The rapid spread of coronavirus is forcing businesses to adapt to an increasingly worried customer base and local organizers are scrambling to decide which, if any, events to open to the public.

With infections and deaths increasingly globally, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday banned gatherings of more than 250 people and local businesses are working to stay open while more and more people choose to stay home.

Caffe Luxxe has expanded its sick leave policy to encourage anyone feeling unwell to stay home without risk of losing income.

“To ensure that no one ever needs to risk coming to work sick, Caffe Luxxe has put a pause on our standard sick leave policy, which allots a set number of paid sick days per year; now, any sick days taken during this time will not count toward our employees’ annual allocation,” said the company in an email. “Anyone who needs to stay home from illness will get paid for that time off, no questions asked, until further notice. We sincerely hope that our other friends in the coffee business will follow suit with their employees, so that no individual ever feels forced to compromise the health of themselves and others for fear of missing work.”

The local chain has locations in Long Beach, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Malibu and Montecito.

All locations have increased their cleaning schedule to wipe down surfaces every hour and they have suspended their policy allowing customers to bring their own reusable cups from home.

“By only serving out of our own cups, we can ensure that everything being served to the public is sanitized according to our normal health department regulations, and that our baristas are not taking in anything from the public while they’re working the bar,” said the announcement.

California Pizza Kitchen also sent a statement to customers outlining their increased sanitation efforts and highlighting their staff policies around handwashing.

“We have continued to emphasize and train employees to follow our strict hand washing policies, which include requiring employees to wash their hands at least every 30 minutes (for at least 20 seconds) with soap and water,” said the statement. “We also require employees to wash their hands every time after using the restroom, after touching his/her face or hair, and before eating, preparing or handling food.”

Sanitation efforts are increasingly important to preventing the growth of the outbreak as researchers are continuing to uncover more details about the behavior of the virus, which emerged in China late last year and has infected more than 120,000 people worldwide, causing more than 4,300 deaths. 32 cases were been confirmed in Los Angeles County as of Thursday and one woman older than 60 with underlying health conditions has died.

The new coronavirus can live in the air for several hours and on some surfaces for as long as two to three days, tests by U.S. government and other scientists have found.

Their work, published Wednesday, suggests people can get infected through the air as well as from touching things that were contaminated by others who have it, in addition to direct person-to-person contact. Researchers found the virus lasts three hours in the air, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

Event organizers, small and large, are adapting to the new reality.

The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday that it has postponed its International Women’s Day celebration after Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday night recommended cancellation or postponement of large public events of 250 or more people.

In Venice, the annual fundraiser supporting the Venice Family Clinic has been converted into a digital event, and at the Brentwood bookstore DIESEL, some events have been canceled or postponed while others are moving forward depending on the specific author.

The Chamber shared a list of resources for local employers experiencing a slowdown in their business.

Employers may apply for the state work sharing program that allows them to reduce employee hours and partially offset their wages. 

Businesses planning to close or lay off workers can take advantage of the state rapid response program, in which dedicated teams meet with employers to help avert potential layoffs and provide immediate services to assist workers facing job losses. 

Any business experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension to file their state payroll reports and deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. For questions, employers may call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center at 1-888-745-3886.

Meanwhile, health officials are ramping up resources.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide $37,706,709 in funding to California in support of response efforts to the coronavirus.

“State and local health departments are on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, and we are deeply grateful for their work,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “CDC is distributing this new funding extremely rapidly, as called for by Congress. President Trump, and his entire administration will continue working to ensure state and local jurisdictions have the resources they need to keep Americans safe and healthy.”

AP Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione contributed to this report