State, federal funds to help restaurants hard hit by pandemic

WWNY State, federal funds to help restaurants hard hit by pandemic

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Restaurants are one industry hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. But, federal and state funds are coming down the pipeline to help.

The Blue Heron in Chaumont is one north country restaurant feeling the force of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m about 75 percent down in my bar sales. My restaurant sales, probably about 40 to 45 percent,” said owner Cari Greene.

But lifelines are available. The state is offering a new grant for full-service restaurants through Empire State Development.

The money is to reimburse restaurants in part for work they’ve done to comply with COVID guidelines.

Greene says she’s in the process of applying “for these partitions that I built to help keep people safe.”

She says she also wants to be reimbursed for additions to the restaurant’s patio that have since come down for winter.

All of this work cost around $5,000, she said. That’s the maximum the state grant is for.

Greene says the money would be a big boost for her business.

“It would help my pay my utility bills, pay my employees, pay for stock, taxes. Things that just don’t go away in a pandemic,” she said.

Greene says she’s also applying for the second round of the federal Paycheck Protection Program. She says the first time, it helped keep her business afloat.

“If it wasn’t for the first PPP, I am afraid to say that I probably would no longer be in business,” she said.

In this round, restaurants could get a bigger slice of the pie. They’re eligible for a maximum of three and a half times their average monthly payroll costs for 2019 or 2020.

Other industries can only get two and half times those costs.

Greene says she sees the money as a way to bring back laid-off staff.

“With this PPP money, I’m hoping that I will be able to be 100 percent back with all my employees in the next coming months,” she said.

More details on the state grant and federal PPP

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