As many as 1,000 Oakland County restaurants and bars impacted by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and a three-week state-ordered lockdown of their inside dining services will receive additional stabilization grants. The lockdown is set to expire on Wednesday, unless extended.
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.
The surge in cases resulted in state health orders to limit indoor gatherings including indoor dining and only permit outside dining, carryout, and delivery service.
“Our local restaurants and their workers are important parts of our community and we wanted to step forward once again during this recent surge of COVID-19 cases to help stabilize their operations,” says David Coulter, Oakland County executive.
“This is one of the last programs using our CARES Act funds, which is why it is important for Congress to approve additional relief. This virus is not going away, and we need additional resources for recovery, COVID mitigation and vaccine preparation.”
Board of Commissioners Chairman David T. Woodward says, “Our local restaurants are crucial to the success of our county’s economy, and we know they are suffering during this pandemic. With the $10 million Oakland Together Restaurant Relief program, we stand with our local restaurant owners and workers to do everything we can to help and support them to get through this challenging time and have huge success in the coming years.”
The $10 million 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 already were vetted during an earlier application and don’t have to reapply. Checks will be sent to them automatically.
- $2 million from the county’s general fund will be used to help some restaurants and bars adapt their facilities for outside service. The county is acquiring 8-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 that businesses can use to contract trace customers who have been or may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
The county is partnering with local chambers of commerce and downtown development authorities to distribute the grant-funded items. Interested restaurants and bars owners can visit here beginning Dec. 15 to get further information as to which local organizations will be distributing the items.
The program expires March 31, 2021 or when the funds are exhausted.
Oakland County has allocated all $219 million it received in CARES Act funding, including more than $140 million in grants to help stabilize and support small businesses, residents, and communities in every part of the county. The grants have been awarded to more than 15,000 local businesses, which employ 65,000 people; 22 local chambers of commerce; non-profit organizations, 28 local school districts; residents having trouble making rent or mortgage payments; retailers, restaurants and communities, among others.