Atascadero’s business community is vitally important to the City and the Council continually strives to work together with business owners towards supporting a vibrant place for residents to work and shop. On December 15, 2020, the City Council passed a Resolution authorizing the use of $250,000 from the City’s General Fund to provide small business grants for Atascadero businesses that are significantly impacted by the state’s regional stay-at-home order that went into effect on December 6, 2020.
The latest stay-at-home order resulted in a shutdown of many business categories including all on-site dining, personal services (barbers, hairdressers, nail salons etc.), fitness centers, dance studios, family entertainment/theaters and related uses from operating. Restaurants, breweries, wineries, coffee shops and other food and beverage services may now only operate on a delivery or to-go basis. The new regulation will continue an already devastating effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on many of the small businesses in Atascadero.
The City’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Fund Program is designed to support small businesses affected by the recent regional stay-at-home-order that are facing financial impacts, potential layoffs or business closures. A maximum of up to $5,000 each may be awarded to businesses that:
- Have a business storefront in Atascadero that has been in operation and open to the public, to the greatest extent possible, for 6 months or more prior to the new business restrictions.
- Is in good standing with the City with a current business license and a conforming business location.
- Is able to demonstrate that they have been directly impacted by the stay-at-home orders.
- Fits a category of a food and beverage service, bar, brewery, winery, personal service, gym, dance studio, martial arts, family entertainment center, theater, or closely related businesses. Businesses that do not qualify for the grant are general retail, general services or other essential services that are not required to close as part of the regional order.
- Substantially adheres to local COVID-19 guidelines.
- Utilizes the funds to create solutions that mitigate layoffs and/or business closure. Requests must be reasonable, necessary, and directly related to preventing potential layoffs or facility closures resulting from the effects of COVID-19, and must have taken place during COVID-19 related State-required business closures, through the end of the grant period.
Permissible use of the grant funds includes payroll expenses, business space/building rent and other creative approaches and strategies to reduce or eliminate the need for layoffs or closures
The application period begins Thursday, December 17th and ends at 12 noon on January 4th, 2021, with grants to be awarded in January. The application can be found by clicking here. In addition, there is a dedicated email to send in your grant applications to email@example.com. The grant funding spending period will be for a period of three months or until April 30, 2021. It is expected that some businesses may also be eligible for additional assistance from state or federal funds, as they become available. If the grant requests received exceed the amount of available funds, the City will rank eligibility of each request based on the grant criteria in order to select recipients. The City is also welcoming private donations to help extend the program to a greater number of businesses.