Small businesses in Costa Mesa will be getting Coronavirus relief money from the County of Orange to help deal with the financial losses suffered because of business closures as they begin to reopen.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to accept over $2.7 million in federal relief funds from Orange County to help small businesses get back on their feet.

“This will be the first time the city does receive funding related to the COVID-19 crisis. This will be the first time any check has been cut to this city,” said City Manager Lori Ann Farrell Harrison. “We’ll be able to provide some programming and some funding there to be able to help the businesses that have been struggling.”

The $2.7 million comes from the $75 million in CARES act stimulus money the Orange County Board of Supervisors has set aside to help small businesses. The city’s allocation of the money is based on a population basis.

The $75 million was split between the five districts in the County evenly. In district two which encompasses Costa Mesa, Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel opted to distribute the money directly to cities.

“I trust that city governments have a better understanding of the needs of their local business community,” Steel said in a press release from the city.  

At the meeting on Tuesday, Councilmember Allan Mansoor asked if the money could be used to help small businesses pay their rent.

Harrison said staff is still going through all the eligible expenses and when they return to the council with recommendations on how to distribute the money to businesses it will be very clear what the money can be used for.

Mayor Katrina Foley said there is a coalition of mayors in the country working on getting the next portion of funding to go directly to cities and to be used to help recover revenue loss caused by the pandemic.

“There’s a lot of strings attached to this funding here and we hope that we don’t have to deal with that in the next tranche of funding,” Foley said.

Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC news intern. Contact him or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.

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