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D.C. will distribute $6,000 grants for restaurants to winterize their patio spaces

D.C. will distribute $6,000 grants for restaurants to winterize their patio spaces Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington Washington, DC

By Drew Hansen – Assistant Managing Editor, Washington Business Journal Sep 21, 2020, 8:42am EDT Updated 15 minutes ago

The D.C. government on Sunday said it is offering $4 million to help the city’s restaurants winterize their outdoor dining areas with an eye on helping them maintain patio operations as the Covid-19 crisis continues into the cold-weather season.

D.C. will offer $6,000 grants to any restaurant or retail business with a permanent or temporary sidewalk café permit or private area with a liquor license. The grant funds can be used to purchase tents, heaters, propane, lighting, furniture and advertising and marketing for their businesses. Applicants must submit a budget of planned expenses.

The application process begins Monday and grant funding will be made available starting Oct. 1.

The $4 million program comes just a few days after D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city was running out of available funding to assist local businesses struggling through the pandemic because of roughly $1 billion in emergency municipal spending related to the public health emergency. She said the city had already provided $33 million in assistance and stressed the need for additional federal stimulus legislation to help D.C.’s struggling businesses. A new stimulus is unlikely until after the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Restaurants in the District are already bracing for the return of colder weather, which will make outdoor dining — a real lifeline during the pandemic — less appetizing. Last week, D.C. nightlife titans Eric and Ian Hilton said they would close seven of their bar-centric concepts in the District on Oct. 31 and keep them closed “for the foreseeable future” after “constantly restructuring our operations to comply with the mayor’s orders.” They also stressed the need for "meaningful support."

D.C.’s announcement of the grant program was made during the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s annual RAMMY awards, which celebrate member restaurants, chefs and restaurateurs.

You can find more information about the grant program here.

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