With orders to close outdoor restaurants starting Wednesday, November 25, cutting off a vital source of income (during what is normally one of the busiest times of the year for business), the LA County Development Authority opened a grant program $ 30,000 to restaurants from December 3. The news was first reported by LAist.
The program has a number of requirements, but most notably the business must be a permanent full-service restaurant (so no pop-ups or food trucks) that opened on or before March 4 (which means any person who has been open since the start of the pandemic will not be eligible). There are other requirements to know before applying for the $ 30,000 grant (starting at the top):
- Must be a fixed, permanent address with a full service kitchen
- Must have less than 25 employees
- Located in LA County but not in LA or Pasadena City
- No more than five commercial locations. One application per channel (less than five spots)
- Not a company owned franchise
- Current health inspection of at least “C”
- Restaurant open no later than March 4, 2020
The requirements raise a few notable questions, especially for potential applicants from the City of LA and Pasadena. It’s unclear why, but restaurants in LA or Pasadena could end up having their own grant programs, while the city of Long Beach also mentioned earlier this week that it would release $ 5 million in restaurant subsidies. Only 2,500 companies in total will be eligible, which means that $ 75 million has been designated by the Development Authority for this temporary relief. The funds also cannot be used to repay Paycheck Protection Program loans.
Restaurants that receive the money can only use it for a few things, especially working capital like salary expenses, unpaid business expenses, and other things to stay open.
Other things to know about the app: Restaurants that offered outdoor dining as of November 24 will be prioritized, then funds will be given to locations that did not offer outdoor dining. This appears to recognize the specific burden that restaurants that had alfresco dining bear throughout the three-week minimum shutdown, as mandated by the county. With the increase in COVID-19 cases (LA County had more than 6,000 new cases on November 30 alone), it seems unlikely that outdoor restaurant closings will last only three weeks.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has also released a number of statewide programs to relieve business, including an extension pay sales tax, and Grants of $ 25,000 to small businesses, nonprofits and institutions. Finally, the Main Street Hiring Tax Credit grants $ 1,000 in tax credit per employee to businesses, and up to $ 100,000.
Applications begin at midnight on December 3 (so technically the evening of December 2) and will be accepted until December 6 at 11:59 p.m. or up to the limit of 2,500 companies. With many more restaurants in LA County (but outside of LA and Pasadena), it’s likely that many businesses that need the cash won’t get the relief they need this round. But it is something, especially for workers who risked their health to serve diners amid the pandemic.