RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. — San Bernardino County wants small businesses to get COVID-compliant and is paying out millions to make it happen.
The Board of Supervisors launched the San Bernardino County COVID-Compliant Business Partnership, giving out $30 million to help small businesses offset some of the additional costs to meet new public health guidelines.
In Rancho Cucamonga, Dr. Jimmy Saygeh has been adjusting his patients for eight years at Elevate Chiropractic, but is now adjusting his practice amid the coronavirus pandemic.
After an e-mail informing him of San Bernardino County’s new program, he applied online and was deemed COVID-compliant, earning him a $2,500 check for PPE for himself and his four employees.
“From my experience as a physician… PPE’s were very affordable before the whole COVID outbreak and now the prices have spiked quite a bit, so it’s been pretty difficult to afford the amount of PPE we need for our staff,” Saygeh shared.
So what does it take for this small business to be COVID-compliant? They’ve completely shut down their gym, added plexiglass at the reception desk and automatic hand sanitizers, there are now gloves for patients, high grade sanitizing cleaners, and masks are required for everyone.
“The toughest struggle we have is actually limiting how many people we can have in the office,” Saygeh stated.
As many small businesses struggle, Dr. Saygeh is actually booking new patients months out thanks to what he did at the beginning of the pandemic.
“We shut down for about three weeks and that’s when we started our social media campaign, and really created a lot of social content,” Saygeh explained.
Dr. Saygeh has been dubbed the 'King of Cracks' on his TikTok page, where he has amassed 1.5 million followers, with videos of him working on patients.
“Lot of people were on social media at the time… so it was a good way for us to showcase our work, and it was a really good boost for our business,” Saygeh contended.
According to Curt Hagman, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in San Bernardino County, so far 3,400 small business have been deemed COVID compliant.
“We are assuming that every business has public contact of some sort, and we want to make sure that they are educated and they are prepared to make that public contact,” Hagman said.
Hagman has been a small business owner since he was 18 and says it’s been hard watching small businesses in the county struggle because of COVID regulations.
“Most of our employment is in small business and we need them to be the backbone of our economy,” Hagman argued.
As the number of COVID cases continue to spike, he doesn’t want there to be another wave of shutdowns, which is why the county’s COVID-compliant program is so important. Businesses who have made the commitment to the county to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers are listed on the County’s website: sbcovid19.com.
”We are putting maps at the fingertips of our residents, so you can zoom in and see what businesses have applied for the COVID-compliant program, and which ones have been certified by the county,” Hagman stated.
At every COVID-compliant business in the county program, you’ll also find a sign from the county. Dr. Saygeh says it offers reassurance to his patient and that their safety during the COVID outbreak is his top priority.
San Bernardino set aside $30 million for the program. It is being issued to qualified small businesses on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds run out. To be eligible for participation, a business must have been located in San Bernardino County for at least two years, have between one and 100 employees, and be up-to-date on property tax payments.