In an effort to aid small businesses affected by the Zaca Fire, 35th District Assemblyman Pedro Nava is helping local shops receive state aid.
Nava announced Monday in a press release that aid in the form of low-interest loans is available to local small businesses that qualify. For the aid to take effect, Nava said at least five businesses must come to the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services and present evidence of substantial economic loss due to the fire.
The Zaca Fire began on July 4 and burned more than 240,000 acres of land, the second-largest single fire in California’s history. It was declared controlled on Oct. 29.
Nava’s spokesman Jim DeBoo said small businesses, unlike corporations, are often forced to shut down permanently after having to close their doors for extended periods of time.
“For some small businesses, if they shut down for more than a few weeks, that’s it for them,” DeBoo said.
Santa Barbara County OES spokesman Richard Abrams said these Small Business Administration loans cover a variety of different factors, including business interruption, lost employees and actual property damage. However, Abrams said he does not believe that many businesses suffered property damage as a result of the Zaca Fire.
DeBoo said he was not exactly certain how many businesses would apply for the aid. However, DeBoo said he hopes the SBA loans will provide an avenue for local small business owners to recover from the fire.
“The loans hopefully will protect small business so they can continue to prosper in the community,” he said.
Abrams also said the loans are meant as a last resort, and are only available to business owners that do not have insurance that covers the types of losses they have sustained.
The information regarding the aid, collected from the SBC OES, will go to the State Office of Emergency Services, and then the U.S. SBA will review it. The U.S. SBA is the federal agency responsible for providing the aid and will review the information to make the final decision concerning its distribution.
Additionally, Solvang Chamber of Commerce President Linda Jackson said in a press release that her organization is grateful that businesses may receive aid, and also said that the City of Solvang was not heavily impacted by the Zaca Fire.
“The Solvang Chamber of Commerce appreciates the support and effort of Assemblyman Pedro Nava’s office in assisting our local business community suffering from the Zaca Fire,” Jackson said.