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Ohio launches $100M pandemic aid program for restaurants

The money will be allocated in grants of up to $30,000, with the exact amount determined by revenue losses in 2020.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Restaurants in Ohio can apply for grants of up to $30,000 from the state through a $100 million aid program launched this week to offset the loss of revenues last year from dining-room shutdowns.

The funds can be used for a variety of current expenses, including payroll, rent, utilities, food and beverage supplies, and new equipment.

To be eligible for a grant, a restaurant operator must have experienced at least a 10% year-over-year decrease in revenues during 2020 at one or more outlets in Ohio. The program is open to restaurants, bars and contract-operated foodservice facilities.

The amount of a grant is determined by the applicant’s sales losses. Establishments that suffered a revenue drop of at least 51% in 2020 would qualify for the maximum grant amount of $30,000. Places that saw a decrease of 31% to 50% are eligible for a $20,000 grant, and outlets with a shortfall of 10% to 30% can apply for a $10,000 allocation.

Each of Ohio’s 88 counties will be allocated $500,000 in grant funds. The remaining $56 million will be distributed to businesses regardless of their location or whether their county has burned through its allocation.

The program, offered through the Ohio Development Services Agency, is the latest example of a state providing aid to its restaurant operators now that the major federal assistance programs for the industry have run dry. Last week, New Jersey reserved $30 million in new aid funding for restaurants, including $10 million for the purchase of restaurant meals by charities that feed the needy.

New York and Illinois are also offering aid to their restaurants in the form of grants or loans.

Programs like the ones in Ohio and New Jersey are launching as industry lobbyists push for a re-up of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a federal grant program that burned through its $28.6 billion allocation in three weeks.

More information on Ohio's aid program and an application can be found here. 

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