After months of the hospitality industry asking for financial relief, Multnomah County announced via a press release on Monday, November 30, that it will offer small grants to all eligible licensed restaurants and food carts in the county. In total, the county will disburse about $7.6 million in CARES Act funds to small businesses, approximately $5.3 million of which will go to restaurants and food carts. Each eligible restaurant will receive $1,500, while food carts will receive $500.
Applications, which can be found here, are available from now until December 15. Businesses must have held a valid Multnomah County food service license between January 1 and September 30, 2020, and only business owners who hold five or fewer licenses will be eligible to apply. Grants are also available to caterers and bed-and-breakfasts. Every eligible business that applies for a grant will receive one, according to the county. Checks will be mailed by December 30.
“Our operators have lost so much this year, and this won’t relieve the hardship. And at the same time, after a year of being the bearer of bad news, it’s a relief for me to offer some small support,” said Jeff Martin, the county’s environmental health supervisor, in the press release.
During a press conference, the county reported it had received 400 grant applications in the first two hours since applications opened. There are approximately 4,500 licensed restaurants and food carts in Multnomah County, and the county expects about 3,500 eligible businesses to apply. Leftover funding will then be distributed to more small businesses in need, prioritizing the hospitality industry and women-owned, BIPOC-owned, and Tribal-owned businesses. Priority for remaining additional funds will also be given to businesses in east county.