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A Grant Fund For OC Restaurants Offering Outdoor Dining In Winter

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Voters outside an eatery at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Election Day 2020. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Orange County restaurants offering outdoor seating can apply for a new grant program that aims to help owners keep their outside operations open during the winter, as they try to maintain business amid the pandemic.

This week the Orange County Board of Supervisors launched a program to support outdoor dining restaurants with $1,000 grants, available to 1,000 eligible restaurants on a first-come basis. The money must be used for purchases like tents and canopies, lighting, and outdoor heaters.

Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do told KPCC/LAist that while a thousand bucks may be a drop in the bucket, it's still badly needed because restaurant profit margins are so thin, especially lately.

"They are barely surviving," Do said. "I talked to a restaurant owner serving customers. In fact, I've been going there for years and I didn't even know who the owner was. So that tells you now, owners actually have to work alongside employees to make ends meet."

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The grants come from a million dollars in reallocated CARES Act money that's projected to go unspent. Information from the county on how to apply can be found here. The application period began Friday.

Orange, Los Angeles and other local counties have offered assistance to small businesses affected by the pandemic. Meanwhile, local restaurants brace for new challenges under curfew rules taking effect this weekend.

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