and assist with apply for SBA Economic Injury loans:
• One-on-One (no-cost) SBDC Advising at https://www.solanosbdc.org
• Download the COVID-19 Small Business Survival Guide at https://www.norcalsbdc.org/sites/default/files/Covid-19-survival-guide_sbdc_updated32020.pdf
• SBA Disaster Loans at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
• Information on State and Federal support, financing and FAQs at
• State Go-Biz resources and assistance at https://business.ca.gov/coronavirus-2019/
Essential Business Definition
A key question many have been asking is about the Governor’s stay-at-home order and what is an essential business. This link provides helpful information to determine what is deemed an essential business: https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/