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LA County Launches A Grant Program For Struggling Restaurants -- But How Many Will Qualify?

Fish tacos. (Shan Li Fang/Unsplash)
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This story has been updated with additional information.

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Los Angeles County officials today announced details of their Keep L.A. County Dining grant program, an effort to help restaurants that have seen their business plummet due to COVID-19.

The program will give $30,000 to brick-and-mortar restaurant owners (sorry, no pop-ups or food trucks) who qualify to spend on employee payroll, operational expenses and adaptive business practices they need to institute to stay open.

The devil, however, is in the details and many restaurants won't qualify for the funds. To be eligible, restaurants must...

  1. be located in the County of Los Angeles but NOT in the cities of Los Angeles or Pasadena.
  2. have a fixed brick and mortar location with a full-service kitchen
  3. have fewer than 25 employees
  4. have a current heath inspection grade of "C" or better
  5. have been established and operating no later than March 4, 2020
  6. NOT have more than five business locations
  7. NOT be a corporate-owned franchise
  8. NOT have already received assistance from other L.A. County CARES Act programs
  9. demonstrate their business experienced hardship due to a COVID-19 closure and reduction in revenue

In addition, the Los Angeles County Development Authority, which is overseeing the program says restaurants that had been offering outdoor dining on Nov. 24, before the three-week, countywide outdoor dining ban went into effect, will be placed at the top of the list.

A spokesperson for LACDA tells LAist that the Keep L.A. Dining grants exclude restaurants in the cities of Los Angeles and Pasadena is because the city of L.A. received its own CARES Act funding while Pasadena has its own public health officer and is not following the L.A. County public health order that prohibits outdoor dining.

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Two people walk down a Burbank street that has been closed to vehicular traffic so restaurants can serve food outside during the coronavirus panademic, on Nov. 23. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

The Keep L.A. County Dining grant program will start taking applications on Dec. 3 at midnight and will stop accepting them on Dec. 6 at 11:59 p.m. -- or whenever 2,500 applications are submitted.

It's a safe bet the number of applicants will top out quickly, so if you're thinking of applying, start preparing your materials ASAP.

The program was approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last week, not long after the supes upheld the Department of Public Health's temporary ban on outdoor dining.

A parklet at Berlin Coffee Shop, on E. 4th Street in Long Beach. (Brad Davis, AICP/Flickr Creative Commons)
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In Long Beach, Mayor Robert Garcia yesterday proposed a similar program -- a $5 million fund to help restaurants, bars and breweries that are struggling to stay afloat in the wake of new restrictions on outdoor dining.

The money would come from future federal coronavirus relief funds awarded to local governments to help small businesses although the pool of money could potentially be larger, depending on the size and availability of that next stimulus package.

Long Beach secured more than $40 million from the first round of CARES Act funding earlier this year.

The Long Beach City Council is expected to discuss the proposal at its next regular meeting Dec. 8.

Additional reporting by Emily Henderson

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