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Restaurants targeted for $45 million COVID assistance

With help from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), restaurants and other targeted small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, will receive $45 million in assistance. The program, We’re All In For Restaurants, is aimed at businesses throughout Wisconsin that, as gathering places, have been challenged from the beginning of the pandemic, and are incredibly important employers and community members.

“Restaurants and other venues have been among the businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “They’ve made the tough decisions to keep employees and customers safe, by restricting indoor seating, offering delivery and curbside pick-up, and providing outdoor tables. We greatly appreciate the changes they’ve made to prioritize the health and safety of our communities, but now with winter coming, we are glad to provide this support at a critical time.”

The program will be administered by the Department of Revenue (DOR), in collaboration with the WEDC. Unlike previous We’re All In grants, businesses will not have to apply for the grants, but will be identified and contacted directly by the DOR, based on the businesses’ state tax records.

According to preliminary DOR estimates, restaurants will account for roughly 95 percent of the approximately 2,000 businesses to receive the funds. The program will target businesses with annual revenues of more than $1 million and less than $7 million. Previous state grant programs have focused on businesses with annual revenues of less than $1 million.

“Locally owned restaurants have a huge impact,” said WEDC secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “They’re often the heart of their communities – employing local workers, relying on local supply chains and providing a place for neighbors to meet. We want to do all that we can to keep them going through this difficult time.”