Los Angeles County has lost over 1 million jobs due to COVID19 while jobless claims remain at a twoyear high and are expected to continue to rise as many businesses struggle to adapt to new safety protocols.
Wanting to give small businesses a fair chance at surviving this pandemic, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and coauthored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, directing the County to provide support and grants to small businesses seeking compliance with health orders and guidelines.
The motion calls for providing up to $3,000 grants to fund up to 20,000 eligible small businesses with less than 100 employees so these small enterprises could purchase protective gear and sanitization materials.
“With at least 434,645 businesses employing less than 100 employees, small businesses are the backbone of the County’s economy. Yet, many are struggling to purchase adequate amounts of gloves, face masks, and hand sanitizer,” said Supervisor Solis.
“LA County will step up and help momandpop shops adjust to new social distancing requirements and provide them with technical assistance so they can better compete in this new economic reality.”
“Our small businesses have been some of the hardest hit by this pandemic,” said Supervisor Hahn. “This Program will give them a helping hand by offsetting the costs of the gear they will have to purchase – such as masks, sanitation equipment, and plexiglass shields – to keep both their employees and customers safe as we reopen LA County.”
LA County’s small entrepreneurs, particularly those located in low income communities, face difficult readjustments due to compliance requirements with state and County health orders. Complicating matters further, some of these small shops, including those in unincorporated East Los Angeles, endured looting and damage stemming from the protests over the killing of George Floyd, which places an additional financial burden on these small shops.
Many of the businesses that sustained damage were owned by immigrants. Foreignborn immigrant entrepreneurs contribute $700 billion to LA County’s economy, and twothirds of all small enterprises in the County are immigrantowned and operated.
The Board motion also calls for prioritizing resources for businesses in historically underserved areas and those impacted by the current civil unrest. It also requires participating businesses to provide the number of workers retained and/ or rehired as a result of this new program, and it will require that these businesses work with their local workforce development boards as they begin to rehire.
In addition, the motion calls for providing up to $3,000 grants to fund up to 20,000 eligible small businesses with less than 100 employees so these small enterprises could purchase protective gear and sanitization materials. It also directs pertinent County departments to provide technical assistance to all eligible businesses so they can be COVID 19 compliant.
Further, the motion also directs departments to set aside a minimum of $60 million to administer this new program through a partnership among the County, state, city, private sector and philanthropic sectors.