WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KRON) – The city of Walnut Creek is making money available from its general fund to help prevent struggling bars and restaurants from closing their doors for good amid the pandemic.
Restaurants and bars drowning in debt and sorrow over lost revenue in Walnut Creek are dying a slow death.
“It’s very bad. Very, very very bad,” manager Gana Abdel said.
This week, the city council unanimously approved a $1-million grant program.
Each business can receive up to $10,000 — 75% of the city’s 200 full and limited service independent restaurants and bars could be eligible but the program is underwhelming for Gana Abdel.
He manages Crepes Ooh La La, which he runs with his brother. They have already closed their two locations in San Francisco.
“Not much — it’s only for one month for rent. That’s it. It’s not enough for us,” Abdel said.
In order to apply for the money, Mayor Kevin Wilk says each establishment must prove they have been in the same location since June 2019, and show they have lost at least 25% of their revenue since last spring.
Wilk says restaurants make up about 17% of the city’s sales tax revenue.
“While this isn’t going to make any restaurant profitable, the idea is to help keep them solvent. Help to be able to ensure that they’ll be able to reopen safely for outdoor and then indoor dining, and of course, help to keep employees on the payroll as well,” Wilk said.
Executive chef and co-owner of the Walnut Creek Yacht Club, Kevin Weinberg, says he will apply for the grant but says lifting restrictions on dining is more important than free money.
“Having outside dining available as soon as possible, under safe protocol that we would all follow is necessary to survive,” Weinberg said.
The city will begin accepting applications this week, with hopes of getting the money to business owner by next month.