California extends deadline to apply for small business relief grant

The deadline for applications for the state’s Small Business COVID-19 Grant Program has been extended after thousands of businesses applied and many of them couldn't get through. Flights Restaurant Owner Alex Hult was one of them and shares his frustration.

"If we don't get help we might not survive this," said Hult.

Hult had five locations of the Flights Restaurant and now it’s down to four. His Mountain View location closed after a rent dispute with the landlord during the pandemic.

He had more than 300 employees and most of them he had to lay off. Fine dining and takeout just don't do well together.

"You can't survive if you are a fine dining restaurant on to go food and outdoor dining alone," said Hult.

He said he’s lost millions of dollars. He wanted to speak to KTVU after having trouble accessing California’s new Small Business COVID-19 Grant Program launched last week.

"The web site crashed," said Hult. "I kept trying trying and trying. I probably tried 50 times in the first day just to make sure, we got in there because we are that desperate."

It turns a lot of business owners couldn’t get through due to high web site traffic. The application period has now been extended from January 8 to January 13.

"We are launching these grants and loans that are supposed to be helpful for all these affected businesses and again it’s not working," said Hult.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joseph Simitian said he’s heard of the obstacles many business owners have faced applying for loans.

Simitian is behind a new county partnership with the state’s California Rebuilding Fund, where businesses can receive low-interest loans of up to $100,000.

"We all want the state and feds to step up but I think we have learned over nine months we have to have some self-reliance," said Simitian.

Hult said what he needs is not another loan but for outdoor dining to open back up.

"What are loans going to do," said Hult. "We’ve burned this money already. We are just going to get further into debt."

"I say it’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness," said Simitian. "We do what we can understanding we can't do it all. It’s particularly true at the county level. We don’t have the ability to print money like they do in Washington D.C."

For those interested in the county loan program, information can be found on As for the owner of Flights Restaurant, he's banking on the second round of PPP and he’s hoping his application for the state's new grant program will go through.