Palm Desert adds $ 1 million to its business assistance program to help its restaurants
Another million dollars from the Palm Desert reserve fund will be used to help restaurants affected by the current COVID-19 closure with interest-free loans that can be canceled if certain criteria are met.
Of these funds, $ 200,000 will be used to reimburse restaurants offering free healthy meals to seniors and residents of affordable housing in the city, with the possibility of serving 7,400 meals.
The funds were unanimously approved Thursday for the city’s ongoing “Unite Palm Desert” program which has so far provided more than $ 2 million in assistance to businesses and residents who have been financially affected by the pandemic through various closures since March.
The money comes from the city’s economic development reserve fund.
Palm Desert restaurants impacted by the still-in-place Dec. 7 stay-at-home order are eligible. Applications will be available on the city’s website, www.cityofpalmdesert.org, starting January 20.
How the funds will be distributed:
- $ 800,000 is allocated for interest-free forgivable loans of $ 5,000 to $ 10,000.
- $ 200,000 is allocated to reimburse restaurants for meals prepared and delivered to eligible residents such as seniors and people living in affordable housing in the city; up to $ 27 per meal, including a $ 5 delivery charge. The potential is 7,400 meals to serve.
To be eligible, restaurants:
- Must comply with the regional stay-at-home ordinance issued on December 7 and may be amended or extended.
- Must remain open for take out service – or operate as permitted by current / future COVID-19 regional health orders.
- Must remain in business until May 31, 2021 to receive loan forgiveness.
- Must comply with all state, county and city laws and ordinances.
“There is also an opportunity here for us to work with our restaurants to provide COVID-safe scheduled meals to our police and firefighters,” Economic Development Director Martin Alvarez said in thanking them.
Board member Karina Quintanilla also suggested looking for a way to provide meals for students, perhaps in a drive-thru setting.
“We know that many students who supplement their academic endeavors with sometimes part-time jobs have been hit very hard during the pandemic and I think… we could certainly be able to serve our students,” Quintanilla said.
The “restaurant stimulus program” approved Thursday is expected to help about 80 businesses, Alvarez said.
The additional funds for Unite Palm Desert came at the request of the council, saying in December they wanted to be able to do more for small businesses, especially restaurants, affected by the current stay-at-home order.
The ordinance reduced restaurants to take-out and delivery-only services, and closed service-related businesses such as barbers and nail salons, barber shops, gyms, except for programs of outdoor and others.
At a special meeting on Dec. 22, the board approved the reallocation of $ 500,000 into the Unite Palm Desert program that had been earmarked for a hospitality incentive program, to be used for interest-free loans of 5 $ 000 for up to 100 qualifying businesses.
With that approval, the board asked staff to come back with a plan that puts more money into the program to help businesses, especially restaurants.
Staff worked with the City Council’s Economic Development Subcommittee (EDC) to formulate and revise the Economic Relief Program guidelines for restaurants, focused on helping restaurants that Alvarez says have been particularly affected.
The city received 139 applications – 82 companies related to services such as salons and 57 restaurants – for the $ 500,000 board approved last month, Alvarez said.
Nominations from the 57 restaurants can be included in the program approved Thursday, Alvarez said.
“Maybe that will open up additional loans… for service-related businesses,” he said.
The city created Unite Palm Desert in May, setting up a tiered program to help businesses and residents through interest-free loans and rent and mortgage assistance during the pandemic.
The program has to date provided over $ 1 million in interest-free loans of $ 1,500 to $ 25,000 to 156 Palm Desert businesses.
In addition, around $ 61,000 has been awarded to residents in need of rent assistance or mortgage assistance with an additional $ 198,000 of applications currently under review, the city spokesperson said. , David Hermann.
Desert Sun reporter Sherry Barkas covers the towns of La Quinta, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert. She can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @TDSsherryBarkas