Governor Ducey has announced an executive order designed to allow restaurants to more easily expand outdoor dining facilities as leaders look for ways to help an industry hit hard by COVID-19.
The move, which reduces regulatory hurdles, has been paired with $1 million in grants to help eateries purchase barriers, heaters and outdoor furniture to convert open areas into dining spaces. The spaces do not have to be physically connected to the restaurant, but must be within 60 feet of the dining establishment.
The state began accepting applications for the grants yesterday. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis and will undergo a peer review process to ensure all documentation is submitted and verified. The deadline for applications is January 8, 2021.
Under the program, applicants must be a licensed bar or restaurant legally owned and operated in the state and currently complying with all COVID-19 related executive orders. The restaurants must be open to the general public and in good standing with the Arizona Department of Revenue.
The restaurants or bars must have no more than 50 full-time equivalent employees and must show that the new extension of their premises have been approved by a local governing body and the state Department of Liquor Licensing and Control, if applicable. A new extension under the program is any outdoor expansion that increased the outdoor square footage of the restaurant and opened for service on or after October 1, 2020, however the expenditures the grant will cover have to be purchased after December 1.
Restaurateurs will be asked to provide information about their business and a description of the scope of work to be done to create the extension, including the number of additional customers that will be served and how the extension will help ensure the financial viability of the business.
For more information about the program, including application forms and contacts for getting help on applying for the funds, visit here.
This help for our struggling restaurants is welcome as we work to come back from the pandemic.