New Relief Effort To Support Palo Alto Restaurants

New Relief Effort To Support Palo Alto Restaurants

PALO ALTO, CA – The City of Palo Alto announced a new relief effort to uplift local restaurants during the pandemic following a Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) commitment of $1 million to launch emergency relief programming supporting restaurants in East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, unincorporated Menlo Park, unincorporated North Fair Oaks, Palo Alto, and Redwood City impacted by the pandemic. Of the $1 million commitment, $250,000 will support Palo Alto’s Restaurant Relief Grant Program. 

“A huge thank you to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative on behalf of the City Council and the entire Palo Alto Community,” said Tom DuBois, Palo Alto Mayor. "Our restaurants and local businesses have been hard hit and need your support. Come take a nice walk, enjoy some outside dining at one of our excellent eateries, and visit our stores. We really need to support our local businesses and every bit helps.”

After learning about the need for funding from the local restaurant community, CZI supported local stakeholders in the development of the Restaurant Relief Grant Program. As a member of the community, CZI partners with local leaders and organizations to strengthen services, support community members and businesses, and celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the community. 
"Local restaurants are a vital part of any neighborhood — they feed us, employ many, and are places for gathering and building community — but they are struggling to stay afloat amidst the challenges of the pandemic,” said Andrea Jones, Director of Community Affairs, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “As neighbors and community members, we are committed to doing our part to support these local businesses during an incredibly difficult time.”  
The Palo Alto Restaurant Relief Grant Program will provide grants to qualifying establishments to offset losses in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic state shutdown orders, ensure continued operation, and assist in covering current business operating expenses, including, for example: rent, payroll, and facility modifications needed to accommodate on-site indoor and outdoor dining. The application period is now open.
“Before the pandemic, I owned two restaurants in Redwood City.  I defied the odds and opened my third restaurant in Palo Alto last summer despite the pandemic,” said Manuel Martinez, owner of three local restaurants. “The continued support of the community will make all the difference for me and my fellow small business owners to make it.  And in many ways Palo Alto and southern San Mateo County have many things in common - especially a love for culture and community through great food.”
“The Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce is a champion for businesses and has been at the forefront of providing resources to businesses struggling during the pandemic,” said Charlie Weidanz, Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce CEO. “We are delighted to now partner with San Mateo County, Chamber San Mateo County and the City of Palo Alto to help bring back a thriving economy through these generous Chan Zuckerberg Initiative grants to our local restaurants that continue to suffer from the economic fallout of the pandemic.” 
The City of Palo Alto has continued to support restaurants, retail and other small businesses during this challenging time through implementing business roundtable discussions; hosting bi-monthly meetings to hear from the business community directly about their challenges and discuss ways to support their recovery; and launching the City’s Uplift Local effort. In addition, in May 2020 following several business roundtable discussions and community conversations, the City Council committed half a million dollars and launched a local community donation campaign to support a small business recovery grant program. The grant process recently concluded supporting 55 small businesses struggling during the pandemic. 
The City of Palo Alto continues to uplift local businesses, residents and visitors through its Uplift Local initiative, an effort connecting the community to outdoor dining and retail opportunities and to uplifting experiences in Palo Alto’s business districts and neighborhoods. For more about the City’s Uplift Local program, go to
CZI has contributed more than $100 million in response to COVID-19, including more than $11 million to assist Bay Area public health agencies, organizations, and school districts in the emergency and long-term response to the pandemic.
In January, the San Mateo Board of Supervisors matched the $1 million commitment from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to help local businesses hit by the pandemic. The Palo Alto Restaurant Relief Grant Program compliments this effort and is a separate program from the San Mateo County’s new Restaurant, Brewery and Winery Relief Program.
The grant application period opened Monday, February 22, 2021 and will run through Monday, March 8, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. For more details about the program and to apply go to

Restaurants interested in attending upcoming webinars for assistance with the application process can register for two workshops on February 24 at 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.: Register for the February 24 8:30 a.m. webinar here or register for the February 24 2:00 p.m. webinar here. 
For details about the City of Palo Alto, go to
For more about the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, go here.

For more about the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, go here.


Sent By:

Meghan Horrigan-Taylor

Chief Communications Officer

City Manager's Office

Phone: 650-329-2607


Last Updated: February 22, 2021