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Whittier City Council Approves $500k for Covid-19 Relief Fund to Support Restaurants & Small Businesses

City’s News Service

WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier City Council approved an additional $200,000 allocation to its Whittier Relief Fund, bringing the total grant funding to half a million dollars in support of small businesses that have suffered in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The approval was made during a special meeting held Wednesday, December 16, 2020. Through a partnership with the Whittier Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business & Economic Recovery Taskforce, the City will begin administering the city-wide Whittier Relief Fund as early as next week.

Previously, on December 8, 2020, the City Council set aside $300,000 in surplus General Fund dollars to support local restaurants that were recently banned from offering sit-down dining service as a result of the current California and Los Angeles County health orders. After much consideration, the City opted to expand its existing small business grant program to offer a total of $500,000 to restaurants, personal care establishments, and independently owned and operated small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.

“The Whittier Relief Fund will provide a modest leg up to many small business and restaurant owners who are trying to make ends meet during what should be a joyous holiday season,” said Mayor Joe Vinatieri. “From streamlining outdoor dining permits over the last six months to providing $130,000 in PPE grants throughout the summer, the Whittier City Council has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to our business community during this very challenging year. I am proud of our response and commend my colleagues and City staff who have worked tirelessly to identify meaningful ways to assist our friends and neighbors in need.”

The Los Angeles County Public Health Order was modified on December 9, 2020 to align with California’s Regional Stay At Home Order, closing down outdoor dining operations for a minimum of three weeks, while allowing take-out, curbside pick-up and delivery service only, and limiting occupancy at many essential and non-essential businesses including grocery stores, personal care establishments, and retail shops. The goal of the City’s program is to provide subsidies to restaurants and smaller, non-chain businesses with less access to corporate capital or other funding.

The Whittier Relief Fund will offer grants in various amounts ranging from $500 to $2,500 to eligible businesses based on criteria including having a valid City business license, maintaining a bricks and mortar location in the City, and gross taxable sales, with a larger percentage of funds available to businesses that continue to reinvest in the community and support City services through their annual sales tax generation. Funds can be used for general operations and overhead such as payroll expenses, supplier payments, rent or mortgage, or PPE and/or sanitation supplies for the workplace.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our community and it’s our privilege to come to their aid during these unforeseen circumstances,” said Whittier Chamber President & CEO, Carol Crosby. “Ensuring their continued success benefits us all and we are hopeful that our collective recovery efforts help sustain them through this pandemic.”

Although Whittier City Hall will be closed for the holiday season, City staff expects to have the grant application available to businesses prior to the New Year by visiting https://bit.ly/Whittier-Relief-Fund. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first serve basis and applicants will receive notification of their award after January 4, 2020. Inquiries regarding the Whittier Relief Fund should be directed to Katie Galvin-Surbatovic, Business Development Manager, at [email protected] or by calling (562) 567-9351.

Residents and business owners are reminded to visit www.cityofwhittier.org regularly for up-to-date information on COVID-19 and to follow @whittiercitygov on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for additional business resources and important local updates.