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Supervisors OK Grant Money For Small Businesses Affected By Pandemic

Customers sit in an outdoor dining area on India Street in Little Italy, June...

Photo by Andrew Bowen

Above: Customers sit in an outdoor dining area on India Street in Little Italy, June 18, 2020.

San Diego County supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved millions of dollars in grants for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Money from the county's Small Business Stimulus Program will be "used towards supporting public health and response activities associated with the COVID-19 pandemic," according to the county.

Four districts will receive these amounts:

— District 1: Roughly $3.9 million, which will be distributed among 506 businesses;

— District 2: $4.1 million, for 254 businesses;

— District 4: $2.5 million, for 493 businesses;

— District 5: $4.1 million, for 776 businesses.

There was no request for District 3, represented by Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, on Tuesday's agenda.

Spokeswoman Itica Milanes said Monday that Gaspar would be submitting her grant proposals "possibly at the Sept. 29th board meeting."

Supervisor Jim Desmond, who represents District 5, said Tuesday that the money "wasn't enough to cover all the essentials, but we'll continue to fight to get those businesses open again and thriving."

Board Chairman Greg Cox, who represents District 1, said small businesses are the "backbone of our economy," and have weathered numerous challenges amid the pandemic.

These grants may seem small, to but those businesses which are struggling, "they make all the difference in the world," Cox said.

According to Steve Schmidt, Supervisor Dianne Jacob's spokesman, more than 80 of the recipients in District 5 are restaurants. There are also "many salons, barbershops and fitness-related businesses" receiving grant money, Schmidt said.

He added that in Jacob's district alone, there were more than 800 applicants, with a total of $95 million in requested funds.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who represents District 4, announced the grants during a Monday event, saying there was a "real focus and priority in our allocation to make sure we find those small businesses. They are part of our community and I wanted to make sure they weren't left behind."

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