Locally-owned small businesses impacted by COVID-19 can soon apply for a grant through the new Lake Charles Small Business Stabilization Fund.

Grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 are anticipated for businesses within the city limits that meet certain criteria, Mayor Nic Hunter said during a Zoom conference on Thursday. The source comes from $394,000 in Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus federal funding allocated to the city.

"It's more about the survival of business owners," Hunter said. "When you save a small business, you're helping to save a community. We have some of the most resilient and amazing small business owners in Lake Charles."

Applicants must be within the city's corporate limits and meet low-to moderate-income requirements established by federal guidelines or employ low-to moderate-income workers.

Businesses must have a brick and mortar location that depends on foot traffic, Hunter said. Food trucks and farmers' markets may also apply for financial assistance.

For more on the grant funding, email Kimberly Dellafosse at kimberly.dellafosse@cityoflc.us.

Another effort, Shop Safely LC, is aimed at highlighting locally-owned businesses in the city that pledge to follow safety guidelines for their customers and employees. Hunter said the effort is mainly focused on restaurants and retail outlets.

Businesses that take the pledge can have a #ShopSafelyLC placard placed at their entrance and be mentioned on the City Hall Facebook page. Hunter said the city didn't want to place additional burdens on businesses, but rather reassure patrons that they are operating safely.

"(Customers) should know they are walking into a business that is taking the situation seriously," he said. "Those businesses need our support more than ever."

Hunter said the effort is free and voluntary.

Businesses interested in participating should call 491-1381 or email Odelia Sweet at odelia.sweet@cityoflc.us and set up a visit with the mayor's office.

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