CALIFORNIA—On December 3, The Los Angeles County Development Authority website launched the Keep LA County Dining Grant Program. This grant would assist small business owners with Covid relief funds, however after experiencing technical issues within the first hour of accepting applications the website crashed.

The Director of Communications and Public Affairs representative Elisa Vasquez shared with City News Service “6,000 applicants tried to start an account through the portal and it crashed, only one application has been fully submitted and 315 applications are currently being reviewed”

The Keep LA County Dining Grant Program was designed to help small businesses and restaurants after the closure of in-door and now as of recently in-person dining due to Covid.

“The LACDA has been a key department in the County’s efforts to provide emergency relief to residents and business owners in the County.  We have deployed nearly $200 million in emergency relief funding and the County is poised to deploy $1.2 billion to respond to the pandemic” Communications and Public Affairs Unit Director Vasquez told Canyon News.

The crash was caused by a surge of applications.“ The portal was overwhelmed due to the surge of thousands of applications, which caused the technical difficulties” Vasquez shared with Canyon News.

“The Keep LA County Dining Grant Program is a $5.6 million program that will provide restaurants with $30,000 grants to bolster them during this period of economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program was approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on November 24, 2020, and is supported by Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding” stated in press release.

Funding from the grant is intended to be used to make all necessary changes to business to meet restriction guidelines, payroll, and paying outstanding balances.

For the small business owners that have been impacted currently by the regulations and guidelines must met the following criteria those that are located within the county, have less than 25 employees, and no more than five existing restaurants. The Pop-up locations and food trucks do not qualify for the grant. The business must have a C rating or higher from health department, along with being a non-corporate-owned franchise. Lastly, restaurant must have been up and running before March 4,2020.

“Such a grant is critical for businesses such as restaurants who are feeling a financial strain during this difficult time, through no fault of their own” disclosed Vasquez with Canyon News.

As of December 5, “LACDA has resolved the technical issues that downed the Keep LA County Dining Grant Program application portal earlier in the week. A new application platform is scheduled to reopen on Monday, December 7, 2020, at 8 a.m. and will remain available until Tuesday, December 8, 2020, at 5 p.m., or until 2,500 applications are received, whichever comes first. The application can be accessed at User accounts created within the previous system are no longer valid” stated in press release.

The LACDA has been in communication with the registrants that were able to complete the application the first time, as there is no need to re-register. For the applicants that were able to register but not complete the process have also been reached out to and given the new instructions on how to complete process.

As the grant funds will be dispersed equally among the Supervisorial District. A list will be conducted based on each district in the order they were received, however priority will be given to those restaurants that have been providing outdoor dining to the public as of November 24,2020. For all businesses that qualify will know the statues of there application the week of December 21,2020.