Qualifying restaurants and bars in Hennepin County can apply for a grant of $15,000 as part of a new $13 million emergency fund by the county. Restaurants and bar owners who received money from an earlier round of funding from Hennepin County are eligible for $10,000, said Patricia Fitzgerald, manager of community and economic development, on a call for restaurant owners set up by Susan Eder of Cue the Accountant.

The last day to apply for the grants is Tuesday, December 1, by noon.  The county must deploy the funds by December 30, Fitzgerald said, which means the loans will reach restaurants before the end of the year. Because the county is expecting a surplus of applications, they will be selecting the qualified recipients via a lottery-style process. Applications aren't being accepted on a first-come basis, she said, because that format favors larger establishments with the resources to fill out the forms more quickly and handicaps smaller operators.

 To apply, use the link for the Hennepin County grants’ Small Business Relief Fund:

 https://www.hennepin.us/economic-development/programs/Emergency-relief  

It should take around 15 minutes to fill out the form, Fitzgerald said.

Eligible Hennepin County businesses may apply for funds to cover costs including:

  • Commercial rent/mortgage payments
  • Utilities and other non-payroll operating expenses
  • Supplier payments
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Costs to comply with public health guidance (https://staysafe.mn.gov)
  • Other COVID-19 related expenditures  

Fitzgerald told operators on the call to also reach out to their cities for help since many are putting together their own programs to help struggling businesses.  In addition, there is also hope on the horizon from the state, she said.

The above link also includes a frequently asked questions section. 

Fitzgerald added that other counties and cities are also putting together funds to help restaurants and bars as well as potential aid from the state. 

“It’s a Band Aid to help you get through this,” Eder acknowledged. “Hopefully there will be more. The money is meant to be used quickly, and no better time than now to use it.”

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