SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash — Spokane County has extended the deadline for hospitality Relief Grant applications until Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 5 p.m.
This COVID-19 relief grant could help give owners thousands of dollars to operate. For local businesses in Spokane County, $20,000 could be the lifeline they need to stay open.
"All the times that we've had to shut down or not have people inside there was huge, not having our seating right now is huge," said owner of Happy Trails to Brews Bill Reeve. "Even if we had three or four seats at the bar, it makes a huge difference."
Happy Trails to Brews is a year old tap house in Indian Trail that doubles as a community hangout spot. Reeve works with only one other employee.
"Making sure that the business stays open is not just for myself, but for everybody who, in these last two years, has come to rely on this place as their home," he added.
His bar is a place people can be themselves, he said.
He does not know if he would be able to survive in the winter without some funding. He has applied for previous grants from Spokane County, but he says a lot of the time there are restrictions for him.
"I have already received money from PPP grant, so some other ones disqualify me," he said.
For the Hospitality Relief Grant, it's different.
"We're not doing that with this program either because we realize that when we saw the numbers and application that even if they did get $10,000, it wasn't even close to what they needed to survive," said Spokane County's Cindy Wendle.
Wendle previously led the OPENTogether Small Business and Non-profit Grant program and said she learned from that experience to make this one better.
"The one thing with having done something and then being able to do it again, you learn from the first process what worked and what didn't work," she said. "There's a few key things that we are going to do differently with this program."
- Can still apply even if you received grant, PPP or other funding
- Established before March 1, 2020
- Have up to 249 employees
- Get up to $20,000
"We don't want to shut anybody out," Wendle added. "We're giving ourselves a lot more flexibility in this program by targeting it more than to the businesses that need it the most."
Another new aspect to this grant is the outreach sector.
Spokane County, Downtown Spokane Partnership, Visit Spokane, Greater Spokane Inc., AHANA, Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce and Washington Hospitality Association have partnered together to make the grant more inclusive.
Each organization or agency will be working within the community to inform, educate and encourage business owners to apply.
Technically, the grant is for $10.8 million, but only $10 million goes to the applicants. The $800,000 is broken up in three ways. The organizers bought 23,000 boxes of gloves for $230,000. The rest of the money is split between administration costs and direct outreach costs.
"When there's a crisis and a need, it brings people together," she added. "We're all banding together and hoping to help."
An open-ended grant like this makes Reeve feel excited to apply.
"We'd be able to pay off our debts and get that done," he said. " I would definitely apply for any grants out there."
The deadline for grant applications has been extended to November 18 at 5 p.m.