Del. coronavirus update: Expanded grants for restaurants, bars

Dustin Mitchell fills up a growler for take-out orders at Iron Hill Brewery. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

Dustin Mitchell fills up a growler for take-out orders at Iron Hill Brewery. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

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Delaware restaurants and bars that were shut down this spring after the coronavirus pandemic struck have been gradually allowed to reopen. But with the potent fall resurgence and escalating hospitalizations, indoor dining is now limited to 30% of capacity and they must shut their doors by 10 p.m.

To help alleviate the financial pressures, the Carney administration targeted bars and eateries for special assistance from an expanded initiative that provides cash to businesses in need.

It’s Delaware’s Relief Grant program, which has provided more than $180 million in federal CARES Act dollars to some 3,000 businesses.

Now it’s adding $26 million more to the pot, with those in the hospitality space able to get a 50% bonus on top of any money already received. Other businesses will get a 20% bonus.

Gov. John Carney praised restaurateurs and bar owners, who now have to close at 10 p.m., during Tuesday’s weekly coronavirus briefing.

“These businesses have gone above and beyond with respect to the sacrifices to keep the rest of us safe by preventing the spread of COVID-19 in their establishments, and lost an incredible amount of revenue,’’ Carney said. He added that they deserve extra support from taxpayers because “they’re such an important part of cities and towns across our state.”

Xavier Teixido runs two restaurants and once chaired the national and state restaurant associations, has used the grants, and is grateful for the money.

“They are amazingly helpful because they allowed us to pay for a lot of the conversions around COVID – so sanitizers, dividers, air sanitizers, hand sanitizers, stands, masks, all of these physical barrier things we had to create,’’ Teixido told WHYY. “Some of our neighboring states have been behind where we are.”

Businesses can find more information at www.delbiz.com/relief. Relief grants can be used for COVID 19-related expenses such as purchasing plexiglass, air purifiers and other safety recruitment, debt refinancing, advertising and fixed costs.

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