SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Small business owners have until the end of this week to apply for grants through California’s COVID-19 relief program.

$500-million will be divided between all who qualify.

Those grants range from $5,000 to $25,000 but some say it’s not enough.

A group gathered outside San Francisco City Hall Monday, to protest the continued shutdown of outdoor dining.

Protesters rallied this morning pleading with local government officials to let small businesses get back to work by allowing restaurants to offer outdoor dining and parklets to reopen.

Show me the money and show me the science!

Two demands from San Francisco’s small business owners who rallied outside City Hall on Monday morning.

They say they have not seen a direct link between outdoor services and spreading COVID-19.

Giovanni Cincotta is one of many who is struggling through pandemic-related restrictions.

He is afraid he will be evicted when a rent moratorium expires because he and in turn his landlord isn’t getting paid.

“This is not political. We have hungry children and we need to service our outdoor decks so we can make a few dollars and pay a few bills that’s all we want to do that’s it,” Giovanni Cincotta said. 

If the county wants to keep that option off the table, people like Johnny Metheny say they need way more funding to survive.

With three decades of experience in the industry says one of his four San Francisco restaurants was a casualty in the pandemic.

“It has been rough going this last year it has been just very, very difficult we have been closed we’ve had outdoor dining which was great indoor dining to 25% which was phenomenal and boom the last month has just been zero. We have been doing take-out delivery which is not going to pay the bills and most of all we have had to lay off or not schedule over a dozen people,” Johnny Metheny said. 

It’s that ripple effect has him worried and while there has been local, state, and federal financial help, he says it’s still not enough and the PPP loan from last March has long been used up.

“There’s a lot of relief coming down the line but we do need more because a lot of these merchants a lot of these restaurants are going to be evicted. If we don’t get very strong legislation because a lot of people haven’t been paying rent and what’s going to happen when they’ll have to pay rent all at once? So these are real issues that we need to highlight to City Hall so we can get proper relief,” Vas Kiniris, protester, said. 

He compared the current relief to kicking a can down the road saying merchants have taken out one too many loans and that is not sustainable.

In the meantime, if you do need help Friday is the last day to get applications in for the small business grants between $5,000 and $25,000 that are being offered through the state.

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