Walnut Creek will offer COVID-19 grants to dining establishments

WALNUT CREEK — To enable out places to eat that have been hammered by the extended pandemic shutdown, the metropolis will be handing out grants of $5,000 and $10,000.

The Metropolis Council has set apart $1 million to pay out for the grants, which will be awarded to firms that have misplaced at minimum a quarter of their profits due to the fact late 2019.

To be suitable, enterprises also are demanded to have opened by June 2019, be independently owned (with no additional than 5 spots in the better Bay Place) and not owe the town any dollars.

Amid a regional remain-home get that restrictions dining places to takeout orders, the revenue is a welcome lifeline for some struggling eateries.

“Most certainly we’re going to implement,” mentioned Darryl Wong, a supervisor at Burma 2 in downtown Walnut Creek, in an job interview. “This next shutdown is truly hurting us. Our objective correct now is to split even. In a normal time, you would be fired if you have been just breaking even.”

Burma 2, which has a further place in Dublin (named Burma! Burma!), opened its Walnut Creek place in June 2019. It was starting to acquire steam in the local community when the to start with COVID-19 stay-property order past March “smacked us in the experience,” Wong explained.

The cafe has struggled at any time since, but primarily so amid a months-very long delay in federal relief for modest firms (one more spherical of funding was lately authorised).

On the other hand, spouse and children-owned Tacos Walnut Creek will move on applying for the city’s grant cash and “leave it for eating places that definitely need to have it,” co-proprietor Geraldo Hernandez reported in an interview.

The taco shop has actually built on its revenue profits all through the pandemic. It opened very last summer time, a little later on than Burma 2 and a few of blocks absent.

Tacos Walnut Creek opened in 2019 at the previous Andy Sushi spot on Locust Road in downtown Walnut Creek. (Jessica Yadegaran/Bay Area News Team) 

Hernandez instructed that the type of cuisine available plays a function in how various dining establishments have managed over the earlier year’s cycle of reopenings and closures.

“Mexican meals is previously popular for takeout,” he stated. “Even without having the pandemic, a massive share of our customers now ordered that way.”

The grants can be made use of to pay lease, payroll, functioning costs, facility updates for COVID-19 security and personalized protecting tools.

Dine-in eating places are qualified for $10,000 grants, although quick-foods and speedy-relaxed dining places, as nicely as bars and breweries, can utilize for the $5,000 ones.

To use, places to eat will need to submit earlier tax returns and earnings-reduction statements, files that the town will not launch to the community less than state legislation.

The cash can be audited, and the town can also use a “clawback provision” to desire compensation from dining places that are later identified to be ineligible.

On Tuesday, the Town Council unanimously permitted the system, allocating $1 million still left above from previous year’s price range.

Though Councilman Matt Francois praised the city’s investment decision, he questioned why very similar grants haven’t been built readily available to the city’s retail firms, which a city workers member stated have created about 21% significantly less in revenue tax revenue given that late 2019.

Inside see of the Burma 2 cafe in Walnut Creek in 2019. The dine-in cafe is eligible to utilize for a $10,000 grant through the city’s new coronavirus aid application. (Ray Chavez/Bay Space Information Group) 

“We were aware that the pandemic was hitting all of our compact-company types, not just dining establishments,” replied Teri Killgore, Walnut Creek assistant metropolis supervisor. “But the normal experience was that eating places had been being impacted in a genuinely tangible way, and that they weren’t ready to promote as efficiently as retailers who were already on website channels.”

In the meantime, Councilwoman Loella Haskew briefly prompt expanding the plan to dining places that opened soon after June 2019, the day added by the metropolis to ensure that applicants can deliver applicable financial knowledge.

But the other council customers agreed — as did Haskew, with regret — that the city owes precedence to restaurants that have been founded in the group for a extended interval of time.

“It breaks my coronary heart as effectively,” Mayor Kevin Wilk explained to Haskew. “We’ve received hundreds of companies domestically, and we want to be able to enable them all. If we experienced an infinite volume (of revenue), then this would not even be a dialogue.”

Eating places looking to protected the grant funds can use on the city’s web-site, www.walnut-creek.org, starting Thursday.