Oakland Co. announces $10M in grant money to help bar, restaurant owners

Indoor dining has been closed in Michigan as COVID-19 cases have spiked over the past two months.

New grant money was just announced in Oakland County to help support hundreds of bars and restaurants amid the COVID-19 crisis. 

The Oakland Together Restaurant Relief Program has alloted $10 million to help support these area businesses as a surge in cases resulted in state health orders to limit indoor gatherings including indoor dining and only permit outside dining, carryout and delivery service.

The fund will use $7 million of Oakland County’s federal CARES Act allocation and $3 million from the county’s general fund, and the money will be divided three ways: 

  • $7 million will be divided among the approximately 1,000 businesses that earlier received stabilization, recovery or restart grants from county CARES Act funds. The businesses were already vetted during an earlier application and don’t have to reapply. Checks will be sent to them automatically. The funds can be used to cover expenses for perishable food, rent, mortgage payments and labor costs. Under the terms of the CARES Act, the county must spend the funds by Dec. 30.
  • $2 million from the county’s general fund will be used to help some restaurants and bars adapt their facility for outside service. The county is acquiring 8-foot by 12-foot greenhouse-type structures, electric heaters, propane heaters, propane and other items to expand outside dining options no matter the season.
  • $1 million to help businesses reopen safely. The county will acquire personal protective equipment, hand sanitation stations and computer software which businesses can use to contract trace customers who have been or may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

Interested restaurants and bars owners can go to www.oakgov.com/covid beginning Dec. 15 to get further information as to which local organizations will be distributing the items. 

The program expires March 31, 2021 or when the funds are exhausted.

Oakland County has allocated all $219 million it received in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, including more than $140 million in grants to help stabilize and support small businesses, residents and communities in every part of the county. The grants have been awarded to more than 15,000 local businesses, which employ 65,000 people; 22 local chambers of commerce; non-profit organizations, 28 local school districts; residents having trouble making rent or mortgage payments; retailers, restaurants and communities, among others.

“Our local restaurants and their workers are important parts of our community and we wanted to step forward once again during this recent surge of COVID-19 cases to help stabilize their operations,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said in a press release. "This is one of the last programs using our CARES Act funds which is why it is important for Congress to approve additional relief. This virus is not going away, and we need additional resources for recovery, COVID mitigation and vaccine preparation.”