MESA, Ariz. - There's a push to help small businesses provide outdoor dining in Mesa amid the pandemic by way of making grants available for restaurants and bars to create or expand their patios.
Just a few months ago, the patio at Oro Brewing looked nothing like what it looks like now. There is a lot more space for customers to come, enjoy a meal or drink, outside.
The owner says the program provided by the city of Mesa helped them so much, and not one dime was taken from their wallet.
"It's a relief for us because now when we are too busy inside we don't have to turn people away," said David Valencia owner of Oro Brewing on Main Street in Mesa.
His neighbors have graciously allowed him to expand into their space, allowing more room for social distancing and not having to turn away customers.
"Our patio before was unusable because we had plenty of chairs and seats out here, but we couldn't social distance. So with the expansion, we gained 14 chairs," Valencia said.
As the weather in Arizona gets cooler, the Mesa CARES Small Business Technical Assistance Program is teaming up with the Al Fresco Program to help businesses with expanding outdoor dining.
Business owners can receive a reimbursement of up to $1,000 to buy anything from chairs, to tables and fencing. The city of Mesa says they hope this push will help restaurants and bars stay afloat during the pandemic.
If you're a small business in Mesa and would like to apply, visit this link. The applications take 2-4 days to be approved.
The city of Mesa released a statement on the program, saying, "The City recognizes the unprecedented challenges Mesa’s small businesses are facing in response to COVID-19, and in particular the challenges faced by eating and drinking establishments. The Mesa Al Fresco program has the City actively working with our restaurants and bars to temporarily offer outdoor dining or expand their existing patios. The funding from Mesa CARES and the federal CARES Act can be used for such items as tables, chairs, umbrellas, lighting and temporary fencing. We have also made it easier to streamline the permit process. It is one more way we can help these businesses navigate the pandemic and allow qualifying restaurants to serve more customers and provide more dining options now that the weather is cooling."