Chamber Unveils Roadmap to Recovery

Last Thursday at our Annual Membership Meeting the Chamber unveiled our Roadmap to Recovery. This roadmap reflects the Chamber’s plan, metrics, and milestones our community can work together towards.

As we highlighted in last week’s newsletter, the Chamber firmly believes that businesses operating with the COVID Safety 5-Step Plan should be allowed to operate. We are glad to see outdoor dining and personal services be allowed to reopen this week, but firmly believe the current tiers as outlined by the state still create confusion and contradictory guidelines and businesses should be able to operate following standard safety protocols.

Another request of our Executive Summary of the Roadmap to Recovery is that all available science and data be used to make policy decisions, including economic, unemployment, homelessness, and food insecurity.

Continue reading

Meet Senator Monique Limón, SD 19

Born and raised in the 19th Senate District, I am honored to represent Santa Barbara County and over half of Ventura County. Prior to serving as a California State Senator, I served as the Assemblymember for the 37th Assembly District, school board trustee for the Santa Barbara Unified School District, and a Commissioner for the Santa Barbara County Commission for Women.

My family and friends include small business owners and educators in the area. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Californians in many different ways, and I would like to reassure you that I am committed to providing the assistance I can as your state representative.

My office continues to serve as a resource for all constituents. We can serve as a voice and liaison as appropriate when working with any state agency. We can also provide information about COVID-19 state emergency grants, small business resources and connect you with community leaders to answer your questions. To request assistance, please reach out to my district office at (805) 965-0862.

Continue reading

2021 Annual Membership Meeting Recap

The Chamber kicked off the new year with our 2021 Annual Membership Meeting last Thursday.
Nearly 100 chamber members gathered via a Zoom webcast for the organization’s meeting highlighting the board members who have helped lead the chamber through the months-long pandemic, while also celebrating the future.
We welcomed 2021 chair, Kirsten McLaughlin and gave a presentation on the Chamber’s Roadmap to Recovery.
Click here for the Noozhawk article.

Leaders of Local Chambers Come Together

Chambers in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties believe businesses can still operate safely despite a recent rise in COVID-19 numbers in the region. Chamber members have voiced support for safety measures such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing.  Chamber leaders organized a petition to urge Gov. Newsom to place them in their own tri-county subregion. The petition garnered more than 5,400 signatures from residents and local business owners. Click here to read more in the Santa Barbara News-Press article.

Roadmap to Recovery COVID Safety 5-Step Method

The Chamber believes that businesses can operate safely with what we are calling the COVID Safety 5-Step Method

After months of operating through the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have learned a lot about successfully dealing with the virus and how businesses can operate safely and keep their employees and customers safe.

Chamber Endorsed Proposal Passes

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce issued support for the proposal for the Goleta Complete Streets project to reduce Hollister Avenue from four lanes to two, providing safe access to bicyclist and pedestrians to and from Old Town Goleta, which creates more room for outdoor space and dining more accessible to the community.
The Pilot Project was approved Tuesday night by the City Council. Click here to read more

Carpinteria Community Awards Update

The Chamber has postponed the 63rd Annual Community Awards Banquet Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Originally planned for January 23, 2021, the Chamber is hopeful to celebrate the honorees in October, either in person or virtually.

The Chamber will continue to honor the Carpinterian of The Year, Junior Carpinterian of the Year, two Junior Carpinterian Scholarship Finalists, two Teachers of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, and Merit Awards honoring volunteers from 20 local non-profit organizations.

Scholarship’s will be awarded in the Spring 2021, once again awarding three Scholarships to well-deserving graduating seniors. The Junior Carpinterian of the Year (Jr. COY) will receive a $4,000 Scholarship and two finalists will each receive a $1,500 Scholarship and are available to any graduating senior who is a resident of the Carpinteria Valley. Two Teachers of the Year will also be awarded Scholarship funds for supplies and to enhance their classrooms.

For more information or to contribute to the Junior Carpinterian Scholarship Fund, please contact or call 805.967.2500 Ext. 106.

Use of Natural Gas Debated

The Chamber’s Public Policy Committee addressed a proposal for the city of Santa Barbara to ban natural gas from new construction. Though the Chamber acknowledges the importance of addressing climate change, the Chamber also recognizes that the timing is off to make these modifications given the economic impacts businesses are facing due to the COVID-19 Pandemic as well as the importance of diversifying the channels of energy consumption. Click here to read the letter sent to Santa Barbara Mayor Murillo and City Council on January 6th, 2021.

Meet New Carpinteria Councilmember Alarcon

This year the Chamber is sitting down with recently elected officials to ask them about their business-related policy platform.

As the newest member of the Carpinteria City Council, I am eager to work with the city and our community to address our challenges and develop solutions. It is no surprise that Carpinteria has been impacted by the pandemic. Many of our residents and small businesses continue to struggle. As a way to support our business community, the city must continue to seek state and federal funding to expand our Small Business Restart program, putting vital dollars into the hands of businesses.

I support the measures the city has set forth, for example, business expansion into the public right of way through completion of a self-certification process.  I understand how vital our business community is, and I will continue to explore ways to streamline our permitting process in support of business creation and retention. Additionally, collaborating with the Chamber and city committees, such as Downtown “T” to develop targeted strategies that are unique to our business community.

I would also like to see the expansion of the Host Kiosk, possibly installing a revolving interaction information screen. The Kiosk use could be reimagined to include regular Chamber hours, local business information, and more.

As we continue to work through the challenges presented by the pandemic, I encourage community members to participate in the upcoming 2021 annual work plan meeting. This meeting gives community members the opportunity to learn about upcoming projects and priorities and express input.

Natalia Alarcon attended the University of California Santa Barbara and obtained a B.A. in History. She earned a master’s degree at Antioch University of Santa Barbara in Clinical Psychology and obtained her License as a Psychotherapist and has founded a small private practice. She is a bilingual Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and nonprofit professional. Natalia is an active board member of Parents for Aliso and a board member of the Rental Housing Mediation Program.

Update on the COVID-19 Relief Package

Last week the County Chamber CEOs met with Congressman Carbajal to discuss Small Business Relief and economic impacts to our community. We would like to thank Congressman Carbajal of the 24th District for his support in helping pass a second COVID-19 Relief Package. Please see an update from our Congressman on the relief package:

  • Unemployment Assistance: Provides $300 per week in supplemental federal unemployment beginning as soon as Dec 27th and lasting through March 14th.
  • Housing Security: Extends the eviction moratorium to January 31st, provides $25 billion in federal rental assistance, and strengthens the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.
  • Direct Payments: Provides a $600 direct payment to adults earning under $75,000 and $1200 to households earning under $150,000. Provides $600 per dependent child, so a family of four can receive up to $2400.
  • Business and Economic Recovery: Provides $325 billion in funding to facilitate a strong economic recovering, including:
    • A second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, plus the ability to make expenses associated with forgiven loans tax deductible.
    • Advance borrowers should be made whole, without regard for whether those borrowers are eligible for PPP forgiveness. The Administrator will issue rules that ensure borrowers are made whole if they received forgiveness and their EIDL was deducted from that amount.
    • $15 billion for live music venues and other cultural institutions.
    • Clarifies that deductions are allowed for otherwise deductible expenses paid with the proceeds of a PPP loan that is forgiven
    • $15 billion to help airlines assist their furloughed workers.
    • Expands eligibility for PPP loans to nonprofits and news outlets.
  • Vaccine Distribution: Includes $20 billion for vaccine procurement and over $8 billion for distribution, which makes the vaccine available at no cost for anyone who needs it.
  • Pandemic Mitigation: Provides states with $20 billion to assist with testing and contact tracing programs.
  • Food Security: Sets aside $13 billion to increase SNAP benefits by 15% and allocates $13 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers to offset losses from COVID-19.
  • Schools and Child Care: Provides $82 billion to get students back to school and parents back to work.
    • Over $54 billion for K-12 education
    • $22.7 billion for colleges, including $1.7 billion set aside for minority serving institutions.
    • $10 billion in emergency assistance for the child care sector.
    • Repeals a ban preventing incarcerated students from qualifying for Pell grants.
  • Internet Connectivity: Includes $7 billion in broadband funding to keep Americans connected and healthy. Sets aside $300 million specifically to improve rural broadband access and includes $250 million for telehealth.