As if restaurants don't have enough to deal with, the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected the business of many and put others into permanent closure. Everyone has been closely watching the state of many businesses and restaurants as the numbers of cases continues fluctuating, and now we've finally seen a ray of hope for many business owners. The City of New Orleans will be creating an outdoor dining grant to help support the restaurant industry expand their outdoor seating options.
According to Mayor Cantrell's office, the city will be committing $100,000 for "Phase Two of outdoor dining grants." Restaurants and bars will be able to apply for $2,000 grants to help expand their outdoor dining and parklet seating. They are also anticipating supporting around 50 restaurants and bars through this program. The restaurant industry is the backbone of the community, and many places have not survived the pandemic. To qualify, businesses must already have a parklet permit from the city, and they must document and report their usage of the grant within a month of receipt. Nearly 35 percent of funds for grants have been set aside for BIPOC- and women-owned businesses.
Mayor Cantrell's efforts to reimagine public spaces to support the city's businesses include this plan. This outdoor dining grant is apparently "the first part of a multi-phase effort to expand dining options" for the public. Although these funds won't support very many restaurants in the city, the Mayor's Office states that they will "continue advocating for resources and work to support" the restaurant and business industries.
These changes will positively affect many businesses around New Orleans, but others will still be left floundering. It is important to support local restaurants and businesses as much as possible in these times.