Language, technology could be barriers for minority-owned businesses during COVID-19

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Inside Tacos Tijuana, meals are being served to-go while the business faces an uphill battle during the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's hard to pay bills. Bills keep pilingg up if we are indoor or outdoor. They don't know what the situation is. That's what's difficult, cutting hours for our employees, employees that have been with them from the beginning," said Kathy Hernandez, the restaurant's manager.

Tacos Tijuana has three locations, and their newest restaurant off Blackstone and Ashlan Avenues started to pick up when the pandemic hit.

The business is one of many that was able to get assistance from the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation. The foundation helped Fresno and Fresno County give out more than $2.5 million in grants.

They reached out to rural communities like Firebaugh and San Joaquin.

"We were able to go there and walk through their cities and start telling small businesses, look, you need to apply. We handhold the information to them. We were able to help them fill it out," said Dora Westerlund with Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation.

They say language and technology can be barriers.

The owner of Jannat Threading Salon, Lakhveer Kaur, is an immigrant from India and just opened her business in 2020.

"They started to open in February. And we closed in March, and it was so bad," Kaur said.

She was able to get some help to pay her bills.

Tacos Tijuana used the grant to pay rent and their employees.

"We're not the only ones that are struggling. There are other mom and pops shops out there that need help. We're just one of them, and we're trying to survive," Hernandez said.

With almost three decades in business, they're hoping to keep their livelihood going for the next generation.

As this pandemic continues, the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation hopes to help more Valley businesses.
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