LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis released the following statement after President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law:
“I am grateful to the Biden Administration and our congressional leadership for working arduously to pass the American Rescue Plan, a comprehensive and historic relief bill. The plan includes $400 billion in direct payments to families, $350 billion in critical aid to state and local governments, more than $55 billion for important COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and contact tracing efforts, $28.6 billion to help restaurants struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic, $15 billion for targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and $7.25 billion for forgivable loans in the Paycheck Protection Program for Americans across the country.
The American Rescue Plan will get immediate relief to restaurants, non-profits, and minority-owned businesses in communities that have been hardest hit by the economic fallout of this pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the food service sector in the County. As of September 2020, 1,320 food services and drinking places experienced 7+ consecutive days of closure, according to a study by LAEDC. The study also found a 28% negative change in employment from the previous year. This bill will provide $28.6 billion in debt-free relief for small and mid-sized restaurants. The first three weeks of the grant period would prioritize restaurants owned and operated by women, people of color and veterans. Grants can be spent on payroll and benefits up to $100,000 a year, mortgage, rent, utilities, maintenance, supplies (including PPE and cleaning products), food and beverages, supplier costs, operational expenses, and paid sick leave.
The bill also appropriates $15 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans that will be targeted to small minority-owned businesses in underserved areas. This program offers flexible relief and low-interest loans that will be critical for our small businesses in the County that are not able to take on heightened debt. Additionally, the bill extends the Paycheck Protection Program with $7.25 billion in new funding to include more non-profits, which continue providing critical services throughout this County. The County’s economic healing depends on the wellbeing of our small businesses and their employees. I urge our small business community to take advantage of these new federal programs.
Above all, this legislation recognizes that if we are ever to have a full recovery, we must triumph over this pandemic. This plan is going to get shots in arms as quickly and equitably as possible, creating a national vaccination program that will provide us with further resources to set up community vaccination sites for our residents across the County. And as we scale up vaccines, this legislation recognizes the continued need for mitigation efforts, and puts significant resources towards testing and contact tracing efforts. It also includes significant funding for needed supplies, including PPE, that remain as necessary as ever to curbing the spread of this virus.
In addition to that, it’s going to help get our children safely back in school. By making a nearly $130 billion investment in school re-openings, a message is being sent loud and clear to teachers and parents alike that we are committed to your health and safety. With this funding, schools will have the resources they need to reduce class sizes, modify spaces so students and teachers can socially distance, improve ventilation, purchase PPE, and provide tools needed to make up for lost learning time during this pandemic. It makes the investments necessary to give our educators, students, and their families the peace of mind that they will be safe in the classroom.
The County will put forth a spending plan after funding requirements are provided. After a year of tragic loss and economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Rescue Plan will help our nation begin to recover and rebuild.”
CONTACT: Kimberly Ortega, Acting Communications Director, (213) 361-6435 or KOrtega@bos.lacounty.gov