COVID coronavirus
Restaurants have struggled during the pandemic. Photo by Chris Stone

DoorDash will provide $225,000 in local grants as part of its expanded COVID-19 relief program to help restaurants.

Owners will be able to apply to receive $5,000 grants to be used to offset costs associated with the ongoing pandemic.

In California, the San Diego and Sacramento communities are eligible. Applications will be accepted through Feb. 17, with notifications set to take place by March 1.

The program is part of the company’s $200 million, five-year Main Street Strong Pledge, which includes a $10 million effort to help restaurants in select cities across the United States and Canada.

Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce noted how the local “restaurant industry has been hit especially hard by the fallout from the virus,” as they experience closures and operating restrictions.

“Those changes have real costs,” he said. “Thanks to DoorDash’s relief efforts, restaurants will be able to stay engaged in their communities.”

The program will be administered by DoorDash’s partner, Hello Alice, a technology to help small businesses. The process, officials said, is intended to help ensure equal access to funds and eliminate selection bias. 

“Small businesses play a great role in our economy, both locally and nationally, and have been severely impacted by COVID-19. This funding can make a world of difference for owners in these trying times and we look forward to contributing to their continued success,” said Elizabeth Gore, co-founder and president of Hello Alice.

Any restaurant that applies also will receive free access to the Hello Alice platform, which offers networking, mentorship, and tools such as the COVID-19 Restaurant Resource Center, a curated list of industry-specific resources and how-to guides.

In addition to these funds, DoorDash also announced that with the reopening of the Payment Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses, it has extended its previous partnership with BlueVine.

The provider of small business banking solutions is an official direct non-bank PPP lender, and seeks to make PPP loans more accessible to both First Draw and Second Draw merchant applicants.

DoorDash helped nearly 200 merchants receive over $6 million in PPP loans. 

During the pandemic, DoorDash has taken several steps to aid businesses and delivery workers, including providing $120 million in commission relief and marketing investments, a 50% reduction in commissions for mom-and-pop restaurants, and two weeks of earnings for those affected by COVID-19.