RRF and Other Grants, Plus Pricks and Patios

Info for those fortunate enough to have received an RRF grant, and free money for hospitality workers. And: Will temporary patios ever die?

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Casual city business patio with empty wooden tables and chairs and unbrellas folded up. Blurry people walking past buildings in the background.
Denver wants to know if you're saying sayonara to your temporary patio. / Copyright: madrolly

Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants have already begun being disbursed and, as predicted, it appears the billions of dollars initially allocated to the fund will not last. If you are one of the lucky recipients, keep reading; if not, keep reading to sign a petition demanding the fund be re-upped. In the meantime, Denver is paying grants of up to $1,000 to restaurant and hotel workers impacted by COVID—so if you know or are someone in that situation (duh), make sure you know about this program.

The Colorado Restaurant Foundation (CRA) also has info on statewide travelling vaccine clinics and Denver’s expanded outdoor patio program, which will now run through 2022. The city is requesting operators complete a short survey to help it assess the continued interest in the program and (hopefully) put enough people on the project to make sure it runs smoothly.

The following information comes from the CRA’s May 8 and 12 newsletters. Sign up to receive the full versions here.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund: Help Us Secure More Funding and View A “Next Steps” Guide

After 16 months of effort, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) is online and funds are being released by the Small Business Administration. Two important questions remain outstanding:
 
How long will the RRF last? While the $28.6 billion allocated for RRF grants is a great start, those funds are anticipated to move quickly. Today, the National Restaurant Association has unveiled a grassroots petition to policy leaders — from the White House to the Congress — urging additional funding for the RRF to ensure it can provide real relief to the restaurants that need it. We will use the petition to press Washington for action. Please sign here!
 
I just got an RRF grant – What do I need to know now?  The SBA has begun distributing grant awards to restaurant owners. Our partners at the National Restaurant Association have produced a “next steps” guide that walks you through everything you need to effectively – and legally – utilize your RRF grant to preserve your restaurant. 
 
We’re not stopping to push for additional grant relief– and hope you won’t either.  Please add your name to the petition and we’ll keep you updated on next steps for the RRF program.

Assistance Grants Available for Denver Restaurant & Hotel Employees Impacted by the Pandemic (including those who are currently employed)

Great news: The City of Denver has partnered with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation (CRF) to expand the emergency assistance grant program created to help restaurant and hotel employees who have experienced undue hardship during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Hotel and restaurant operators, this is a fantastic opportunity to support those employees who were (or still are) laid off, furloughed, or had their working hours reduced during the pandemic — even if those employees have already returned to work and are currently fully employed.

Informing your staff that these assistance grants are available — up to $500 for any restaurant and hotel employee that was (or currently is) unemployed or underemployed at some point since January 2020, and $1,000 for those that were diagnosed with COVID-19 at some point since January 2020 — and that you will provide them with the necessary paperwork to receive a grant, is a meaningful demonstration of support that’s well deserved after 14 months of pandemic hardship.

Note: Assistance shall be provided to eligible applicants regardless of the immigration status of the applicant. No identifying personal information will be given to the City of Denver for reporting or any other purpose.

Operators, we encourage you to provide your employees with this important information to show your gratitude and assist with their financial recovery after the challenging year this industry has endured. You will need to provide qualified team members with documentation of lost or reduced employment, which may include a letter from a manager or owner on company letterhead or unemployment paperwork. 

The following individuals are eligible to receive a grant from this fund: 

  • Current residents of Denver who have been employed by a restaurant or hotel for at least 90 days since January 2020 and then lost or reduced that employment, or were diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recipients may be currently employed. 
    • Note: While recipients must reside in Denver, the restaurant or hotel that employs or employed the recipient does NOT need to be located in Denver. 
  • No recipient shall receive more than a total of $1,000 from the CRF Angel Relief Fund through this grant program during the 2021 calendar year.

Types of expenses covered by this assistant grant program:

  • Rent or mortgage
  • Utilities (water, gas, electric, sewer)
  • Food
  • Health care
  • Transportation
  • Child care
  • Other basic, pressing needs

In order to have your application reviewed, you must upload any of the below that are applicable:

(Note: None of the below information will be shared with the City of Denver or any other government agency. This documentation is solely for internal use to determine proof of eligibility.)

  1. Proof of Denver residency (Colorado driver’s license, Colorado I.D., signed lease document, or any bill from electric, energy, or water) (Required)
  2. Proof of current or past employment in a Colorado restaurant or hotel (2 pay stubs OR letter from manager/owner on company letterhead) (Required)
  3. Proof of unemployment/under-employment (letter from manager/owner on company letterhead OR unemployment documentation) (Required)
  4. Proof of COVID-19 diagnosis from an official source (If applicable)
  5. Other documentation that will support your application

Apply here. Find the Spanish application here.

Vaccination Resources: Mobile and Walk-Up Clinics

We encourage you to share these vaccine resources with your teams so that we can continue curbing the spread of COVID-19 and make progress toward restaurant recovery:

Mobile vaccine clinics or “the vaccine bus” have sped over 5,800 doses (5,853) to Northeast, Southwest, Southeast, Metro Denver, and Western Slope communities, making a total of 82 stops since buses hit the road back in March. More than 80 stops along these five routes are scheduled through the end of May, with plans to continue adding stops based on community needs. If you or someone you know are not vaccinated and live along one of the routes, these mobile clinics are a great way to get the vaccine and help protect our communities.

Register for a mobile appointment here.

All of Colorado’s “Vaccines for All” Community Vaccination Sites offer same-day, walk-in vaccination appointments when there are available appointments with no advance registration required.

Learn more about these sites here.

Help Denver Expand Outdoor Dining: Respond to This Survey

As part of Mayor Hancock’s strategy for Denver’s economic recovery, the Mayor has announced the extension of the 2020 temporary outdoor dining program through October 31, 2022, to help restaurants regain lost revenue and serve more customers. The program has been a vital component of Denver’s response to the pandemic, and this extension will give restaurants some much-needed flexibility. Please see Denver’s website here for complete information about the program.

In determining whether to approve a restaurant’s temporary patio proposal, the City will consider safety, mobility, competing priorities, and local and emergency access. Other limitations may apply. (For example, If your current patio or proposed patio includes the special privilege of utilizing the public right of way (ROW), you are required to reapply every 90 days with the Department of Transportation (DOTI) for the ROW permit by sending an email notification to DOTIPERMITOPERATIONS@denvergov.org. This requirement is necessary to ensure that safety standards are being met and to assess any other competing priorities for use of the ROW. The DOTI fees for participating in this program have been waived through October 2021. However, the fee for use of the ROW will be reinstated for the new extended year from October 31, 2021 –  October 31, 2022. The fees will be $50.00 per extension to cover City expenses to administer the program.)

As the City of Denver prepares to process renewals and new applications, they are asking you to please complete a short survey. Your answers will allow the City to anticipate the level of interest in the program and application volume so that they can allocate resources effectively and process requests as efficiently as possible.

Respond to the survey here.

Talk to DiningOut! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to askus@diningout.com

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