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Antioch explores economic stimulus plan to support small businesses during pandemic

Bay Area

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KRON) – Help is on the way for small businesses in the city of Antioch.​

The City Council is mulling an economic stimulus package to support local stores hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic.​

The package could include relief on business license fees, grants and loans.

She’s reduced her hours, going as far as cutting a day from her business schedule but Crystal Philbrook feels fortunate the bakery she co-owns with her sister in downtown Antioch.

Rivertown Sweets has remained open during the pandemic, though it’s unclear her shop, or the others around it, will survive.​

​”I think we’re ok right now, but if there is a second wave at the end of the year, and we miss Fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas — I don’t know. I don’t think we will,” Philbrook said. ​

​She applied for federal stimulus relief the first week it was offered but Philbrook has yet to receive any money.​

​”My sister and I invested everything we had for this business, and we’ve grown up in Antioch, and we wanted to have — you know, help bring the downtown back together,” Philbrook said. ​​

​The city of Antioch is exploring its own stimulus package to help business owners like Philbrook.​

​”Are there businesses that are not going to reopen, that is definitely going to happen,” Mayor Sean Wright said. ​

​Mayor Sean Wright says the city is brainstorming a few ideas, as Antioch and the county work through phase two of re-opening the community.​

He says the city has up to $400,000 in reserves, already included in the budget, that was earmarked for Antioch’s rebranding campaign.​

Wright says that money could be used to reduce or eliminate license fees for the city’s more than 300 small businesses.​

Grants, micro-loans and help with marketing are all proposals under consideration.​

​“They’re running just like people going paycheck to paycheck, they’re going month to month. The revenue helps to pay the bills, and when you go two months without revenue, how do you get through that process?” ​Wright said. ​

​The City Council will discuss the stimulus package at it’s next meeting Tuesday.​

Then hopes to have a plan to vote on within three weeks.​

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