It has been a few months since parts of the economy began to reopen after the Covid-19 restrictions. While some businesses like restaurants and essential businesses have been open for some time now, many other entities have held off on reopening during the pandemic.
While states like California have reopened a majority of businesses, others like Alabama have paused their reopening plans. This has mainly been attributed to the mounting reopening challenges LA businesses have faced, including financial difficulty and staffing shortages.
In recognition of the difficulties being faced and in a bid to get the LA business scene thriving again, federal and local officials are moving to support local businesses. From financial assistance to business advice and relaxed restrictions, here is what Los Angeles is doing to support its businesses and entrepreneurs.
Small Business Recovery Loan Program Launched To Keep LA Businesses Afloat
The LA Small Business Recovery Loan Program was launched in April by the LA County Board of Supervisors. The initiative is aimed at supporting small local businesses that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, and apply to any for-profit business with 25 or fewer employees. If approved, LA businesses can use the financing for key business expenses like payroll and rent.
Businesses are not required to provide any collateral, and can defer the loan interest and principal for up to 12 months. The maximum loan amount is capped at $20,000 and, businesses get up to five years to repay. Alternatively, businesses in LA can benefit from a Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) business loan. This loan also provides small businesses with free business consulting advice to help them maximize their funding and get back on their feet post-pandemic.
The City Of Los Angeles Releases Reopening Toolkits To Make The Process Simpler For Businesses
Businesses can now download tailored business support toolkits developed by the City Of Los Angeles. These toolkits were formulated to help businesses navigate the reopening process with ease, confidence and clarity. It includes several guidance documents that are customized to various industries like restaurants, retail and hair salons. Businesses can access samples of social distancing signage, social distancing protocols, and the Covid-19 Safety Compliance Program For Business Owners and Employees.
A large part of the reopening protocol also focuses on the sanitization of business premises and workplaces, also referred to as the LA Department Of Health Cleaning/Disinfection Matrix. In addition to recommendations on when to use routine, enhanced and deep cleaning, the document also advises businesses to use chemical-free disinfectants that avoid hypersensitivity in customers and employees. Chemicals such as formaldehyde and ammonia have been shown to have negative health effects when exposed to. Therefore, while the county is recommending enhanced cleaning and safety protocols, they want businesses to do so in a safe way.
Signage Restrictions Relaxed For The Diamond Bar Municipal Code Until The End Of 2020
Another way Los Angeles is supporting the reopening of businesses is by relaxing the signage and parking rules. In the cities like Diamond Bar, businesses will not be penalized for installing temporary signs without the relevant permits. The city recognizes the increased need to implement strict health and safety policies to reopen successfully, and this includes installing social distancing and amending operational signs. Currently, the relaxation of signage rules has been extended until 31 December 2020 in Diamond City. However, the deadline differs across Los Angeles. Grid zone and peak-hour parking restrictions have also been relaxed to make it easier for customers to get to the store or appointments.
There is no question that businesses in Los Angeles are facing sizeable challenges to reopening after Covid-19. These are just a few ways the county is moving to support businesses in their recovery as much as possible. However, it is clear that the recovery process will be more of a marathon than a sprint this time.
Cassandra Winter is a professional writer and editor. After a career in PR for an arts charity, she now focuses on writing about her favourite topics from public art to restoration and events. When not working she loves swimming, hiking and quiet nights in with her family.