Sacramento City Council approves $1M coronavirus emergency fund

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento City Council passed a resolution in an emergency meeting Friday outlining a multipronged response to the coronavirus threat.

The public was excluded from the meeting following the governor’s guidelines on avoiding large public gatherings. Staff and media in attendance kept their distance from each other.

An emergency resolution approved a $1 million fund for no-interest loans of up to $25,000 for restaurants, retail stores, daycare centers and other businesses that have seen a drop in customers.

“Loan funds would be pretty unrestricted with respect to use of covering everyday expenses, operating expenses, everyday operating expenses such as payroll,” said Assistant City Manager Michael Jasso.

“This is not only to support businesses but their workers,” said Councilman Steve Hansen.

A major concern was the number of events the city has canceled at its facilities, including losses to nonprofit groups holding fundraisers.

Councilman Eric Guerra has numerous Asian restaurants and businesses in his district that began feeling the effects of the virus scare two months ago.

“A couple of weeks of low foot traffic could be the end of a business that may never come back or it could be the little aid that we help them with to get them through this tough time,” Guerra said.

To help businesses in the downtown area, the city will have free metered parking after 4:30 p.m. and all day Saturday and Sunday.

“This is one of the biggest things that we can do to send a message that you can have a great time and not have to feed the meter,” Hansen said.

The resolution also added $250,000 for more cleaning supplies and stations for the homeless, as well as restrooms and showers. The city will help procure supplies for nonprofits that serve the homeless.

“Hoarding supplies, if that’s going on, it should stop because there is a real public health issue among those who are trying to serve the less fortunate,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

The City Council scheduled another unexpected meeting on Tuesday, during which an ordinance will be ready to be voted on that will put a moratorium on evictions due to hardships experienced by tenants because of the virus.

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