LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County began accepting applications today for $30,000 grants available to small restaurant owners struggling to make ends meet during a pandemic that has now shut down outdoor dining.
Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. Sunday or when 2,500 applications are received, whichever comes first, and will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis by supervisorial district.
“This pandemic and the recent closure of outdoor dining has been devastating to our restaurants and restaurant workers,'' County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement. “These grants are meant to help as many restaurants as possible make ends meet and make it through this crisis. We know it won't be enough. We need another federal stimulus package to get a lifeline to all of our businesses and workers that are struggling.''
Eligible restaurants must be located within the county, excluding the cities of Los Angeles and Pasadena, and have fewer than 25 employees and no more than five locations total. Pop-up locations and food trucks do not qualify.
A total of roughly $5.6 million will be split equally among the five county supervisorial districts, with priority given to restaurants that were operating outdoor dining on Nov. 24, just before the recent ban took effect.
The funding is intended to be used for working capital needs such as meeting payroll, paying outstanding expenses and funding changes required to stay open during the spread of COVID-19.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who opposed the county's recent decision to temporarily end in-person dining, said restaurants have made “incredible sacrifices'' to align with public safety protocols.
“These restaurants -- the vast majority of which employ fewer than 25 people -- truly represent the small business community that drives the county's economic engine,'' Barger said. “The recent health officer orders to close in-person dining was a devastating blow and as a result, the board identified the need to immediately deploy grant funding to support these impacted small businesses.''
The program will be operated by the Los Angeles County Development Authority. LACDA officials said restaurant owners who apply must demonstrate that their business was impacted by COVID-19 through hardship due to closure and a reduction in revenue.
Owners must also be prepared to provide tax returns from 2018 or 2019, a current business license, a copy of the inspection grade card issued by the Department of Public Health, organizational documents and other information. Applicants notified of a grant will have a maximum of three days to provide missing information.
No restaurant with a less than a C rating from local health officials will be eligible. Businesses that have already received assistance from other Los Angeles County Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act programs are also ineligible.
More information can be found at keeplacountydining.lacda.org/#grant or by calling 626-943-3833.
Photo: Getty Images