Resources to help local businesses adjust to new CA laws in 2021

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For Ian and Kimberly, co-owners of Libelula in downtown Fresno, pandemic challenges are shining a light on their loyal customer base keeping them afloat.

"Even though they can't sit down with us they still like the food enough to grab it and take it home," says Ian.

Just one year after opening the business, their clientele had grown so much, they considered expanding hours and starting a Sunday brunch.

But COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders meant those plans would be put on hold.

"The week we were going to start doing all of that was when they closed down and they said no more indoor dining," says Kimberly.

Even with restrictions briefly allowing for limited indoor and patio dining, the duo saw a 50% reduction in revenue.

Small businesses like theirs will now have to add new laws going into effect in 2021 to their list of challenges.

RELATED: New California laws that go into effect in 2021

The first requires businesses to notify employees and the public of a coronavirus exposure at the workplace within one day of exposure. Chef Ian says that's a step they already take because they consider employees and customers family.

"We've swayed and moved in all the ways that they told us to and not that it's good for business whatsoever but we feel it's the right thing to do," says Ian.

Employers must also start offering 12 weeks of family leave, something current law only requires of companies with 50 or more employees.

And minimum wage will go up $1 per hour. It's a welcome change for many workers, but difficult timing for those who have to come up with the extra money.

"These increases in wages really are impacting small businesses with COVID-19, making it difficult for these small businesses not only to be profitable but to be able to stay open," Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig.

But there are avenues of support.

At the state level, small business relief grant and the main street small business tax credit.

Supervisor Magsig says Fresno County offers a number of grants through CARES Act dollars and the board continues to look for ways to get businesses back on their feet.

"The county has also approved a relief package program for businesses that have licenses through the county health department and where they can demonstrate that they've been impacted by not being able to operate at full capacity," he says.

Businesses can also reach out to their city leaders.

Libelula owners tell us the city and downtown Fresno partnership were instrumental in finding them financial support and other resources.
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