WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - On Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's office officially announced a grant program that will help restaurant owners “winterize” outdoor spaces in an effort to keep the restaurants and businesses that heavily relied on “Streatery” outdoor summer spaces afloat as we push into the cooler months.
Starting Monday, Sept. 21, food retailers and restaurant owners, non-food retailers that have an active or temporary Sidewalk Café Permit or Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) Summer Garden spaces can now apply for a one-time $6,000 grant to pay for heat lamps, tents, lighting, propane tanks – items needed to “winterize” those businesses’ outdoor spaces.
The Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture announced the $4 million “Streatery Winter Ready Gran” program over the weekend. FOX 5 is told the money for this grant comes from federal CARES Act funding.
Mission DuPont’s co-owner Reed Landry tells FOX 5 the streatery outside of his DuPont store absolutely helped with business over the summer months. He applied as soon as he learned of the opportunity.
Il Canale restaurant is open for outdoor dining in Georgetown, Washington, DC, May 30, 2020. (Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Landry said he doesn’t exactly know yet how they’ll “winterize” the space yet, they need to talk to contractors about it – he also says the $6,000 grant is not going to pay for everything, but, yes, he does welcome the help.
“I think the city’s just doing what they can to support restaurants as they go into what’s going to be [a] really unpredictable period over the next several months as far as what happens with the virus, what happens with dining happens and what happens with the weather of course, is just a huge-huge unknown,” Landry said.
The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s CEO and president said on Monday that the region has seen about 80 restaurants close permanently amid restrictions put in place to stall the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“$6,000 is better than zero. That’s first and foremost. The other thing is that I feel that there is this notion that there is all of this money somewhere that people are hoarding and hanging onto. $6,000 is a push in the right direction. And from the very beginning I have been pushing everyone and anyone who has the ability to give relief, to do anything possible,” Hollinger said.
She commended the mayor’s team for providing owners the assistance. She’s also pushing for the area’s other jurisdictions – Montgomery and Prince George’s County, Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria and others, to do the same.
Around 600 businesses will be able to apply.
As of September 18th, the mayor’s office says: “the District has approved 594 temporary outdoor dining permits (streateries), including 473 restaurants with new or expanded outdoor dining on public space, 20 retailers, 5 plazas and 4 alleys.” The District also currently has around 435 Summer Gardens.
DC leaders also say the district will relax fees to use the outdoor spaces and will extend current insurance requirements through January 1, 2022.
Business owners who would like to apply have from now until October 31st, or until the winter ready grant funds run out, to apply.
You can do so by visiting the District's business recovery page.