Mount Prospect offering grants to struggling restaurants, but there's a catch
Grants of up to $10,000 soon will go out to restaurants hit hard by state-ordered shutdowns and other economic fallouts from the coronavirus pandemic, Mount Prospect officials said Tuesday.
The online application form for the new COVID-19 Restaurant Assistance Grant Program went live Wednesday morning on the village website.
"We hope to get checks cut to qualifying restaurants within a week," Community Development Director Bill Cooney said at Tuesday's village board meeting.
But the village's assistance comes with strings attached. Restaurants receiving a grant must comply with state restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 or refund the money.
"I think we finally have some teeth in order to ensure restaurants are making the right choice and not encouraging inside dining," Mayor Arlene Juracek said.
The program officially was approved by the village board Tuesday with even more money than when originally proposed last week. Officials initially said the program would offer a total of $250,000 in assistance, but Cooney said that's since risen to $600,000.
That additional $350,000 comes from federal CARES Act funding the village received last month through Cook County.
The amount awarded will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Cooney said village staff has delivered the program guidelines to roughly 60 qualifying restaurants.
Village trustees praised the program Tuesday.
"It provides the support that our businesses need at a very dire time, particularly those that have employees, because the holidays are coming, and I certainly don't want to see anybody losing their source of income or revenue at this stage," Trustee Michael Zadel said.
However, Trustee William Grossi advised restaurants to carefully read the fine print about the resurgence mitigations before accepting village assistance.
"If you don't feel you can do it, don't put yourself in a position to have to give back the money," he said.
"This program is intended to help you, not hurt you, and we don't want it to turn around and bite you later on," Trustee Richard Rogers added.