As many as 1,000 Oakland County restaurants and bars will soon see additional stabilization grants coming their way as the county moves quickly to support businesses impacted by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
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,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. “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 wants to see Oakland County restaurants emerge from the pandemic. “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,” Woodward said.
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 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 Dec. 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 is partnering with local chambers of commerce and downtown development authorities to distribute the grant-funded items. Interested restaurants and bars owners can go to www.oakgov.com/covid 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 federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (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.