San Diego County administration building
The historic San Diego County administration building. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to approve $20 million in aid for businesses affected by San Diego County’s slide into the most-restrictive purple tier of the state’s four-tiered coronavirus monitoring system.

Greg Cox and Nathan Fletcher, co-chairs of the County of San Diego’s COVID-19 Subcommittee, proposed making $20 million in general funds available to provide relief to businesses negatively impacted by the indoor closures mandated by the purple tier.

“Due to the massive spike in COVID-19 cases and very concerning increases in hospitalizations we have to take action to slow the spread in San Diego County,” they said in a joint statement. “Through no fault of their own, COVID-19 highest risk entities have to stop indoor operations. While we know this step is vital to help slow the spread in our community, we want to step up and help those impacted.”

“Our goal for the $20 million is to provide relief to restaurants, gyms and other entities that have been directly impacted by the indoor closures due to our county’s purple tier status. We want to provide this critical relief to them as our community works to slow the spread and stop the surge of COVID- 19 cases.”

Funds will also be available for event businesses, such as caterers and party planners.

Cox, board chairman, said during Wednesday’s virtual special meeting that providing the right critical relief for businesses is a priority.

“I realize we’re in a situation none of us created,” he said. “We want nothing more than for businesses to get back to normal, but this is one small step we can make to help them hang on.”

Supervisor Jim Desmond, described the funds a much-needed bandage for struggling businesses, but not a solution. “These businesses aren’t looking for a hand-out; they just want to get back to work,” the board vice-chairman said.

The funding will be divided evenly between the five supervisorial districts — with each receiving about $4 million.

The county will accept applications for the funds.

— City News Service