COVID-19 Chicago: Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces grant program for restaurants, bars

Announcement comes after COVID-19 restrictions on indoor dining took effect last week
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a $10 million grant program for restaurants, bars and their employees that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement comes nearly one week after new restrictions on restaurants and bars took effect in the city. Those same restrictions are now in place across Illinois due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

As part of the restrictions, indoor service for bars and restaurants is banned and outdoor service must end by 11 p.m.

Bars and restaurants can sell alcohol until 11 p.m. and alcohol can be sold at liquor stores and grocery stores until 9 p.m.

Mayor Lightfoot also announced that she will propose to City Council a temporary cap on the fees third party companies charge restaurants for delivery services.

"As we navigate the second surge of COVID-19, I am committed to using every available resource to its maximum potential to protect our residents and support our businesses," said Mayor Lightfoot. "Our hospitality industry is at a crossroads and we each have a role to play in helping our bars and restaurants survive. This City relief package will help, but we still need all residents to wear a mask, social distance, avoid gathering in large groups and wash their hands. When we all do our part to bring cases down, we not only save lives but also ensure that our businesses can reopen quickly and safely."

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The grant program will be funded by a reallocation of CARES Act funds from the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund.

Bars and restaurants must have an annual revenue under $3 million and experienced economic stress due to COVID 19 with a loss of at least 25% of annual revenue after March 1 in order to be eligible.

Regional and national chains with more than two total locations are not eligible, as well as adult entertainment facilities.

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The money that bars and restaurants receive must go to operational costs, including payroll expenses, inventory, mortgage or rent and utilities payments.

The city will begin accepting applications the week of November 16, with more details to be released at a later date.

Mayor Lightfoot also announced the Take Out Chicago contest to support restaurants.

People who order takeout from ten unique bars and restaurants between Thursday and December 15 can be entered into a contest to win a VIP experience at a Chicago cultural institution, including the Art Institute, DuSable Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo and Soldier Field. FOr more information, visit chicago.gov/takeout.
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