Mission Valley Mall is empty except for a few restaurants. Photo by Chris Stone

The deadline for operators of small businesses and nonprofits to apply for $500 million in state COVID-19 relief funds has been extended, a San Diego County supervisor and business officials said Monday.

Those who qualify have until 11:59 p.m. Jan. 13 to apply at www.CaReliefgrant.com, an extension of the original deadline date of Jan. 8. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the grant funds last month for small businesses and nonprofits.

The grants will cover business expenses specifically for small businesses hit by the pandemic. The grants are not first-come, first-serve. A review of all applications will start after the application period ends.

Daniel Fitzgerald, regional director of the San Diego & Imperial SBDC Network, said a team of more than 100 business advisers provided over 20,000 hours of one-on-one assistance in 2020, “helping small business owners access disaster assistance and get through the pandemic.”

“With the new state and federal programs, our team will be ready and available to help small businesses,” he said.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, co-chair of San Diego County’s COVID-19 subcommittee, said it was a very difficult year for the business community, particularly small businesses.

“That is the reason we have worked hard to provide relief and help during this difficult time,” Fletcher said. “I am excited to work with the San Diego & Imperial SBDC Network and the San Diego Foundation again to deliver funding, information and technical support for businesses and nonprofits.”

The federal government’s new stimulus package features new and renewed assistance for small business owners and nonprofits, including:

— additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, allowing businesses who did not receive a loan to apply and receive a loan equal to 2.5 times their monthly payroll.
— options for businesses that have had at least a 25% drop in revenue to apply for a second PPP loan (hard-hit industries such as restaurants and hospitality, can receive up to 3.5 times their monthly payroll).
— $15 billion for grants for shuttered venues, including theaters and museums.
— an extension of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, including a renewal for the up to $10,000 grant program for businesses that did not previously receive the funding.
— availability of PPP loans for nonprofit organizations.

State and federal grant money “will be vital to the recovery of San Diego County businesses in the New Year,” Fletcher said.

Mark Stuart, the San Diego Foundation’s president and CEO, said new state and federal funding measures are an opportunity to bolster the nonprofit sector, which in turn provides much-needed relief for San Diegans impacted by COVID-19.

“We will educate and inform San Diego nonprofits about the SBDC services and training available to them to assist in application development so we can bring federal and state funds home to San Diego to help our community,” he added.

The San Diego & Imperial SBDC Network, hosted by Southwestern College, is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

— City News Service

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