California Extends Deadline to Apply for Small Business Assistance Grant

The deadline for applying for the state’s COVID-19 Small Business Grants Program was extended after thousands of businesses applied and many were unable to pass. The owner of the Flights restaurant, Alex Hult, was one of them and shares his frustration.

“If we don’t get help, we may not survive this,” Hult said.

Hult used to have five Flights restaurant locations and now there are only four. Its Mountain View location closed after a rent dispute with the landlord during the pandemic.

He had over 300 employees and had to lay off most of them. Food and take out just don’t mix.

“You can’t survive if you’re a fine dining restaurant to eat alone and eat al fresco,” Hult said.

He said he had lost millions of dollars. He wanted to speak to KTVU after struggling to access California’s new COVID-19 small business subsidy program launched last week.

“The website crashed,” Hult said. “I kept trying, trying and trying. I probably tried 50 times the first day just to make sure we were there because we are desperate.”

It turns out that a lot of business owners couldn’t pass due to the high traffic on the website. The application period has been extended from January 8 to January 13.

“We are launching these grants and loans that are supposed to be of benefit to all of these affected businesses and again that is not working,” Hult said.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joseph Simitian said he had heard about the barriers many business owners faced in applying for loans.

Simitian is behind a new county partnership with the state’s California Rebuilding Fund, where businesses can receive low-interest loans of up to $ 100,000.

“We all want the state and the federal government to step up, but I think we’ve learned in nine months that we need to have some autonomy,” Simitian said.

Hult said what he needed was not another loan, but the reopening of alfresco dining.

“What are the loans going to do,” Hult said. “We’ve already burned that money. We’re just going to go into more debt.”

“I’m saying it’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness,” Simitian said. “We’re doing what we can understand that we can’t do it all. This is especially true at the county level. We don’t have the capacity to print money like they do in Washington DC.”

For those interested in the county loan program, information can be found at caloanfund.org. As for the owner of Flights Restaurant, he is betting on the second round of the PPP and he hopes that his application for the new state subsidy program will be accepted.


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