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Local restaurants receive grants to keep staff employed

Local restaurants receive grants to keep staff employed
Posted at 3:04 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 16:11:37-04

Luciano's Italian Restaurant needed a pick-me-up when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

"It has been a challenge, but at the same time we’re happy to be here," said owner Joseph Douglas.

He said despite offering meals to go, curbside and delivery, the business still was struggling to keep all its employees working over the past couple of months.

"That’s everything I wanted," he said. "I didn’t want to lay off anybody, and that was generous for us to keep all 17, 18 of us."

Douglas heard about the TX Restaurant Relief Fund , offered by the Texas Restaurant Association , which offers its local chapter members a grant.

Coastal Bend Restaurant Association president Kathy Snapka said up to $2,500 is available to a restaurant "specifically to help to keep their operations going, and to keep their employees paid throughout this crisis."

Within a few weeks of applying for the grant, Douglas said he received money that would help him keep his staff employed.

"Yeah, it got me," he said. "It was definitely an emotional day for me to feel the somebody was there for you when you needed it."

Many restaurants will be opening at the end of this week at 50 percent capacity, but still need help keeping their heads above water for now, and in order for more restaurants to receive grants, donations are needed to the TX Restaurant Relief Fund .

"All restaurants are struggling now, trying to reopen and open at a partial capacity," Snapka said. "So, $2,500 may only be the lifeblood that keeps a restaurant going."