4

Miami-Dade Passes $35 Million Grant Program to Help Struggling Restaurants

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, on-premises dining at restaurants in Miami-Dade is limited to outdoor seating.EXPAND
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, on-premises dining at restaurants in Miami-Dade is limited to outdoor seating.
Photo courtesy of Villa Azur
^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

With COVID-19 cases surging in Miami and national news outlets comparing our city to Wuhan at the beginning of the pandemic, businesses are suffering.

The hospitality industry has been especially hard hit. Restaurants are subject to increasingly tougher operating rules as the virus continues to spread, bars remain closed, restaurants are limited to outdoor seating for on-premises dining, and a countywide 10 p.m. curfew remains in effect.

To help alleviate some of the mounting financial pressure on Miami's restaurant owners and workers, the Miami-Dade County Commission passed a resolution yesterday that establishes a $35 million business-grant program earmarked for hospitality-industry relief, as part of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The money comes from the $474 million Miami-Dade received from the federal government as part of the CARES Act. All funds must be used by December 30, 2020.

The resolution was placed on the agenda by Commissioner Dennis C. Moss and unanimously approved by the board.

The assistance is available to "local independently owned and operated restaurants and non-home based caterers impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic." 

The mayor's office has 30 days to provide a written report to commissioners detailing a plan to disperse the $35 million. Upon implementation, the mayor must provide a written report to the board every 60 days detailing how the money is being disbursed.

The resolution earmarks $5 million of the total sum for the Hospitality Industry Relief Fund, established earlier this year by the South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) and Florida International University (FIU) Chaplin School. To date, the fund has paid out $1.5 million, according to SOBEWFF founder Lee Schrager.

In a text to New Times, Schrager says the $5 million allocation from the county still must pass a Miami-Dade Commission vote next Tuesday. "But we have every reason to believe that we will be approved just as the $30 was approved the other day," Schrager writes.

Schrager added that he was working on the legalities of FIU, a state university, receiving funds from the CARES Act but was confident the red tape wouldn't stand in the way.

This story will be updated with more information when the county clarifies how restaurant owners can apply for the grant money.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.