MONTEREY COUNTY — Federal, state and county agencies, including Cal Coastal, continue to offer assistance to local businesses, with two new programs having recently begun to help them bounce back from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cindy Merzon, director of Cal Coastal’s Small Business Development Center, said multiple existing programs are still available.

The Small Business Revolving Loan Fund has $1.6 million available for small business loans. The Paycheck Protection Program, in operation since last spring, is available through May 31. The Economic Injury Disaster Program is still available with a long-term loan program and low interest rate for businesses impacted by Covid-19. The California Small Business Relief Grant is currently in round six.

In addition to those sources of relief, Merzon announced two new programs during a press briefing April 28. The U.S. Small Business Administration opened the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant and Restaurant Revitalization Fund last week.

Both have application portals available through, where a business owner would search for the desired program for information on how to apply and the applications. Merzon said no other independent lenders are involved, as the SBA is directly handling the programs.

Merzon advised businesses to look through all information before going through the application process, or contact Cal Coastal for help, especially the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

“It is a very complex grant application, so I don’t encourage applicants to try to go it alone,” she said. “If they do, they really need to prepare ahead of time and read what’s on the SBA’s website about what’s required.”

Merzon explained the application checklist and user guide will be helpful in figuring out what documents are needed ahead of time for both programs. She encouraged business owners to go through the checklists carefully to make sure they’re eligible and that they’ve scanned the proper documents as PDF files.

“Once they hit the submit button on their application, no changes or corrections will be allowed,” Merzon said.

As for contacting Cal Coastal for help, she recommended business owners review the documents ahead of time and identify the questions they have.

“It’s a lot easier for us to walk them through the problems and help them solve their questions,” Merzon said.

Those wishing to contact Cal Coastal can do so at

“There’s tons of great financial relief opportunities for businesses,” Merzon said. “Our job, and our goal, is to help businesses weather this storm and come back out fighting hard and strong.”

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.