Restaurants in Virginia Receive New Round of Grants

The Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association has partnered with Doordash in order to help local restaurants in Tazewell County. It is offering a new program called the Doordash Restaurant Operator Relief Grant. There will be 125 individual grants issued, and each of them are worth $3,500. This program was announced on Monday, February 15.

What Doordash Is

Doordash is a food delivery service. Most of its employees are independent contractors. Doordash functions as an app. A person places an online food order, selects the timing of the delivery, and a Doordash driver drops it off on their porch. The person who ordered gets a notification that their food is ready. It has grown in popularity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dining in a restaurant is a risk factor for contracting COVID-19, and a lot of restaurants and bars were temporarily shut down until case loads dropped and until hospitals were able to ramp up their capacities to care for the sick.

About the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association

The Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel association represents restaurant owners throughout the state of Virginia. It also represents the owners and operators of bed-and-breakfast facilities, hotels, motels and AirBnBs. It also has some travel agencies and other travel-related businesses in its membership. The association stated that a minimum of 20% of all the grants it awards will go to minority- and women-owned restaurants, bars, lodging and travel businesses.

How the Grant Funds Can Be Used

The $3,500 in grant funds can be used for a variety of purposes. Business owners can use it for making health upgrades to their facilities, such as the installation of plexiglass dividers at cashier stations. They can also use it to offset some of the losses they have had from closures. The funds can help support reconfiguration of kitchens and other areas of restaurants. They can also be used to pay for signs and other items that promote safe and healthy use of the facilities, such as social distancing placards and floor stickers. A business owner can also use the grant money to help out with their payroll.

Eligibility Requirements for the Doordash Grants

In order to receive a grant from the Doordash Grant program, a business must be independently owned and not have more than three locations. The locations have to be in the state of Virginia. The business has to have at least one location currently open in the state of Virginia, and it has to be food-related. If it is a single-location business, its annual revenue must be less than $3 million. These grants are only for brick-and-mortar restaurants that have a physical location for dining or offer take-out and delivery. The location has to be visible from the street. Food trucks, home-based food businesses and pop-up restaurants are not eligible to apply. The business owner must be able to show a reduction of revenue that began in March 2020 through December 2020 compared to its revenue in 2019.

What Is Not Required of the Grant Applicants

Applicants for these grants do not have to be a partner with Doordash. If they apply for the grant, they do not have to sign up for Doordash services. Applicants do not have to be a member of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association to apply for funding.

How a Restaurant, Lodging or Travel Business Owner Can Apply

The owners of bars, restaurants, lodging or travel businesses can apply for the grant funds now. Applications are through an online portal. The application period ends on March 1, 2021. The funds will be distributed via a check sent through the mail. Checks will be sent no later than March 31. If an applicant receives a grant, it will not be eligible for future distributions through the same grant program.

How the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association Will Select Recipients

A committee of members of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association will select the 125 grant recipients. Only completed applications will be considered. If any of the application's questions or fields are missing, the applicant will become ineligible. An applicant can correct any deficiencies as long as they do this before the deadline, but they will not be notified of any missing information or errors before the end of the application period. The maximum distribution of funds will be $450,000.

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