During an emergency meeting on March 25, the Fresno City Council voted to pass two emergency ordinances in response to the COVID-19 pandemic—both of which have an impact on the surrounding business community.

The council implemented an emergency ordinance that makes evictions and consumer price hikes illegal in Fresno for 30 days.

On rent deferrals and the eviction moratorium, the ordinance states:

(1) No residential tenant in the City shall be evicted due to loss of income related to a business closure, loss of hours or wages, layoffs, or out-of-pocket medical costs caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

(2) Commercial landlords in the City are hereby prohibited from evicting commercial tenants for nonpayment of rent with respect to tenants whose businesses are subject to this Section or are otherwise closed (voluntarily or by mandate) to prevent or reduce the spread of COVID-19.

(3) A tenant must notify their landlord they cannot pay rent due to a COVID-19 related impact. Within one week of this notice, the tenant must provide documentation or other objective information that they cannot pay rent. Tenants will have up to six months after the termination of the emergency declaration to repay any back-due rent.

(4) This eviction moratorium shall be in effect for 30 days, and may be extended by the Council for additional 30 day periods, so long as the City’s declaration of local emergency is in effect.

(5) Residents and businesses should not face foreclosure as a result of COVD-19. Lenders are encouraged to provide a forbearance agreement for up to six months for borrowers impacted by COVID-19, without impacting the borrower’s credit.

The council also passed the “Save our Small Business Act,” which established a $750,000 fund to be administered by local small business lender Access Plus Capital. The money is coming from the city’s fund and the grants will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis to businesses affected by the pandemic.

“Small businesses are the heart of our economy, and they’re experiencing unprecedented disruption due to COVID-19,” Mayor Lee Brand told The Business Journal. “I am proud of how our residents and businesses are looking out for each other during these challenging times. The willingness of our private partners to join the city in our effort to bring immediate relief to business owners who are struggling during this pandemic is not only encouraging — it’s inspiring.”

The application for the Save our Small Business program will be available on Access Plus Capital’s website and will be available until 11:59 p.m. on April 12.

To read the full emergency ordinance, visit the City of Fresno’s website.

To learn more about the Save Our Small Businesses program, visit the Fresno Mayor’s Office website.