COVID-19 relief fund created for small businesses in Antioch

Bay Area

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KRON) – Struggling mom and pop businesses in Antioch are catching a much-needed break.

The city has created a COVID-19 small business grant program.

Business owners can soon apply for $5,000 in funds they will not have to pay back.

These days it’s easy to socially distance yourself in downtown Antioch.

Foot traffic is scarce because of the COVID-19 impact to small businesses.

“People don’t walk around like they used to,” Brandon Woods said. 

And, if you do choose to take a stroll through town, you’ll notice fewer businesses are open.

Some have closed down temporarily during the pandemic. Some will never open again.

Brandon Woods co-owns G Street Mercantile. He says he’s been able to keep his doors open and avoid layoffs but the structure of his operation has changed.

“Right now, we’re doing pretty good. We were able to shift and modify our business to keep the doors open and keep people coming in — keep sales going. But our neighbors — they need help,” Woods said. 

And, that’s where the city is stepping in. It has created a COVID-19 relief fund for small businesses with money it received from the CARES Act.

Up to 60 businesses can apply for a five-thousand dollar grant if they meet the qualifications.

Antioch’s economic development director Kwame Reed says retail, restaurant, and personal services establishments will be prioritized.

“One, you have to be in the city of Antioch — that’s critical. But we’re also looking to businesses that have no more than 25 employees, can illustrate that they had an adverse effect due to COVID, during this pandemic,” Kwame Reed said. 

More specifically, prove that the business was unable to operate during the shelter-in-place orders or sales were down more than 25-percent from the previous quarter compared to the same time last year.

“It would help,” Toni Lincks said. 

Toni Lincks co-owns the Rivertown Treasure Chest. She just reduced store hours because business is slow.

She says five-thousand dollars would go a long way.

“Every cent. It all adds up,” Lincks said. 

Applications will be accepted between September 28 through October 9.

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