Cities across the Coachella Valley are extending business assistance programs to help small businesses who have been struggling during the pandemic. NBC Palms Springs spoke to restaurant owners who say the help is much needed and greatly appreciated.
Restaurant owners say they are happy to see cities stepping up to help, but they are still concerned about finances and paying their employees. The City of Palm Desert recently voted to use another $1 million dollars in reserve funds to help local restaurants.
“We are digging deep to give extra support to our restaurants and our residents in the face of the extended stay at home order,” said Mayor Kathleen Kelly of Palm Desert.
The Restaurant Recovery Program was approved on Thursday and is expected to help over 80 businesses.
“We should be packed right now in a normal situation, and we have no revenue, so it’s very difficult, and we had to lay off all our employees,” said Didier Bloch, Co-owner of Cafe Des Beaux-Arts.
But Bloch does not hold the city leaders accountable, He says the state government has played a big role in the situation we are in.
“I think the state has been very harsh on restaurants and I don’t think the restaurant represents a big percentage of the contamination,” explained Bloch.
And in Palm Springs, the city council also motioning to spend $1 million dollars to help their small businesses.
“Assistance is definitely appreciated if we want to keep our community full of small businesses and the charm that it has, helping us out is pretty much the best way to go about it,” said Kelly Sedre, Owner of Gre Coffee House and Art Gallery.
Owners who are in the process of applying for the added assistance say the main focus of theirs will be employees.
“It’s payroll, it’s my staff, I want to make sure that they’re taken care of and anything that I can obtain from the government is going to help them out, and there my first priority aside from the customers,” said Corey Saldana, Owner of the Sandwich Spot.
The city of Palm Desert received 139 applications so far, 57 of those being restaurants that are waiting for approval.