Curran Rolls Out Restaurant Recovery Grant Program Providing a Boost for 300 Restaurants During Difficult Winter Months Ahead
In another effort to support small businesses as they continue to struggle with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced the County’s new Restaurant Recovery Grant Program. With a $2.2 million investment of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, the County will provide approximately 300 restaurants with a grant of either $5,000 or $10,000, depending on their number of full-time employees. The program is intended to support full-service restaurants – an industry hit particularly hard by the pandemic – during the winter months when outdoor dining is limited and as restaurants adjust to NY state’s COVID-19 safety restrictions and new mandates.
“As County Executive, I am doing everything I can to ensure a strong recovery for small businesses, especially in our cherished downtowns. And our restaurants are the anchor of those once bustling communities,” said County Executive Laura Curran. “A staggering 82,000 people on Long Island that work in the restaurant and hospitality industry lost their jobs due to the pandemic. And despite the creative efforts of our restaurant owners with igloos and heaters, outdoor dining is no longer going to sustain them, and that number could get higher. I hope that this new program can provide a boost for our restaurants as they face new challenges during the difficult winter months ahead – typically a slow time of year even without a global pandemic.”
Restaurants can begin applying on November 30, 2020 on www.nassaucountyny.gov/restaurantrecovery, where they can find all the details on eligibility criteria. The key requirements for the restaurants include:
must be located in Nassau County
must be operation on or before March 1, 2019
must have 50 or fewer full-time employees
The funds can be used for working capital, operating expenses including payroll, rent, utilities, purchase of PPE and sanitation supplies; lease or purchase of equipment like kitchen equipment or delivery vehicles; or COVID-19 related business improvements like patio heaters or contactless technology.
Restaurants can expect to receive the grants beginning in January 2021. If the establishment is able to retain at least one low/moderate-income job at full-time status with the use of this grant, they will not have to pay it back.
“It may be no surprise that minorities make up a disproportionate share of our hospitality workers and they are not only the cooks and servers in our favorite neighborhood restaurants. A significant share of restaurant owners are minorities – which is in part why we have such a vibrant and diverse restaurant scene in Nassau,” said Curran. “We will be working with our outreach offices – our Office of Minority Affairs, Office of Hispanic Affairs and Office of Asian American affairs, to ensure we let all communities know this help is available.”
Funding for the initiative comes from a special allocation from the federal Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) intended to support communities hard-hit by the pandemic. The County has received two such allocations, the first of which has been largely distributed, supporting for a host of initiatives including the “Boost Nassau” Loan and Free PPE Kit programs. The Nassau County Office of Community Development is charged with distributing the funds. The spending plan for the second allocation of funding, totaling $9.5M, is awaiting final approval by the County Legislature at its November 23rd meeting.