The City of Irvine received more than $722,000 from the County of Orange to help small businesses affected by COVID-19, city officials announced Jan. 19.
However, at least one councilmember said that even though the money will be helpful, it’s not enough.
“The grant money is critical to our small businesses, especially our retail and restaurants, which have been deeply affected by the impacts of COVID,” Vice Mayor Tammy Kim told The Epoch Times Jan. 20 via email. “While this is a great start, it is really a drop in the bucket when you consider the sheer number of businesses that are hurting.”
Up to $5,000 is available to eligible small businesses receiving the one-time grants. City officials said the money is for helping cover the costs of business interruption amid the COVID-19 pandemic and related stay-at-home orders.
“We are thrilled to offer additional funding to Irvine’s small businesses located within the 3rd District,” Mayor Farrah N. Khan said in a city press release. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are grateful to have the opportunity to offer our business owners continued economic support.”
“And those businesses—so many of them have already shuttered their doors,” Dunn said. “The little mom-and-pop karate studios. The little music education after school programs—they’re gone. And yet, these are our entrepreneurs, these are our innovators. These are the businesses upon which bigger businesses grow and develop.”
To qualify for the grant, businesses must be operating in the District 3 region of Irvine and employ 10 or fewer full-time employees. Additionally, businesses must not have received grant funding through the City of Irvine Small Business Support Program distributed last June.
An active City of Irvine Business License that has been valid since March 1, 2020, is also required.
“Businesses that meet program requirements will be entered into a lottery after the application closing date on January 29,” officials stated on release posted on the city website “Lottery numbers are expected to be posted on the city’s webpage by 5 p.m. February 3.”
Most of Irvine lies within District 3, but some communities such as Turtle Ridge, Shady Canyon, Quail Hill, and Los Olivos are located in District 5. Irvine businesses in the fifth district are not eligible for the District 3 Small Business Grant, but can instead apply for the District 5 grant relief program expected to launch Feb. 1.
The city of Yorba Linda also announced this week the start of its Small Business Relief Program, which is back for a third round of grant funding assistance.
The program was unanimously approved by the city council at its Jan. 19 meeting.
“This third round will quickly provide $640,000 of total funding to Yorba Linda businesses that submitted qualifying applications in Rounds I or II (including businesses that were not selected by the Round II lottery),” Yorba Linda officials said.