Walnut Creek to create COVID-19 grant program for restaurants struggling amid stay-at-home order

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Citing an urgent need to help struggling restaurants after the second coronavirus stay-at-home order, the Walnut Creek City Council has decided to move forward on a relief grant program.

The exact details of the grant program will be drafted and brought back to the City Council for review. City staff said the money likely won't be distributed until February at the earliest.

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Generally, the program will see to provide $5,000 or $10,000 grants to restaurants in the city. The money would come from the city's general fund, which had some unspent money that had been budgeted in 2020.

Which businesses will be eligible is yet to be determined. The council advised staff to consider several factors, including the number of employees, whether it is independent versus a chain, whether it is downtown or citywide and basic financial information like tax returns.

The council recommended allocating $500,000 to the program.

VIDEO: Here's what Walnut Creek looked like on day 1 of new shelter-in-place
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It's a different world out there this week in parts of the East Bay. Crowded stores over the weekend have given way to an uneasy quiet, reminiscent of the shelter-in-place last spring.



Some council members expressed concern that other businesses, such as gyms, personal services and retail, were left out. But generally, the council was unanimous in wanting to support restaurants.

Mayor Kevin Wilk said he understands other businesses are suffering, but said restaurants are more acutely at risk of closure due to whiplash from changing restrictions.

"We have to concentrate our efforts," said Mayor Wilk on the city's rebound efforts.

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"I think it's a great idea," said Walnut Creek Yacht Club Co-owner, Kevin Weinberg.

His restaurant has been a staple on Locust Street for 23 years and had been surviving through the first shutdown and outdoor dining era.

But this latest shutdown has been harder to handle, said Weinberg.

"Our revenue stream is down to a dribble. There's no hope," he said.

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