A waitress walks past the bar as she serves outdoor dinners at George’s Greek Cafe in Long Beach Friday, March 12, 2021. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

The Long Beach Economic Development department is now accepting applications for grants to cover certain business license taxes and fees for eligible restaurants, the city announced Monday afternoon.

The grants seek to provide financial relief to full-service, independently owned restaurants by reimbursing costs from between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. The grants can be used for business license taxes, parking and business improvement area assessments, health and fire permit fees, and penalty or late payment fees incurred last year.

“Long Beach is committed to supporting our local independent restaurants that have been impacted by the pandemic,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “These grants will provide much-needed financial support to help our city’s restaurants recover from this economic crisis.”

The city has allocated $1.3 million from its General Fund emergency reserves for the program that is expected to assist 300-400 businesses, according to department spokesperson Johnny Vallejo. The grant amounts depend on the total taxes and fees each business was charged, but the average is expected to be about $4,000, Vallejo said.

Operators who own multiple businesses may qualify for more than one grant, according to the city, but a second grant is dependent on available funding.

To be eligible for a grant, businesses must have experienced financial hardship as a result of pandemic-related state, regional and/or local health orders, must have a Long Beach business license from the 2020 calendar year and must not be in bankruptcy or permanently closed at the time the application was submitted.

Applications may be submitted at longbeach.gov for city staff to screen for eligibility. If deemed eligible, business owners would then submit a valid ID and W-9 form.

For assistance completing a grant application, business owners may call 562-570-4249 or visit one of the city’s BizCare Pop-Ups through out the city from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the following schedule:

  • Mondays at Admiral Kidd Park (2125 Santa Fe Ave.)
  • Tuesdays at Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library (5870 Atlantic Ave.)
  • Wednesdays at Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library (5870 Atlantic Ave.)
  • Wednesdays at The Corner Pop-up (2640 Anaheim St.)
  • Thursdays at Mark Twain Neighborhood Library (1401 E. Anaheim St.)

Information about additional business assistance and resources is available on the city’s business support page.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.