KY Assistance During the Pandemic
By: Jamie L. Harris
With the Covid-19 pandemic, restaurant owners have faced serious challenges in trying to keep their establishments open and pay employees. Governor Andy Beshear recently required closure of indoor dining facilities for bars and restaurants until mid-December.
While this restriction is for a limited period of only two weeks, many bars and restaurants are struggling from the prior closures and restrictions enacted during the pandemic. Restaurants can still offer carryout, delivery and outdoor dining. However with the advent of cold weather, outdoor dining presents challenges and additional costs of heaters and tents. I have seen several longtime establishments in Lexington and Louisville close either temporarily or permanently.
Kentucky Food and Beverage Relief Fund
While restaurant owners wait for additional federal relief, which does not appear imminent, there is some limited relief still available for Kentucky restaurants. Through the CARES Act (coronavirus relief), the Governor has set aside funding for the Kentucky Food and Beverage Relief Fund. Bars and restaurants can get up to $10,000 grants for assistance.
To be eligible, bars and restaurants need to document $10,000 in expenses like utilities, rent, etc., incurred through March 6th. Certain types of restaurants are excluded including those whose business is at least 50% drive-through window service. Funds are expected to be distributed starting December 8th. The $10,000 grants are clearly insufficient to grant significant relief to bars and restaurants. It is likely we will continue to see a rise in bar and restaurant closures. It appears significant federal relief will be required for the restaurant and bar industry to bounce back in 2021. In the meantime, we can all support local businesses and order carry-out a few times a week.
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