Sonoma County small businesses forced to close during the pandemic now have access to $2.8 million in grant money.
Nick Rodin took over Petaluma Tattoo a few months before shelter-in-place. The shop has struggled through the pandemic as a brand new business.
"As far as my finances, it’s just in shambles so we are recovering from that," Rodin said.
Rodin was delayed in opening the shop because he couldn’t get his initial permit. Then when he finally got it in June, he was shut down two more times in the fall because of how widespread the virus was throughout the county. All body art shops had their permits extended for six months during the pandemic but Rodin says he’s glad to hear more relief is coming, however big or small.
"It would be a nice gesture from the county to the community to help us get back on our feet," Rodin said.
The Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce serves 400 businesses...and CEO Mark Bodenhamer says he's worked with businesses that received expensive bills from the county health department during the pandemic, so movement on this type of relief is essential.
"A few hundred dollars isn’t going to save a business and solve everyone’s problems but it’s a great symbolic gesture, every bit helps and it allows us to invest more in circulating back into the economy," Bodenhamer said.
The county is also waiving the usual fees owed by businesses like tattoo parlors, restaurants and even swimming pools, so they don't have to pay for the months they had to close.