Providing Relief to the Korean American Community During COVID-19

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas stood with business leaders in Koreatown to announce new measures to help both business leaders, employees, and consumers across Los Angeles County. Among the new services, now open is the LA County Business and Worker Disaster Help Center – a new centralized call center and website providing free, one-on-one counseling and support for business owners and workers who have been adversely affected by the ongoing Coronavirus/COVID-19 emergency.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas visits Koreatown. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

“Small businesses are facing serious financial distress and disruption during this time, and we want them to know they can rely on the County to be an effective leader and service provider as we help our business owners and workers navigate this crisis. The Help Center will not only help them to connect to resources but position our communities for recovery,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

The announcement was made during a press event at the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles where Korean-language media was able to hear directly from LA County policy experts about COVID-19 mitigation and containment strategies being implemented – providing much needed information on resources available to small businesses impacted by this unprecedented crisis.

“On behalf of the entire Korean American community, I applaud Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas for the creation of a Korean language hotline at the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs to provide vital resources to our small business community,” commented  Korean American Federation of Los Angeles (KAFLA) President Laura Jeon., Ph.D.

LA County Department of Public Health Representative and Nurse Manager Mei Lien Chu delivers her findings during Korean Press Conference

In addition to Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ COVID-19 updates, Korean American Federation of Los Angeles Chairman James Ahn, LA County Department of Public Health Representative and Nurse Manager Mei Lien Chu, and LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) Director Joseph M. Nicchitta, spoke about the recent County and City “Safer-At-Home” guidelines and provided technical assistance and resources for small businesses whose business will be substantially impacted by COVID-19.

DCBA Director Joseph M. Nicchitta talks about COVID-19 during Korean Press Conference. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

DCBA Director Joseph M. Nicchitta said, “We recognize that every person in the County is dealing with their own unique circumstances due to the coronavirus emergency, and the County is rising to meet that challenge. DCBA is proud to lead a coalition of departments and agencies to help improve the lives of business owners and workers in our communities.”

The Help Center will assist businesses in determining the applicability of public health orders and access governmental resources, including recent relief packages from the state and federal governments. For individuals, the Help Center will assist with filing unemployment insurance claims, finding employment opportunities, and discovering available County resources. “They can now turn to one dedicated place for assistance,” said Nicchitta.

To ensure the most efficient services possible, the Help Center will enact a live call center with DCBA, Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services, and volunteer staff from other departments to assist business owners and workers.

Its hours of operation will be open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m and will provide assistance in six primary languages including: English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, and Armenian.

For more information, please contact the Help Center (833) 238-4450, email: or visit