$1,000 Grants to be Awarded to 15 Kentucky Restaurants

With millions of Americans receiving their stimulus money this week, some aspects of the economy are starting to rebound. Many businesses are starting to witness an uptick in their business, especially with local grocers and other essential businesses. However, the restaurant industry is still struggling. Unless the restaurant delivers or has a drive-thru window, it’s shuttered and labeled as nonessential, because the public is not allowed to come in and sit down in the restaurant to eat. This has prompted the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to offer some relief for 15 restaurants by giving them grant money.

While it’s not a lot of money, it can still go a long way to helping restaurant owners keep their businesses going until the lockdown is over, by helping them pay their utility bills, outstanding rent, and more fees they may have accrued since shutting down. To make this as fair as possible, Kentucky CoC has decided that a random drawing was the best way to go about it.

The drawing took place Thursday, April 16, and awarded 15 restaurants with grant money, which they will receive next week. This was a joint effort, with a lot of people chipping in to get the money together.

With the federal government’s $2.2 trillion in stimulus spending, many of Kentucky’s small businesses like restaurants were left without a penny. New York restaurants seemed to get everything they needed, but those Appalachian states, since the beginning of America, have pretty much been left out of the fold when it comes to federal relief for anything. This is on display with floods and huge storms, where FEMA is nowhere to be found and the community must band together.

Thankfully for the restaurants, that’s exactly what happened. The community did band together, with Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, the Northern Kentucky Restaurant Relief Fund, and the Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky all coming together with the Chamber of Commerce to donate these much needed funds to some of Kentucky’s small, privately owned restaurants.

Some of the restaurants to win the grants include: The Block Deli, Grandview Tavern, Izzy’s, Piper’s Café, Ripple Wine Bar, Skyline Chili, Knotty Pine, Bouquet Restaurant, and more. The $1,000 might be a true business-saving amount, when combined with the stimulus money and given the fact it’s tax season, and private businesses are at least getting more tax breaks.

The Question of Amount

As Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez noted in her now-famous speech on the floor of Congress, larger businesses and corporations are receiving huge sums of money, while smaller businesses and everyday working people will continue to struggle with only a few “crumbs,” as Ocasio-Cortez put it. The government’s logic behind this decision was simply that these businesses that employ more people need to stay open and vibrant, if people want a place to return to for employment after the pandemic has passed.

Mathematically speaking, there may be validity to that way of providing stimulus relief, though trying to get small business owners to see the fairness in that isn’t so easy. Restaurants, after all, are the number-one failing business model in America. The overhead costs are enormous. The employee turnover rates are incredibly high. And the likelihood of failure is staggering. Add into the equation that now restaurants cannot even open up to attempt to compete, and you could be seeing the death of restaurants as an industry in many flyover states.

This is why many activists are calling now for a second round of stimulus spending, nearly double the amount of the first package, that leaves out large corporations and focuses only on regular people who are struggling, and small businesses. The hope is that individual people can get $3,000 or more as a one-time payment, and then $1,200 a month for as long as the pandemic continues, with small businesses, like the restaurants of Kentucky, getting roughly $10,000 to assist them. This might be something that’s floated around Congress as feasible, if this pandemic continues.

According to scientific data from states with the highest proportionality of infection, like New York and New Jersey, we’re starting to see the pandemic level off. News is still frightening, as they speak about how many more are dying from it. Though medical experts assure us that these are the people who have been sick a while now. There are fewer new cases with lockdowns and social distancing.

However, whether or not restaurants like in Kentucky can bounce back after it’s over remains to be seen. The $1,000 will help, but will not go a long way.

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