Arts / Entertainment

Irvine restaurants may apply for SafeDineOC grant


Fogo de Chao in Irvine Spectrum Center offers an elegant outdoor setting. / Photo:

By Ann Frances –

The Orange County Business Council is collaborating with the county of Orange to make available $1,000 grants to assist restaurants in Orange County, including those in Irvine, with the purchase of personal protection equipment for staff, sanitizing supplies and employee training. The just-announced new program is called the SafeDineOC Restaurant Program.

According to the program’s website ( ) the county has earmarked $10 million in federal CARES Act funding for local restaurants that are working to re-open safely. The business council will facilitate the program.



The SafeDineOC website streamlined the application process and says it may take less than five minutes to apply. / Photo:

The application period began Aug. 6 and will continue for 60 days, or when the funds are depleted. A restaurant with multiple locations is eligible for $1,000 for each location, but each location must submit its own application. The grant money must be invested in safe re-opening efforts by Sept. 30 of this year.


Capital in Irvine Spectrum Center has reconfigured its table seating in its outdoor space. / Photo:

According to a city of Irvine news release, those restaurateurs wishing to apply for the grant will need the following: current health permit, completed restaurant checklist, completed attestation, photo of publicly posted completed attestation, W-9 form, and CARES Act-qualified purchase receipts. Template attestation and restaurant checklists are available at

Perhaps a bigger prize than the grant money awarded is that grant recipients will be listed on a “Safe Restaurant List” that will be posted to the business council’s website,


Patio dining at Lazy Dog Cafe in Tustin Marketplace / Photo:

Venturing out for a meal at any restaurant during the pandemic can cause a bit of anxiety. Is the staff at the dining establishment adhering to the prescribed protocol for disinfecting tables, seats and doors? Is the reduced-occupancy mandate being honored  and are table configurations modified to assure social distancing? The grant money is a boost to restaurants to meet the requirements for re-opening, but also a boost to the confidence of diners who will feel more comfortable patronizing establishments on the safe restaurant list.

Editor’s Note: During an Aug. 7 visit to Irvine Spectrum Center our team observed shoppers and diners near the water feature located next to the carousel and 85°C Bakery. We were impressed with the retail center’s commitment to disinfecting the seating in that area. It appeared that a staff member was assigned to that specific space, and within seconds of a party leaving a table, the staff member was disinfecting the table and chairs. The center’s posters indicate that if a chair is leaned, it’s been cleaned, and we found that to be true. Thank you to the center’s management for making us feel safe when on the property.

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