Rent relief program to offer help to struggling NC restaurants

Rent relief program to offer help to struggling NC restaurants

CHARLOTTE — Full-service restaurants in North Carolina will become eligible for assistance starting Thursday through the Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief Program.

Gov. Roy Cooper made the announcement in a news conference this week about the funding administered through the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Restaurants and other businesses have had to adapt to changing guidelines since the onset of the pandemic, including capacity limits and enhanced sanitation measures, in accordance with local and state coronavirus guidance.

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Spencer Farrell is the general manager at Heist Brewery in Charlotte, where staff pivoted to expanded takeout almost immediately. They also utilized outdoor patio space to expand their seating capacity.

That may not be an option heading into the winter months.

“When we don’t have the patio, we’re going to take a hit. But for us at least, it’s a manageable hit,” Farrell said. “I know there’s restaurants down the street that are capitalizing on back-patio areas, and that’s pretty much it. I don’t know what they’re going to do.”

Cooper announced North Carolina will continue to stay paused in phase 3, and indoor gathering limits decreased from 25 people to 10.

Indoor capacity at restaurants remains at 50%.

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Jonathan Martin, who owns The Gathering Grounds on The Plaza, said business during the pandemic has been hard to predict.

“Some days we have good days, and some days you just sit here, and you’re, like, ‘OK, is anybody going to come?’”

Martin opened the Charlotte coffeehouse over the summer but held on to another full-time job.

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“If I was to step out of work today, I wouldn’t be able to keep this business running,” he said.

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