SOLANA BEACH — The Solana Beach City Council unanimously approved COVID-19 relief grants to 84 local small businesses, totaling just over $202,000, at its August 26 meeting.
The grants come out of the city’s $239,000 share of federal CARES Act relief, which it received in May through the county government’s process of divvying federal dollars between 17 cities.
Of its allocation, council earmarked the lion’s share (84%) to support small businesses, putting the remainder toward reimbursable COVID-related costs incurred by the city government.
In its small business relief program, council prioritized local brick-and-mortar shops with 20 or fewer employees, and which public health orders forced to close or significantly reduce operations.
During the application window, which lasted only 10 days in early July, 105 businesses applied. Accepted applicants include 38 salons, estheticians and other personal care businesses (45%); 17 eating and drinking establishments (20%); 14 retail shops (17%); 10 gyms or other fitness or dance establishments; and 5 businesses in a smattering of other categories.
Grant recipients include About You Day Spa, Big Fish Tattoo, Salon by the Cove, St. James Thrift Store, Barefoot Coffee Roasters, Subway, Tidewater Tavern, Fusion Dance Solana Beach, Hyun Kang Taekwondo, Anthony’s Shoe Repair, North Coast Repertory Theatre and Total Photo.
A council subcommittee and city staff weeded out 20 applicants that didn’t meet the council’s priority criteria, on the basis, for example, that they could reasonably telecommute or were part of a chain store.
Rejected applicants include, among others, International Bath and Tile of San Diego, Mitchell’s Floor Coverings, Pacific Coastal Properties, Premiere Cleaners, Vacation Rentals by Kimberly, Dr. Michael Foyle (optometrist), Law Office of J E Driscoll, Paul and Eva Dickstein Tutoring and Solana Beach Community Preschool.
After applying but prior to the awarding of grants, one business ceased to operate in the city.
The state government has also allocated to Solana Beach $171,000 in CARES Act funding, on top of the $239,000 the city received earlier through the county. Including some $39,000 remaining from the first round, net of the small business grants, the city has about $207,000 of federal relief left to parse.
Of this amount, the council voted unanimously to allocate $145,000, including a $40,000 reserve buffer, toward reimbursable COVID-related expenses from the city’s General Fund. The city has so far incurred about $92,000 in such costs — $510,000, including personnel costs.
CARES-eligible reimbursable expenses include salaries, overtime and benefits for public employees; additional janitorial and services and disinfection of public areas; face coverings; thermometers; plexiglass dividers; signs reminding people to wear masks; teleworking capacity for city staff; and the like.
Roughly $62,000 remains for public assistance programs, which the council will decide on at a later date. Mayor Jewel Edson suggested “development of an emergency rent or eviction relief program and/or continuation of the [city’s] free food distribution program.”