State approves stimulus checks for some residents, new business grants

Coronavirus

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has come to an agreement with state lawmakers on new spending for small business grants, stimulus checks for some individuals and housing for farmworkers infected by the coronavirus.

The deal was announced Wednesday.

It includes millions of cash relief payments for people with incomes below $30,000 a year and others who were “unfairly excluded from previous federal stimulus payments,” the state said. Payments will be $600, in most cases.

The deal also quadruples the funds available – from $500 million to more than $2 billion – for grants of up to $25,000 for small businesses impacted by the pandemic. It also sets aside $50 million for cultural institutions.

It also includes $24 million for a program that puts farm and food processing workers up in hotels if they are exposed to the virus and can’t isolate. He didn’t share other details. His comments came as he visited a vaccination clinic in the Coachella Valley, an area that’s home to many farmworkers.

You can view more details on the plan here.

“As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most,” Newsom said in a statement. “From child care, relief for small business owners, direct cash support to individuals, financial aid for community college students and more, these actions are critical for millions of Californians who embody the resilience of the California spirit.”

California’s virus numbers continue to improve in recent weeks, and the governor voiced optimism Wednesday, saying that if the trend continues, most counties should be out of the state’s most restrictive “purple tier” by this time next month.

“We will see counties move not just purple to red, but more red to orange. And I anticipate based on the numbers already in orange, you will see many more in that yellow tier as well, which is the most permissive of the tiers,” Newsom said.

A move from the purple to red tier gives counties the opportunity to have restaurants open indoors at 25% capacity. Additionally in the tier:

  • Retail shops and malls can increase indoor capacity to 50%;
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums can open indoors at 25% capacity;
  • Gyms and fitness centers can open indoors at 10% capacity; and
  • Movie theaters can open indoors at 25% capacity.

But Newsom cautioned that it’s only if cases continue to drop. He’s concerned that might not happen due to an increasing number of COVID-19 variants in the state. Demand for vaccines also still far exceeds supply in the state, futher limiting its recovery.

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