Financial Aid Is Coming To Irvine’s Small Businesses

Special City Council Meeting – May 29th at 10:00AM 
Staff Report

Agenda item 1.1:  Local Business Support Program Utilizing COVID-19 Allocation from the County Of Orange

The City of Irvine is seeking authorization for City Manager John Russo, to execute the “Subrecipient Agreement” with the County of Orange for a $5,046,186 grant to implement programs supporting Irvine businesses. Staff also requests that the City Manager be given authorization to provide direction on developing a local business support program that will be implemented with the grant money which is part of the County Grant from the Federal CARES Act allocation.

The city will use the grant money to pay for eligible expenses that are:

  1. Necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020.
  2. Grant funds can be used to reimburse costs of business interruption caused by required closures and unemployment insurance costs related to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency which were not reimbursed by the Federal Government.

Staff has been working on drafting a framework for the Business Assistance Program and has been consulting with cities that have developed Business Assistance Programs for their local businesses.

Note:  Staff recommends prioritizing retail businesses over other business categories.

Staff is Considering Irvine’s Business Assistance Program To Include:

  1. Providing relief funds to assist business owners with payroll, Capital or equipment expenses
  2. Providing relief funds to pay for lease and or mortgage expenses.
  3. Providing business grants of $25,000 to eligible businesses.

Eligible Businesses Include:

  1. Irvine businesses located in Irvine and have valid Irvine business licenses. The staff report does not mention that the grants are intended for small businesses only, however the report states that the city is in the process of determining criteria to qualify as a small business.
  2. Businesses that demonstrate financial impact by the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
  3. Businesses that have reopened or are ready to reopen pursuant to CDC criteria.

Eligible Business Expenses Include:

  1. Personal protective equipment for staff and patrons.
  2. Devices intended to enhance safety of staff and patrons such as disinfecting air purifiers, hands free dispensers and hands free payment devices.
  3. Payroll, capital or equipment expenses and business operational costs.