Oakland County launches $10M restaurant relief program

With less than a week remaining in a COVID-19 state health order than closed indoor dining, Oakland County on Thursday announced a $10 million restaurant relief program.

County Executive Dave Coulter said during a press conference that the current wave of coronavirus cases is challenging businesses, and especially bars and restaurants. Under the health order, they can only offer outdoor dining, carryout, and delivery service at least through December 10.

“So many of them are struggling right now to keep their operations going,” he said. “They comprise about 10 percent of all business… so it really matters that we get them help at this critical time.”

The $10 million Oakland Together Restaurant Relief Program will use $7 million of Oakland County’s federal CARES Act allocation and $3 million from the county’s general fund to help restaurants hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic and a reduction in business.

According to a press release, the program is divided into three categories:

  • $7 million will be divided among the approximately 1,000 businesses that earlier received stabilization, recovery or restart grants from county CARES Act funds. The businesses were already vetted during an earlier application and don’t have to reapply. Checks will be sent to them automatically. The funds can be used to cover expenses for perishable food, rent, mortgage payments and labor costs. Under the terms of the CARES Act, the county must spend the funds by December 30.
  • $2 million from the county’s general fund will be used to help some restaurants and bars adapt their facility for outside service. The county is acquiring 8-foot by 12-foot greenhouse-type structures, electric heaters, propane heaters, propane and other items to expand outside dining options no matter the season.
  • $1 million to help businesses reopen safely. The county will acquire personal protective equipment, hand sanitation stations and computer software which businesses can use to contract trace customers who have been or may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

The county will partner with local chambers of commerce and downtown development authorities to distribute the grant-funded items. More information will be available at oakgov.com/covid beginning December 15.

Shortly after the 3-week shutdown, local restaurant owners talked about how COVID has affected their operations. Read more: FARMINGTON AREA RESTAURANT OWNERS SHARE COVID CHALLENGES.

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