By Rachel Wulff

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Sacramento is about to go live. As of Thursday, businesses can now host live audiences, conventions, and sporting events, and a grant program aims to boost efforts to bring back business lost because of the pandemic.

Bo Yeong is ready for a little taste of what life was like pre-pandemic.

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“We were closed for about a year,” she said.

Yeong manages Koja Kitchen in the 700 block of K Street. The restaurant is reopening and reinventing itself, upgrading its downstairs bar.

“We brought in a DJ and renovated the place including the floors and benches,” she said.

They did it with the help of a $500 micro-grant through the Downtown Sacramento Foundation.

Emilie Cameron works with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership and manages the program.

“We’re all as we’re reopening looking for opportunities to create a welcoming and vibrant city, and that’s really what reimagine is all about,” she said.

These so-called Reimagine Activation grants are designed to reinvigorate a downtown that’s seen a downturn during the pandemic

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“We have some small fitness studios, event producers, so they’ll do things like boot camp at the waterfront, or a live art performance, or even a temporary mural,” she said.

Currently, there is $15,000 available that was raised last year, but fundraising efforts are ongoing. Once you apply, money can be released in a week.

“The crux is they are activating their space and using it in a way that is compliant with the grant. But absolutely, we can turn it around real quick,” Cameron said.

The amount may seem small but can have a big impact. The grant is bringing in more business and bringing back employees.

“I think it starts with a little bit at a time, each restaurant doing more and more,” Cameron said.

Businesses can re-apply up to once a month as long as funds are available.

Yeong wants to get the word out on her block because success speaks volumes about the potential of businesses backing one another.

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“I think we brainstorm and float ideas off of each other to get more people in,” she said.