Fresno County Board of Supervisors announce $5M grant for small businesses

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FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Local businesses hurting during the COVID-19 pandemic are getting some help from Fresno County.

The Fresno Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $5 million grant program for small businesses in Fresno County.

Over the last month, Fresno Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Steve Brandau and Supervisor Brian Pacheco have been working on a program using money from the federal Cares Act to help struggling businesses. On Tuesday, it passed.

“It is a grant program up to $5,000 per business.”

To be eligible, the business must have less than 10 full-time or less than 20 part-time employees.

Applicants cannot have any tax liens or judgements, no bankruptcies and be up and running for at least two years.

Businesses that got funding from the PPP Program or Fresno City’s Small Business Loan to Grant cannot apply.

“These are for all those businesses that seemed to slip through the cracks. While there is never enough money to fund every business hopefully we can help those that are on their last ring of hope,” said Supervisor Brian Pacheco.

Restaurants continue to struggle in the county. The board has been working with the health department to green light reopening of the industry. However, Gov. Gavin Newsom reinforcing counties must meet his requirements for testing and tracking capacity to start dine in seating. Fresno County does not.

Newsom also says there needs to be plans for disposable menus, hand sanitizers, and social distancing.

Chair Buddy Mendes and the rest of the board frustrated with the state argue that the county is ready.

“If he just said this today. He is way behind the curve. Our health department has been talking about to the restaurants for weeks,” said Vice Chairman Steve Brandau.

“In a unified voice we believe it’s time for our restaurants to open. And our board is unanimous on that. Our board is in unanimous that our restaurants are being allowed to open. Our health department is working diligently with all of the restaurant leaders and we believe that we have a plan to safely open the restaurants and my colleague said that plan will be done in the next couple of days,” said Pacheco.

The application will be up on the county’s website. There will be a two week period and then 1,000 businesses will be chosen. For those who cannot fill it out online, there are people that can pick up applications.

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