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California Lawmakers Push Bill to Provide $75,000 Grants to Small Businesses

Plus, a beloved Anaheim restaurant owner dies from coronavirus, Mori Onodera talks about his new restaurant, and updated food handler card requirements

US-HEALTH-VIRUS Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

California lawmakers first introduced Senate Bill 74 back in December (also known as the Keep California Working Act), and now that state government is back in action for 2021 the bill is picking up steam. If passed, the legislation would provide $2.6 billion in grants for restaurants and businesses throughout the state, in increments up to $75,000 each.

There’s promise that the bill could pass, and soon, bringing some level of financial relief to restaurants and other businesses burdened by shutdowns, outdoor build-outs, and staffing needs during the worst public health crisis of the past 100 years. It’s unusual for a state bill to have 41 co-authors, which state senator Andrea Borges characterized yesterday as a testament to the importance and urgency to help California businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. State senators and assembly members who launched the initiative held a virtual press conference on Wednesday morning to provide more clarity on the bill, and to push for even wider support. California Restaurant Association’s Fresno chapter president noted that COVID-19 has deeply impacted restaurant owners, employees, and suppliers, and they all could use a lifeline.

At present, one-third of the California legislature supports SB 74, though the bill requires a two-thirds vote for approval. If reached, Gov. Gavin Newsom will then approve or reject the bill, which (if approved) would be eligible for any restaurants with 100 employees or less, reports KRON-4.

In other news:

  • The owner of Anaheim’s Taco Boy has died due to COVID-19. Lorenzo Camacho spent one month in the hospital struggling with the virus before succumbing to it last week, reports CBS-2.
  • West LA’s longstanding restaurant Ramayani closed permanently, reports Toddrickallen. Ramayani was one of the few remaining Indonesian restaurants in the region, but there is a promising note on the eatery’s website: “We will be opening up again for PICK-UP and DELIVERY ONLY for San Fernando Valley soon!”
  • The LA Times tracked the current journey of legendary chef Morihiro “Mori” Onodera who recently opened Morihiro in Atwater Village. Onodera’s original vision was a $300 six-seat omakase spot, but the chef shifted his plan to reasonably-priced bentos from a space split with Viet Noodle Bar.
  • The 24-year-old Cameron’s Seafood has closed permanently, reports Pasadena Now.
  • Dine Black LA founder Jade Stevens penned an op-ed in the LA Sentinel, calling out the LA County’s recent announcement to develop a new food handler card requirement. Stevens believes the card will have a harsh impact on LA’s Black-owned restaurants.
  • Want some stuffed potato latkes? Of course. Thanks to Birdie G’s, these new ‘goldbars’ are now available as part of the regular takeout menu, with a variety of fillings.

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