L.A. County restaurants affected by COVID-19 can apply for $30K grants starting Monday

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A waitress delivers orders to diners seated outdoors under tents in a restaurant's parking lot on Nov. 17, 2020 in Alhambra. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

A waitress delivers orders to diners seated outdoors under tents in a restaurant’s parking lot on Nov. 17, 2020 in Alhambra. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Los Angeles County restaurant owners affected by COVID-19 restrictions can apply for $30,000 grants starting Monday, officials announced.

Only small businesses that didn’t previously get help from any other CARES Act-funded programs are eligible for the “Keep L.A. County Dining Grant,” officials said.

The application platform is scheduled to open at 8 a.m. Dec. 7 and stay up until 5 p.m. the next day — or until 2,500 applications are sent in, whichever comes first.

Restaurants located within the cities of L.A. and Pasadena can’t apply, county officials said. Owners can check this map to see if their location is eligible for the new grant.

Funds will be split equally throughout each county district, but restaurants that provided outdoor dining as of Nov. 24 will be given preference based on order submission, authorities said.

The $30,000 can be used as working capital to continue operations, for employee payroll expenses, to pay outstanding business expenses and any “adaptive” business practices needed to stay open, the L.A. County Development Authority said.

The grant money is designed to help small restaurants and it won’t go to any corporate-owned franchises or businesses that have more than five locations, according to the program site.

The program is for small businesses “that can demonstrate that their business was impacted by COVID-19 through a hardship due to closure and a reduction in revenue,” county officials said.

Only restaurants with a full-service kitchen and fewer than 25 employees should apply, officials said. Pop-ups and food trucks are not eligible.

“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,” L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement. 

Barger has previously opposed the order to close restaurants, calling it an “arbitrary” measure.

The county suspended dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars Nov. 25, saying the ban will last at least three weeks due to an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases. Before that, residents were only allowed to eat outdoors at restaurants — many of which had expanded onto sidewalks and brought canopies to comply with the rules.

But starting 11:59 p.m. Sunday, L.A. County and all neighboring counties will begin a state-mandated stay-at-home order that also bar in-person for at least three weeks.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved $10 million in CARES Act funding for the restaurant grants in late November.

“I am keenly aware that many are not in agreement with the recent temporary suspension of outdoor dining, but it is necessary to protect our collective well-being,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said. “Nonetheless, it is critical that we continue to assist this sector by providing funding to impacted restaurants so that we can help keep them afloat while we weather this pandemic together.”

The new application platform is reopening Monday after high traffic volume on the site led to technical issues that shut down the portal when it initially launched on Thursday.

The initial application period was meant to run from Thursday through Sunday, but officials had to set up the new application period from Monday to Tuesday because of the glitch.

Within the city of L.A., Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced an $800 stipend to a small number of local restaurant and food service workers impacted by the pandemic.

More information on the county’s program can be found at keeplacountydining.lacda.org or by calling 626-943-3833.

The state has also announced assistance for those in need of financial support amid the pandemic. Details can be found online

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