Gardena financial relief program on the way


By Ronald Penh

As a result of many residents facing financial difficulties amid COVID-19 restrictions, the federal government has provided a grant to the city of Gardena in which a relief program will be created with the funds to allocate towards individuals and businesses.

The closure of many businesses due to social distancing regulations has created a severe setback for the economy.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, is the federal program that granted these funds to cities throughout the United States in an effort to offset the financial burden that the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed.

“The latest news we heard over the weekend is that one in four restaurants will shut down,” Clint Osorio, city manager of Gardena said

A total of $370,000 will be allocated towards businesses while an amount of $75,000 will be given to individuals, available for Gardena residents only.

Determining eligibility, how much of the funds will be given to each individual and business, and how applicants will be selected is still in the process of being created by city officials.

“We’re still putting it together, the criteria from the federal government is stringent but there may be enough…”

Gardena is known to have plenty of small businesses and restaurants which draws concerns to Osorio on how Gardena’s economy may be affected by COVID-19.

“We do have a good amount of smaller restaurants here, so again, those are going to be the ones that are going to be affected even more because they’re not going to have the capital to withstand a blow like this,” Osorio said.

As take-out and delivery methods have been the primary method of making profits that have kept businesses afloat, the gap between how much businesses have made before social distancing regulations with the dine-in option available has been significant.

According to a statistic from Osorio, businesses are only making 5 to 10% of what they normally make.

“Our economy right now as we know it, there’s so many unknowns right now. I don’t know how many businesses are going to be back up and open,” Osorio said. “We won’t know until months from now.”

When LA County began to reopen its economy through a 5 stage process, the city of Gardena followed suit in an effort to manage the spread of COVID-19 through incremental steps and to create more leeway for businesses to operate and make profits.

“A lot of experts are predicting wave two is coming, we don’t want to put people’s lives in danger”

Osorio said that Gardena plans to mirror the county’s actions in terms of reopening the city.

“There’s a delicate balance between the two as far as keeping people safe and keeping roofs over their heads and food on their tables,” Osorio said.

For more information, you can contact the Gardena Emergency Operations Center at 310-217-9583.