On Tuesday, Oct. 13, the NYC Council Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing passed a bill to extend the current outdoor dining program to allow restaurants to use portable electric and propane heaters.
In an effort to help these restaurants survive the winter, DoorDash in partnership with the NYC Hospitality Alliance, recently announced a new grant program that will allow them to apply to receive part of the $500,000 being dedicated to New York City to help fund things like heating equipment and additional safety materials to improve indoor dining. This is part of DoorDash’s Main Street Strong initiative to help restaurants survive COVID-19.
“Our city’s restaurants are finally starting to move forward, and we have to help them maintain the momentum,” said David London, head of U.S. east and federal government relations at DoorDash. “DoorDash is deeply committed to supporting our restaurant partners and the communities we serve. This initiative will provide critical financial support to keep restaurants going through the cold weather, and we’re appreciative of the Hospitality Alliance’s shared support.”
Reggie Johnson, chief of staff for Councilman Mark Gjonaj, chair of the Small Business Committee, said on paper this looks good, but the issue is seeing how many businesses in the Bronx will receive funding.
In the past, the city has failed to provide Bronx businesses with sufficient financial support, as the borough received only 1 percent of COVID-19 loans. Johnson stressed that the money must be dispersed evenly, not just to businesses in Manhattan.
“On the surface, obviously Chair Gjonaj supports anything that gives relief to struggling small businesses in NYC,” Johnson said. “We applaud this effort, but because we don’t know the ins and outs, we’re not going to endorse it.”
Applications will be available starting Oct. 16 at the Hello Alice website and selected restaurants will receive a $5,000 grant, with recipients notified by the end of December. Eligible restaurants will be located in New York City with three or fewer locations operating currently, 50 employees or fewer in 2019, and $3 million or less in 2019 annual revenue per store.
The program will be administered by Hello Alice, an independent third party that will manage the application and selection processes as well as the distribution of funds. Grant recipients will be selected via a process intended to help ensure equal access to funds and eliminate selection bias.