CHICAGO (CBS) — In some good news for restaurants just trying to hold on during the pandemic, $10,000 grants have been announced for local businesses trying to survive a Chicago winter.
AS CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported, indoor drinking and dining are not allowed in the city right now as the pandemic rages. The owner of Mom’s Place, at 650 N. Dearborn St. in River North, said the $10,000 won’t be enough to get them through the winter under such conditions.
But he said it sure will help.
Mom’s Place is a classic bar and restaurant in a part of the city where they’re few and far between these days. Owner Ron Prokaski calls Mom’s a gathering place.
“It’s a real Chicago thing, which is unique for down here,” Prokaski said.
But what does a gathering place do in the age of COVID-19?
Outdoor tables, chairs, and umbrellas worked all summer – and over an atypical beautiful weather weekend in November,
But as temperatures dip?
“There’s a lot more places that are going to close – a lot more mom and pop places,” Prokaski said.
He said they’re going to need help.
“After this week?” he said. “It’s bleak.”
That’s why they applied on Monday for a Restaurant Strong winterization grant – created through a partnership with The Greg Hill Foundation and Grubhub. They’re $10,000 grants meant to help restaurants maximize outdoor dining space.
The $2 million program is intended to help restaurants address needs for infrastructure and equipment to extend outdoor dining, personal protective equipment for employees. They are being given out to restaurants in Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston.
The grants are only available to restaurants or restaurant groups with five locations or fewer – they’re meant to help the little guys.
The application period began on Monday and will continue through Saturday, Nov. 21.
But Prokaski said they’ve done the research and $10,000 won’t go far.
“Just a tent with the walls comes out, for our space, to about $3,000 a month,” he said. “Then we have to supply lighting and heat.”
But still, he says getting the grant would allow the neighborhood gathering place to try.
“I’m hoping we get it,” he said. “We’d love to take a chance at making a run at the cold weather out there.”
A Grubhub representative said the company has already seen a good number of submissions, but they can’t release any more information about them until they start approving restaurants over the next few weeks.
More information on the grants is available here.
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