Small Businesses Struggle Over Lack of Relief Funds

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Small businesses in California are getting hit hard by the coronavirus shut down and now, they find themselves in the middle of a very public fight between the state and federal government over where the relief money is going and not going. 

There are more than 4,500 small businesses in Santa Clara, and most are hurting. 

Jorge Rojas celebrated his ninth year anniversary at A Slice of New York Pizza Monday, but he wasn't celebrating.

Rojas, the restaurant operator, is applying for every assistance program possible but gets discouraged when he sees things like the letter from Senator Dianne Feinstein asking for an investigation into why California is seemingly a low priority for federal funds.

“We’re not a huge corporate chain,” Rojas said. “We’re a mom and pop shop, support would be nice. I’m really keeping my fingers crossed but I’m not holding my breath.”

Owner Kirk Vartan has applied for a $250,000 PPP loan, a disaster relief loan and a Santa Clara grant. His business does well usually, so he wants to buy time.

“Our payroll runs about 26,000 a week, so that will cover payroll and our utilities and rent, so it gives us runway,” Vartan said.

Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor says that the idea behind the city’s $5,000 and $10,000 grants is that, “It gives them at least a little bit of protection in this time period between the state and federal assistance.”

The city has gotten swamped with more than 500 applications and is already planning on expanding the grant program.

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