Local Stores, Restaurants Apply for City's Small Business Relief Fund

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City of San Diego small businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic began applying for the Small Business Relief Fund after it went live Friday.

The $6.1 million fund provides grants and micro-loans ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 to help local small businesses retain employees and stay afloat amid various federal, state and local public health orders aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

This after San Diego County leaders extended the public health orders indefinitely until further notice, making uncertain the future of many restaurants and small businesses.

In the first 24 hours of the application's availability, which opened Friday at 5 p.m., the city of San Diego told NBC 7 it received over 4,000 applications. The demand was so high that the site reportedly crashed when it went live.

Amy Kraft, co-owner of Atypical Waffle Company in North Park, said she was finally able to complete the application around 11 p.m. Friday.

"Even just like $5,000, I could make that work for a little bit of time, assuming people keep eating," Amy Kraft said.

NBC 7's Gaby Rodriguez spoke to some North Park businesses about how the fund could help them in the coming months.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the economic relief package last week, which has since increased from an initial $4 million announced by the city to $6.1 million.

The program is open to businesses that can show they have sustained economic hardship due to COVID-19, have a city business license and have been in operation for at least six months, according to the city.

Businesses with more than 100 employees, golf courses, gambling facilities, nonprofits and home-based businesses are among those ineligible for the fund.

Even with a steady stream of to-go orders, most of the small businesses NBC 7 spoke to in North Park said they would not be able to survive with the current volume of customers for more than a couple of months.

"We started our business with no savings, next to nothing, just a small farmer's market pop up," said Joseph Kraft, co-owner of Atypical Waffle. "It would definitely be heartbreaking to have to close the business."

Click here for the Small Business Relief Fund application.

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