Smaller Miami-Dade restaurants can apply for pandemic relief grant

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A $5 million grant program was announced this week to provide immediate financial relief for hospitality businesses impacted by COVID-19 closure orders in Miami-Dade County.

This is the second round of relief being administered by the South Beach Food and Wine Festival and FIU Chaplin School’s Hospitality Industry Relief Fund with oversight by the county to support employees of independently owned and operated restaurants, hotel restaurants, bars, and caterers in Miami-Dade.

Alex Karavias, owner of Meraki Greek Bistro, can use all the help he can get.

“If anybody’s built to withstand unknown conditions, it’s restaurant owners.”

Owners of the businesses have to apply and they are eligible to get up to $15,000. That money goes to employees.  

Karavias said when the pandemic hit, he realized immediately he would have to let employees go, either temporarily or permanently. But, he said since June, his restaurant hasn’t had to lay off any workers. Local programs like the relief fund are a great help.

Employee Romeo Munoz said: “As a family of four, I need to support my family. So it’s . . .a safety, you know, that something’s being done for us.”

Business owners can apply for the funding to play employees $500. Karavias said it’s another avenue to keep staff working and their doors open as they try to adjust — adding more umbrellas and outdoor seating to keep up with every changing requirements.

“For the time being, we can’t sit back and cry about it. We have to move forward,” Karavias said.

The application process is now open, however, there are eligibility requirements. The business can’t make more than $10 million annually and has to have fewer than 50 employees.

“We commend Mayor Gimenez and his team for stepping up to create this emergency grant program to help the Miami-Dade County hospitality industry during these challenging and unprecedented times,” said Lee Brian Schrager, Founder and Director, SOBEWFF®.

For more information, to donate to the SOBEWFF® & FIU Chaplin School Hospitality Industry Relief Fund, or to apply for a relief grant, click here.

For more information on the Miami-Dade County Hospitality Industry Grant (HIG) Program, including eligibility requirements, click here.

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