$10M in funds to help struggling restaurants in Oakland County on the way

Another round of funding for restaurants and bars in Oakland County is on the way.

About $7 million worth of grants will be doled out to roughly a thousand businesses that received stabilization, recovery or restart grants from county CARES Act funds earlier this year.

The Oakland Together Restaurant Relief Program will use another $3 million from the county’s general fund to help businesses establish outdoor dining services. And for those just reopening: PPE, hand sanitizing stations and software for contact tracing.

"Our revenue is down about 60 percent," said Patrick Coleman.

Coleman, the owner of Beans and Cornbread in Southfield, expects his to be one of them.

"It’s nice that we can continue to keep people employed," he said. "I mean, first and foremost, we are a jobs provider."

Patrick Coleman, the owner of Beans and Cornbread in Southfield.

"Right now our restaurants and bars in particular because of the latest restrictions from the state, they’re struggling more than ever," said Oakland County Executive David Coulter. "They were barely hanging on. And frankly, I’m worried that some of them aren’t going to make it. So we knew we had to do something and lean in and help these two particular kinds of businesses."

FOX 2 met Coulter at Howe’s Bayou in Ferndale, which is relying solely on carryout and curbside service to stay afloat.

"We had a nice set up during the summer for outside dining," said Michael Hennes. "We’re struggling to figure out how to make it work in the winter because we’re on Woodward Avenue. But we’ll look into it and we’re looking at any (way) to make it work."

"For us we’ll take any kind of funding:  federal or county wise, anything helps," said Jathan Cannon of Sweet Magnolia's. "If it’s more than what you started with then you can’t complain."
News of Oakland County’s relief program comes after a federal judge rejected the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association lawsuit looking to overturn the state ban on indoor dining-a measure implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Beans and Cornbread in Southfield.

Coulter says while the program will help, more federal funding is crucial.

"I’m still encouraging congress: pass that next package. we need it. it’s desperate. we used it all up here in Oakland County, this is really kind of the last of it. Another round of funding will go a long way to make sure places like where we’re at now are still here in the spring."

Starting December 15th interested businesses can go to a county website for more information about that grant money go to: oakgov.com/covid