Coronavirus: Garcetti discusses $11 million small business assistance program as city responds to outbreak

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In an interview with Eyewitness News on Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti discussed a $11 million program to help small businesses during the coronavirus crisis.

The local economy has taken a hit as the outbreak shuttered restaurants, movie theaters and entertainment venues with 144 coronavirus cases confirmed in the county.

The new initiative will provide micro-credit loans to help about 2,000 local businesses with bills, payroll, rent and other expenses.

LIST: LAUSD 'Grab & Go' food center locations, SoCal stores with exclusive hours for seniors
EMBED More News Videos

The Los Angeles Unified School District will open 60 "Grab & Go" food centers in response to the district closing schools amid concerns over the novel coronavirus.



The loans can range from $5,000 to $50,000 to help businesses weather the financial storm as an increasing set of restrictions are put in place to help contain the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

"We know that small businesses are the backbone of every neighborhood in Los Angeles and of our city," Garcetti said. "We wanted to get, even while we're waiting for federal action, dollars out there on the streets now."

The city is also ordering a moratorium on evictions for commercial tenants - a move that Garcetti said is unprecedented. That follows a recent order preventing evictions for residential tenants.

"For the land owners and landlords, that doesn't mean that they won't eventually get paid, but it makes sure that people won't get evicted if that's the difference of them hanging on or not," Garcetti said.

More information on the program can be found at lamayor.org/loan.

Loans could be made available as early as next week, Garcetti said.

He also urged Angelenos to continue to support local businesses by ordering food for delivery or takeout. He noted that delivery platforms like Grub Hub are waiving some of their fees for local businesses.

Meanwhile, Garcetti said despite cities like San Francisco ordering a shelter-in-place in response to the outbreak, no plans are currently in place for a lockdown for Los Angeles.

RELATED: Coronavirus California Outbreak: At least 6 Bay Area counties ordered to shelter-in-place due to COVID-19

"We are taking advice of Los Angeles County Public Health every single day. I talk with (Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer) a few times a day. Last night, she said we are basically instructing people from the public health side if you can work from home, work at home, and that's everybody," he said. "We have, obviously, closed all the places of gathering in this city. People can pick up food from restaurants and we encourage them to do so. But I will take her advice each day."

Garcetti also silenced rumors of an abrupt lockdown for Los Angeles and the rest of the country.

"Continue to social distance. It is everything in pushing out this curve and making sure that we can deal with the coronavirus crisis," he said.

MORE: Coronavirus map shows where COVID-19 has spread in US
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.