Arizona restaurants granted additional $1 million to expand outdoor dining

More help for restaurants in Arizona is on the way after Governor Doug Ducey announced Tuesday that he'll be granting an additional $1 million for restaurants to expand outdoor seating and dining during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is good news for restaurants in the state, even after Ducey has already granted $3 million for the program.

Those benefiting are restaurants that are following the guidelines of 50% capacity. This will allow them to up the number of customers while maintaining capacity guidelines and safety.

Huss Brewing Company in Phoenix was one of the first in the state to benefit from the Safest Outside Restaurant Assistance program.

"It has definitely been a lifeline," Mike Chapman with the restaurant said.

With the grant, they expanded their patio dining by adding new tables, misters for the springtime and some shade.

Before the expansion, they were having to turn customers away while they were following the safety guidelines.

Now, they don’t have to.

"Since we got the extension of premise we haven’t had to turn anyone away and it brings us back to normal capacity," Chapman said.

The program began back in December with an initial investment of $1 million. At the beginning of January, Ducey added $2 million and Tuesday, another $1 million.

"In certain circumstances, restaurants can get up to $10,000 including hotel restaurants which is helping. Very much needed," said Steve Chucri, president of the Arizona Restaurant Association (ARA)

Restaurant dining has been up, he says, in December and January with the number of tourists visiting.

"I think it is great we are getting tremendous support from the governor and the state," Chucri said.

Huss Brewing Company and the ARA says it's been a pretty seamless process to apply. In order to be eligible, applicants must comply with all COVID-19-related executive orders.