NEWMAN - The City Council last week awarded more than $100,000 in grant funds to 22 local businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The grant pool was among federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding was allocated to the city through Stanislaus County to help temper the impact of the pandemic.

Nineteen businesses received grants in the amount of $5,000. Another four businesses received awards of $2,500.

Mayor Casey Graham said such programs are vital to small businesses struggling in the face of the pandemic.

“It is vital to try to help them and give them money that we can,” he commented. “Hopefully there is more to help them. We don’t want our businesses to close down or lay off staff. They need to be able to provide for their families as well.”

Graham said he believes the city should be open to lending a helping hand through the pandemic in whatever ways possible.

“We are open to all kinds of ideas, anything that we can come up with to help,” he told Mattos Newspapers. “As a city, I would love to be able to do as much as we can to help our businesses while encouraging people to stay safe and healthy.

Opportunity Stanislaus, the county’s economic development agency, administered the program and assisted businesses with the application process and scored the applications. A committee consisting of then-Mayor Bob Martina, a Chamber of Commerce representative and two city staff members reviewed the applications in conjunction with Opportunity Stanislaus staff and recommended the allocations.

Twenty-six applications were received, according to city staff reports. Three applicants were not recommended for funding because their industries were not significantly impacted by the pandemic, and another was excluded after being deemed incomplete.

Applicants receiving $5,000 grants included Nancy Lerno (masseuse), Primeros Pasos Pre-School, The Grille, El Campestre Dos, C’s Nail Care, Newman Nails & Spa, Araceli Grimaldo (cosmetologist), Nena’s Closet, Unique by Design, Dynamic Fitness Training Studio, South Bay Naturals, Up in Smoke Catering, Kat’s Level Up Dance Studio, Botanica Liberacion and Gift Shop, Hard Drive Graphics, Aliz Boutique, 1403 Pom and Westside Landscape and Concrete.

Those receiving $2,500 grants included J-Hearts Financial, Newman Mini-Mart, Cencal Auto Body Shop and 33 Auto Sales.