April 9, 2020 Update from Supervisor Connolly

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Thank you for making Marin an example of residents who are willing to do their part.  The latest statistics show that our first in the country Shelter In Place order, and diligent social distancing, is paying off with slower rates of infection than other states.  Though it feels like we have been sheltering in place for a long time (its been 24 days but who is counting), the end is not yet in sight.  This is the hard part.  The number of cases are still expected to rise.  Please keep minimizing contact with others, and take care of yourself.   


I’d like to share some exciting news for our local businesses. 


San Rafael Small Business COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund  


Since March 16th, I have been collaborating with San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips, the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, local financial institutions, and others to help small businesses struggling to maintain cash flow and financial solvency during these unprecedented times. The County of Marin, the City of San Rafael and the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce came together with the common goal to help small businesses sustain their operations due to the pandemic and shelter-in-place mandate.  I am pleased to report that the pieces of this public private partnership have come together. 


On Tuesday, April 14th, I will be asking my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors to support an allocation to match what the City of San Rafael is contributing to the Fund.  It is anticipated that the City will contribute $50,000, and I will ask the Board to approve a County match of $50,000.  In addition to providing relief to San Rafael businesses, the goal is for similar partnerships to be developed in other cities and towns and chambers of commerce in Marin.  The Fund being established in San Rafael can serve as a model to expand the program countywide. 


The small business community has always been the backbone of the Marin economy and a strong contributor to our quality of life. Businesses and their employees have been impacted in unprecedented ways and quick action is needed.  Marin County has always been a family and this collaboration highlights the important role businesses play in that family.  


The Relief Fund will allow qualified small businesses to apply for one-time grants in amounts up to $5,000 to help pay for immediate operational costs, including but not limited to rent, payroll, utilities, and loan payments.  Applicants are encouraged to take advantage of other programs being offered to businesses, including loans offered through the Small Business Administration This will allow for business owners to keep operations moving forward in an effort to infuse the local economy with much needed dollars now. 


To date, approximately $175,000 is available in the Fund, which is being administered by The San Rafael Chamber Educational Foundation, Inc.  A business will be eligible for funding if its sales have dropped by 40% or more.  The business must be licensed by the City of San Rafael, have fewer than 25 employees and have annual sales in San Rafael of $1 million or less.  Applications will be available on the San Rafael Chamber website early next week


I’m proud to see the community rally around our small businesses.  If you are interested in donating to the San Rafael Small Business COVID19 Disaster Relief Fund, please submit checks to the San Rafael Chamber Educational Foundation, Inc., 817 Mission Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901.  The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, Tax ID no. 84-2355703.


It is more important than ever that the dollars we are spending are spent locally.  #ShopLocal 


Additional Economic Resources of Interest 


The Marin Small Business Development Center provides expert no-cost advising and has free workshops on COVID related topics to guide small businesses.  They work as a partner for SBA, and are a resource for a host of issues such as loan funding, assistance with Human Resources, marketing and social media, and negotiating with landlords. 


Congressman Huffman’s office is happy to work with constituents with questions about the CARES Act. There are benefits in the CARES Act for individuals based on income that might offer relief, and there is mortgage relief for federally backed loans in the form of delayed payments. Small and Medium size businesses are offered specific guidance. Check it out, there is a wealth of information and his staff is happy to help. 


Important Marin News 


Information is coming at us quickly, here are a few highlights of important information relevant to Marin.   


  • Accurate Local Information I encourage you to sign up for the Marin Health and Human Services daily updates regarding COVID-19 by subscribing here.  The “Frequently Asked Questions” are updated, and the Surveillance page graphs the data. 
  • County and Hospitals Prepare for Surge.  The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services and local health care providers are positioned to respond to increased demands on Marin’s hospital system.  Since January, Marin HHS has worked with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, MarinHealth Medical Center, Sutter Novato Community Hospital, and Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital to increase capacity during an expected surge in COVID-19 confirmed cases or other patients who will require hospitalization. In addition, the North Bay Incident Management Team, a multi-disciplinary team made up of emergency response experts, is working alongside hospitals and emergency medical services to fine tune existing emergency response practices. More information on the steps being taken can be found here. 
  • Property Tax The Department of Finance has updated the Penalty Relief process to specifically address issues related to this public health crisis.  Applications for waiver of the penalty for late property tax payments will be accepted until May 15th.   
  • Construction Permits.  The Community Development Agency has answers to frequently asked questions about the temporary closure of construction work. Contact the building inspection staff to discuss, (415) 473-6550 or email.
  • Face Coverings.  It is recommended that residents cover their nose and mouth when leaving home for essential travel, such as doctor appointments, grocery shopping or pharmacy visits. Specifics can be found here. 
  • Schools Marin County schools closed through the end of the year, though home-based learning will continue. 
  • City.  I shared what is happening at the County level in a video discussion with San Rafael Mayor, Gary Phillips, last week if you are interested.

    Screen Shot of Supervisor Connolly, Mayor Phillips, Jim Schutz and Pat Kendall


Among all the news coming at you, please do not overlook the 2020 Census, which is the basis for federal funding that comes to Marin for schools, hospitals, fire departments, roads, and other local resources we all depend on.  Please take a look at the attached video.  Then, visit the 2020 Census website to learn more about completing your questionnaire. 

Supervisor Connolly with back to Civic Center Cafe pond talking about the 2020 Census


Above all else, please take care of yourself and your loved ones.  Let me know if you, or a neighbor would like a phone call.  I have really enjoyed talking to many of you in the evenings over the past couple of weeks and welcome the opportunity to talk to more people.  Keep in touch, we will get through this together. 




Marin County Board of Supervisors, District 1

3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 329, San Rafael, CA 94903

Direct Tel: (415) 473-7331


Newsletter: https://www.marincounty.org/depts/bs/district-1/newsletters

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