Some Fresno restaurants hit by pandemic hope to reopen with help of new state funding

'This is the type of aid we should have seen 6 to 8 months ago.'
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Millions of Californians struggling during the pandemic will get much needed money in their pockets.

On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $7.6 billion coronavirus relief package that will give at least $600 to more than 5.7 million people.

RELATED: California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs $7.6 billion stimulus package with $600 stimulus payments

Small businesses will get more than $2 billion in grants as well.

The Lincoln Pub and Grub in Fresno's Tower District celebrated its one-year anniversary during the pandemic.

It was shut down at that time but is planning to re-open for outdoor dining on Friday.

Co-owner Aaron Gossett says this aid will help them bring back their staff.

"At the end of the day it allows us to keep our business. We got in this two years ago, we were thriving, even the Tower itself was really coming back, we were busy every single day, and then all of a sudden it just crashed and now we are basically just - we are fighting for scraps," says Gossett.

Back in November, the state set aside $500 million for small business grants - the package Newsom just signed adds $2.1 billion into that program.

It also provides two years of fee relief for nearly 60,000 bars and restaurants, which Gossett says will help The Lincoln save thousands of dollars.

"This is the type of aid we should have seen six to eight months ago," Gossett said. "It's late. I'm going to be honest. We would have liked to seen a lot more...I know a lot of my friends in this industry, it's too late for them. They've already shut their doors and they are not coming back. We are going to be ok here at the Lincoln."

Take 3 in downtown Fresno also temporarily closed its doors during the COVID crisis and is hoping the new funding will make a significant impact for the restaurant.

"I would hope that we could utilize it to get the doors back open," says co-owner Desirae Washington.

Washington is also the Business to Business Support Specialist for Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce. She said, "For many businesses, I don't want to say that the relief is too late but we still have a hole to dig ourselves out of."

The president and CEO of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, Scott Miller, says the city has more than a thousand businesses with more than 70,000 workers - and this relief is very important to everyone who is eligible to receive it.

"We want everyone to be able to open as safely and quickly as possible - if this new grant program, or the extension of this new program can help people make it until they can be all the way open, we are going to be for it," Miller says.

The urgent relief also includes at least $600 in one-time payments for about 5.7 million people who qualify based primarily on income.

For more details to see if you qualify, click here.
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