South Valley organizations offer help for businesses, employees affected by coronavirus

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Vintage Press in Visalia has been offering fine dining for 54 years.

But like restaurants around the country, they're in a bind right now.

The novel coronavirus has forced them to lay off nearly 50 of their workers, leaving just a few to take care of to-go orders.

David Vartanian hopes they can eventually bring staff back.

"Hopefully this ends soon and we can all get back to work," he says.

Some Downtown Visalia restaurants have closed altogether. Others are still doing delivery and pick-up.

Downtown Visalians' Steve Nelsen says there were no business plans for a situation like this.

So they need support from customers, even if it's buying a gift card for later use.

"There's so many forces and voices saying, 'Stay home'," Nelsen says. "So I think people are conflicted. And yet we have some great restaurants offering great deals. But you can't force them to go out and partake."

The Tulare County Economic Development Corporation has set up a new website for businesses that need help or have questions about getting it.

One option they have is a Small Business Administration Disaster Loan.

Non-profits can also apply.

"They have bills to pay, they have leases to pay, those sorts of things," said Tulare County EDC President & CEO Paul Saldana. "So their immediate need is cash and that's the thing that our team is addressing with them whether it be through local programs that we have available or it's through the disaster relief programs."

Paul Saldana says he stays in constant contact with the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board.

Their website also has COVID-19 resources for workers and businesses.

If you go to Tulare County Employment Connection's Facebook page, you can keep up with employers that are actually hiring right now, such as Prestige Assisted Living at Visalia.

"Going into this, we had some of the most historically low unemployment numbers that we've seen in the last 80 year," Tulare County Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Adam Peck says. "And we will in a month, or two months'-time, have the highest unemployment numbers we project that we've seen in the last 80 years. And even though that might end up being temporary in nature, it is an immediate and just far-reaching pain that people are experiencing."

Here are some resources -

For workers:

Tulare County Employment Connection

Visalia - 4025 W. Noble Ave - (559) 713-5100

Porterville - 1063 W. Henderson Ave (559) 788-1400

Tulare - 304 E. Tulare Ave (559) 684-1987

Dinuba - 400 W. Tulare St. Suite C (559) 406-1001

For employers:

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