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Financial help on the way for small bars & restaurants hard hit by pandemic

Restaurant
Restaurant(WWNY)
Updated: Apr. 8, 2021 at 4:10 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Restaurant owners have been among the hardest hit during the pandemic. There has been a bit of help, but there’s another helping being served up, and it could make them whole.

As a part of last month’s stimulus bill, the federal government is setting aside $28.6 billion for restaurants, bars and other similar establishments across the country. The goal is to help a wide range of owners hit hard financially due to the pandemic.

“It is literally the hot dog cart in downtown Watertown, to the largest restaurant we have in the area, to the diner in your hometown on main street,” said Liz Lonergan of the Small Business Development Center.

She says the goal is to get owners back to where they were in 2019. Lonergan says individual establishments can claim up to $5 million and up to $10 million for groups.

But chains with at least 20 locations are not eligible. Lonergan says owners will essentially be reimbursed for lost revenue in 2020.

“If your restaurant made $200,000 in 2019 and $50,000 in 2020, then the $150,000 difference would be what you’d be eligible to apply for,” she said.

If an eatery got help through the Paycheck Protection Program, it would alter the numbers some. But still, extra money will be a game changer for local restaurant and bar owners like Robert Dalton, owner of the Paddock Club in Watertown.

“It’s gonna help me tremendously if I can get it. Let’s just say it would bring us back to normal and really keep us going for another - long time,” he said.

But Dalton and other owners will have to wait.

Lonergan says the Small Business Administration is reviewing the guidance for loopholes. She expects eligible owners to be able to start applying around the end of the month.

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