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Solana Beach businesses ask for more help in coronavirus recovery

City plans $200,000 grant program
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Posted at 7:37 AM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 10:56:25-04

SOLANA BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) - Business leaders in Solana Beach are calling on the city government for more help as they try to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing economic fallout.

On June 10, the City Council agreed to set aside $200,000 of CARES Act funding to distribute as grant money to businesses with 25 or fewer employees.

While business owners 10News spoke to say they're grateful for any help they can get, some feel it's not enough.

"We have 1,000 to 1,200 small businesses here in the city that would qualify," says Chamber of Commerce Co-President Ron Blumberg. "So, you do the math."

City officials haven't decided how they'll divvy up the money, or what businesses will have to do to apply. They also haven't said how many businesses would receive the grants.

But if the money is given out equally, or even pro-rated based on size, it would only amount to a few hundred dollars per business. Blumberg says he'd like to see the city combine that money with other business-friendly moves.

Blumberg thinks the city could waive permit fees and restrictions to allow all businesses to expand to their sidewalks. He says they could also remove parking restrictions.

"Anything that the City can do, to allow businesses to do business under these really crazy circumstances," says Blumberg.

The City Council says they're looking into options and has allowed restaurants to add seating on the sidewalks. But in their last council meeting, they decided not to close portions of Cedros Avenue to traffic, which would have allowed businesses in the popular design district to expand even more.

Other business owners say they'd like the local government to play more of an advocate role, marketing the city and bringing awareness of what has reopened. They think that will draw more customers to the area.

10News reached out to the City of Solana Beach for comment on these ideas. A city employee told us no one was available to speak this week.