PHOENIX - Dozens of Arizona restaurants closed during the financial downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic and many others are on the verge of closing, but Gov. Doug Ducey is offering another lifeline to help eateries survive.
In a Jan. 5 news release from the governor's office, an additional $2 million in funding to the Safest Outside Restaurant Assistance Program was announced in an effort to help local restaurants expand outdoor dining and adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols.
"Arizona restaurant owners and their employees have worked diligently to serve patrons and limit the spread of COVID-19," Governor Ducey said in the news release, adding, "Many restaurants have utilized outdoor dining to welcome more customers while maintaining safety, and we want to make sure our local restaurants have the opportunity to expand their outdoor seating. I’m grateful to the restaurant owners and employees who have gone above and beyond to safely serve Arizonans."
This is in addition to Ducey's announcement of allowing restaurants to temporarily expand outdoor dining into parking lots and walkways.
So far, the governor's office says 265 Arizona restaurants have applied to the program and 114 have received funding totaling $1 million. "The additional funding will continue the program to support additional outdoor restaurant expansions."
More information about the program and the application process can be found here.
Arizona restaurants feeling relief with grant
"That is really going to help us a lot and we are grateful and thankful," says a spokesperson with Mingle + Graze. Their new patio was possible in part due to a grant from the governor’s office.
"It was a $60,000 investment on a small business. It was a huge risk for us," she said, adding, "We got the approval and the permit we didn't have to pay any extra."
The help is also welcomed by Lumberyard and Beaver Street Brewery in Flagstaff. They received a grant for $10,000 dollars to create an outdoor patio that is winter weather friendly.
"We are at 50% capacity. It is colder weather here than in the Valley so it is harder to get a patio set up in the winter months," said Kelly Hanseth with Lumberyard and Beaver Street Brewery.
The restaurants receiving the help say this will keep them going.