Stimulus package to help Cincinnati bars, restaurants unveiled

Updated: Oct. 20, 2020 at 4:38 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A stimulus package plane aimed at helping Cincinnati restaurants has been unveiled by Mayor John Cranley.

The $4 million stimulus plane will help restaurants and bars recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds for this will come from the CARES act, Cranley explained.

Those eligible must be a non-chain bar or restaurant in the city.

Grants awarded will be between $5,000 and $10,000, the mayor announced.

Those businesses, who get this money, are required to offer promotions to customers all winter long like a buy one get one free deal.

Mayor Cranley says the money can go to anything from salaries to affording tents and heaters for outdoor seating.

Some restaurant and bar owners said they are thankful for the funds but are still uneasy about the industry’s future.

Britney Ruby Miller with Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse was part of the group that worked to get this up and going.

She wrote a letter just two days ago to her guests outlining the tough road ahead for the hospitality industry.

Ruby says 53 % of restaurants will close by the end of 2021.

She’s also one of about 36 people who serve on Gov. Mike DeWine’s restaurant advisory group.

She has been against the 10 p.m. alcohol curfew from the start but says that’s just one of several issues restaurants are facing.

“We do not have any sight of PPP, when that will happen as much as we are advocating and talking to senators and representatives,” explained Ruby. “The patio season is coming to an end. It’s a very difficult time. Mayor Cranley recognizes that and has really moved quite quickly to get some financial relief to the restaurants.”

It’s the same story at the Banks where the 10 p.m. curfew hits a bit harder.

Spokeswoman Tracy Schwegmann says during the summer, the business was down at least 50%.

She says the financial help from the city really helps, but their main concern is the curfew.

“They really are between a rock and a hard place at this point,” Schwegmann stated. “They really are out of anyplace else to turn for how we get creative. Any assistance that the city is able to provide from a regulation standpoint, as far a perhaps enclosing those outdoor patios, or even just business relief from a grant-making perspective will certainly help these folks get over the hurdle.”

Bars and restaurants will need to apply through the city.

[Click here for application information]

The plan is still pending a vote by the City Council.

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