By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic can now get a $5,000 lift from the city’s Comeback Checks grant program.

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the $25 million program’s launch Tuesday at Hop Woo restaurant in Chinatown.

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The program will distribute $5,000 grants to 5,000 businesses, including mom-and-pop shops, local restaurants and other small businesses, and is being funded with money from the federal American Rescue Plan. The grants can be used toward employee payroll and benefits, rent, utilities, insurance, and other small business expenses.

“Every single small neighborhood that has been fighting to stay alive this entire pandemic, please,” Garcetti said while announcing the new program. “Get the boost you need to recover. Get your comeback check. Los Angeles is here to help you in your recovery.”

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Eligible businesses must be located within the city of Los Angeles and have an active Business Tax Registration Certificate. There will be three rounds of funding, the first of which opened Tuesday and runs through Nov. 2, and applicants will be chosen at random.

But some small business owners said it is not enough.

“It is a nice gesture but five thousand dollars – my food costs have risen more than five thousand dollars in the last thirty days,” said Bill Kohne, who co-owns Hugo’s Restaurant. “For some places, it might really help but for others, it is sort of like a bandaid for a festering wound.”

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