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Six nights a week, Naples Rib Co. converts its adjacent car wash lot into an outdoor dining area. That won't be allowed for the next three weeks.

When another federal stimulus package comes out, Long Beach will spend at least $5 million of it to help restaurants, breweries and bars that have been impacted by coronavirus-related closures.

The City Council approved the idea for the “resiliency fund” for the industry during its Tuesday, Dec. 8, meeting.

The item came nearly two weeks after Long Beach aligned with Los Angeles County in banning in-person dining at restaurants to stem the further spread of the coronavirus, and two days after Southern California came under a stay-at-home order that extended that ban across the region for at least three weeks.

Although another stimulus package is not guaranteed, Mayor Robert Garcia said during the meeting that he is “very confident” that the incoming Biden administration will prioritize it.

“I’m very confident in the conversations I’m having with the Biden administration that there is going to be a strong relief package on its way,” he said. “There will be a significant package come January, so we are really focused on that.”

Garcia said the $5 million investment in the fund would be a baseline and could be increased based on the size of Long Beach’s allocation in another stimulus package.

“I think obviously our restaurants, bars and the industry are in great need of additional financial support,” he said.

Alex Cherin, a spokesman for the Long Beach Restaurant Association, said his group supported the proposal, even if it doesn’t mean immediate relief for local businesses.

“We want to work with city staff and others to make sure that we’ve got the infrastructure in place ahead of time,” he said, “so that when the tranche of funding is received, hopefully in the second wave of CARES Act money, that we’re prepared to deploy it.”

Next week, the City Council is set to consider a similar $5 million resiliency fund for businesses in the personal care and fitness industries, which were also ordered to shut down because of the regional stay-at-home order.


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