On Thursday, April 16, Culver City Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells penned an open letter to Culver City businesses to reassure them of the city’ support, as well as to outline the various steps that the city has taken to try and protect small businesses during this period.
“These may be the most difficult times Culver City’s business community has ever experienced,” the letter began. “National unemployment is at a level never seen before in modern American history. Our business community needs a helping hand at this unprecedented time, which is why Culver City acted quickly
The first thing the city did was to prohibit commercial evictions through at least May 31. This coincides with policies allowing for renters who cannot afford to pay due to economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The city has also delayed the deadline for Culver City business taxes by two months until June 1.
Additionally, they have also waived several smaller fees to alleviate burdens for these local establishments, including outdoor dining and valet parking fees.
As the city continues to encourage social distancing, they have enacted several policies outlined in the letter to assist with picking up food orders. Restrictions on signage to advertise being open for delivery and pickup have been suspended, and loading zone and rideshare pickup zones can be used for temporary parking. Parking fees have also been waived for the first fifteen minutes of parking.
To assist accessibility to downtown businesses, the free parking period at City garages has been increased from one to two hours, as well as cutting the monthly parking fees by 50% at City parking garages.
The city has partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to organize on an ongoing COVID-19 Business Roundtable. At this weekly meeting open to all Culver City businesses, businesses can speak directly to two Council Members and Culver City’s Economic Development team. The meeting has made it simple for businesses to express concerns, ask questions, and learn about resources and opportunities that we have identified. The partnership held its first webinar for businesses on April 17.
Culver City’s Economic Development team is actively monitoring programs and resources available through federal, state and county governments to help small businesses and employers navigate this economic disruption. They have created a COVID-19 business information webpage where businesses can find assistance and resources.
Dedicated Culver City Economic Development team members are also available to work with individual businesses one-on-one to assist each business with its challenges. Businesses with questions or concerns about any of the above items can email Culver City’s Economic Development team or call them at 310-253-5765.
Mayor Sahli-Wells continues the letter by saying she is also recommending stopping the planning of a business tax measure for the November 2020 ballot.
“Culver City’s business taxes are substantially lower than other cities in the region, and our City government faces enormous fiscal challenges while serving more community needs than ever before,” Sahli-Wells wrote. “However, we need to do everything we can during the coming months to support our business community. Now is not the time for increasing taxes on our businesses.”
Finally, she reiterates that compliance with Safer at Home ordinances during this time is crucial, and that this pandemic could last 12-18 months, with the recovery “likely taking years.”
“The City will be here for Culver City’s business community for the duration.”