For many businesses, the pandemic is still something they need to recover from.
The City of Antioch is helping local businesses still struggling to regain their footing.
Kirkland Smith is the owner of Solid Rock Café in Antioch. Like many restaurants during the pandemic, the closures due to the COVID surge hurt Smith’s Business’ bottom line.
Even though the COVID mandate is a thing of the past, businesses are still seeing a decline in revenue compared to before the pandemic.
“Our revenue was down maybe 50% or so at its peak, and now we’re down about 30%,” Smith said.
Though Smith wasn’t forced to close his company like some of his peers. He’s working shorter hours to cut costs and is working off a backlog of bills that were deferred during the pandemic.
“We’re paying two bills now, the old one and the new one,” Smith said.
But for some business owners, there may be some relief.
“We are here in February 2023, and some of our businesses are still feeling the economic pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe.
Thorpe announced Wednesday that local businesses still struggling financially due to the pandemic can apply for grants of up to $15,000. They can also be reimbursed up to $25,000 for exterior wall upgrades.
It is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act for a total of $1 million.
Kwame Reed, the city’s economic development director, oversees the program and explains how eligible applicants use the grants.
“These funds can be used for overhead, rent relief, utility bills. For businesses trying to get back on their feet. Three years into the pandemic, any financial assistance would go a long way,” he said.