By Costa Pappas

In the midst of COVID-19, a relief package called the HEART Plan has been proposed by two Orange County Board Supervisors to aid the county’s small businesses and community service programs.

Vice Chairman Andrew Do and Supervisor Lisa Bartlett last week introduced the package following a special board meeting on May 12. The plan proposes to direct $101 million in federal aid money toward services for the economy.

The HEART Plan package would directly aid small businesses that are closed during the pandemic. Along with this, the package would be available to nonprofits providing service to OC residents. The package would also reimburse cities for COVID-19 expenses and bring temporary food assistance for vulnerable populations.

The funding from for the HEART Plan would come from the remaining $554 million the county received under the CARES Act, the $2 trillion coronavirus response bill the president signed in late March.

According to a joint press release from the offices of Do and Bartlett, the two supervisors support an analysis from the county’s executive officer that $453 million of the federal funds should be spent on the county’s vital COVID-19 response functions with the rest of the balance being utilized for economic support.

“The HEART Plan takes into account County obligations to provide an effective public health and safety response,” the press release states, before noting that additional funding could potentially come from the HEROES Act—a new $3 trillion relief bill currently making its way through Congress.

The HEART Plan will be considered by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 19.

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