Santa Rosa, CA – May 25, 2021 – The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a resolution authorizing nearly $2.8 million in relief for businesses forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The aid package, in the form of Environmental Health permit fee offsets, applies to restaurants, body art businesses and pools that were required to close or limit operations after March 1, 2020. The funding is part of the County's pandemic recovery plan to assist the business community impacted by the pandemic and restore the economy.
"During the pandemic, we took extraordinary measures to protect public health, including restrictions on businesses to prevent the spread of the virus," said Lynda Hopkins, Chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. "As a result, our economy has suffered. This Board is committed to helping business owners get back on their feet, and part of that strategy is waiving fees that the County collects."
The measure will reimburse 1,610 eligible restaurants for the cost of their Environmental Health permit fee. The 282 eligible body art businesses will be reimbursed for permit fees for the eight months they were not able to operate. The County previously extended body art permits by six months. Indoor pool operators will be reimbursed for the year, while outdoor pool operators will be reimbursed for the 79 days that the businesses were required to close and for 25 percent of the fees for the remaining year that the operations were reduced. The County previously extended pool permits by one month.
"We thank our business community for complying with our health orders to keep the community safe during the pandemic," said Tina Rivera, interim Director of the Department of Health Services. "Our local businesses made sacrifices for the greater public good. The Environmental Health permit offset program is one way that the County can help make them whole."