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California Extends Small Business Tax Deadlines as First Wave of Vaccines Arrives

Governor Says Up to 2.1 Million Vaccine Doses Could Be Available by Dec. 31

By Randyl Drummer CoStar News December 15, 2020 | 3:54 P.M.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said struggling small businesses will have more time to file their taxes in 2021, as the first rollout of coronavirus vaccines reaches the Golden State that is battling the worst surge in virus cases since April.

Newsom signed an executive order giving small businesses with returns of less than $1 million a three-month extension until July 30 to file their first-quarter tax returns to provide some financial leeway under stricter rules Newsom imposed this month.

Hair and nail salons can't operate, restaurants are closed for indoor dining and stores can only admit a few customers at a time in large parts of the state under restrictions triggered when ICU availability fell below 15%. It will likely be weeks before most businesses can reopen.

The executive order, which Newsom proposed on Dec. 1, also eases occupancy rules for farmworkers living in temporary housing and updates state Division of Occupational Safety and Health quarantine guidelines to reduce the time that employers are required to keep workers off the job after exposure to the virus. Employees that were previously required to stay home for two weeks can now come back to work after 10 days if the person doesn't have symptoms.

The virus is raging in the state, with the 14-day positive rate for tests now above 10.7%, the highest since the first few weeks of the pandemic, state officials said. California has experienced a 54% increase in ICU admissions in the past two weeks, Newsom said at a briefing on Tuesday.

Just 1.7% of ICU beds in Southern California, the state's most densely populated region, and 1.6% of beds in the San Joaquin Valley were available as of Tuesday, Newsom said. Sacramento had 14.9% of beds available, and 15.8% of beds were available in the Bay Area, which voluntarily shut down through at least Jan. 4 more than a week ago.

About 60% of Pfizer’s initial commitment of 327,600 doses of its new coronavirus vaccine could be delivered to dozens of California hospitals and long-term care facilities by Wednesday, Newsom said.

“This has been a very optimistic 48 hours,” Newsom said. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still in a tunnel.”

Newsom said the state is expected to receive an additional 393,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by next week and another 672,000 doses by the end of the month from Moderna, which is waiting for Food and Drug Administration approval.

In all, California is expected to receive 2.1 million doses by the end of December, the governor said. The initial rollout is limited to front line healthcare workers and the most vulnerable.

Newsom Tuesday announced the launch of a statewide campaign to vaccinate people in 58 counties, especially those in African American, Native American and other vulnerable communities by the end of December.

Staff at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center was one of the first locations in the state to receive the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, and other area hospitals, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, are scheduled to receive vaccine doses in coming days, Newsom said.

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