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Miami-Dade County Commission Approves a $35 Million Relief Program for the Restaurant Industry

They’re offering up to $25,000 per restaurant and up to $500 per furloughed or laid-off employee

U.S. Struggles With Coronavirus Amid A Surge Of New Cases Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images

UPDATE (8/3/20): Affected restaurants can now apply for the Miami-Dade Hospitality Industry Grant through this link. Story below.

Yesterday the Miami-Dade County Commission debuted a $35 million relief plan for Miami’s hard-hit hospitality industry during a special meeting to discuss how the county plans to spend its CARES Act funding, money given to the county from the federal government for emergency aid.

The two-part resolution has allocated $30 million for funding the Miami-Dade County Hospitality Industry Grant Program, which offers grants up to $25,000 per restaurant affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and $5 million from the South Beach Wine and Food Festival and FIU Chaplin School Industry Relief Fund, which will give money to furloughed and laid-off employees of independently owned restaurants, hotel restaurants, bars, and caterers.

The first part of the plan was unanimously approved by the commission during the meeting on July 16, with the second part expected to be voted upon and approved during a meeting on July 21 once lawyers finalize details.

The Miami-Dade County Hospitality Industry Grant Program is intended for restaurants employing a maximum of 50 employees and with annual revenue that does not exceed $10 million. If there are remaining funds, it will then expand to restaurants with a maximum of 75 employees, and with annual revenue that does not exceed $15 million. Priority for funding will be given to applicants who have a single establishment.

The money can cover 100 percent of personal protective equipment (PPE) costs, 80 percent of rent and mortgage, and 50 percent of expenses meant to “keep businesses safely operating” like utilities, licenses, insurance, and perishable food items. Up to two restaurants per hospitality group can qualify for the grant.

“The whole intent is we want to know what expenses they [restaurant owners] have had during this whole COVID period,” said Deputy Miami-Dade County Mayor Edward Marquez. “They’ll submit us invoices and we can send them reimbursement checks.” He also added that county officials met with many restaurant owners to help develop this plan.

Nightclubs, bars, or mobile food trucks, chain or franchise restaurants, hotel restaurants owned by a hotel, and home-based business do not qualify for the grants.

The Industry Relief Fund will distribute up to $500 per laid-off or furloughed employee, with a maximum of $15,000 per restaurant or bar owner. Up to two establishments per hospitality group can quality.

The restaurant industry has been severely impacted due to the temporary closures of restaurants throughout the spring to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Miami has been a hotspot for the pandemic in recent weeks— reporting 3,108 positive cases yesterday alone, with the state of Florida reporting nearly 14,000 — causing the mayor to shutdown indoor dining at restaurants last week.