A $5 million fund was unveiled Monday to help support personal care service providers, fitness studios and gyms that have suffered financial losses in Long Beach during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City Council must approve the proposal by Dec.15, and it would be funded by the next federal stimulus package, according to James Ahumada, communications director for the Office of Mayor Robert Garcia.

Councilmen Robert Uranga, Al Austin and Rex Richardson support the fund, which will be in addition to the $5 million Restaurant, Brewery & Bar Resiliency Fund.

Along with fitness studios and gyms, the $5 million Personal Services and Fitness Resiliency Fund will support personal care services such as barber shops, tattoo parlors and nail salons, Ahumada said.

All personal care services were forced to close due to California’s Regional Stay at Home Order, which was triggered when the region’s Intensive Care Unit bed capacity dropped below 15%.

“Our personal care service providers do so much to take care of our community and it is important for us to take care of them,” Garcia said. “These small business owners are our neighbors and they need our support more than ever.”

Some fitness studios and gyms have been able to operate outdoors, but many have not been able to make those accommodations.

The fund may be increased depending on need and available federal stimulus funding, Ahumada said. The city is expecting to receive additional federal funding when a new COVID-19 relief package is passed, and it will direct it to Long Beach’s small businesses and their employees, according to Ahumada.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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