CORONAVIRUS

Shuttered bars, taverns eligible for $10,000 one-time grant through IEDA

Program aims to 'bridge the gap' for businesses in Linn, Johnson counties

Bottles of alcohol are topped with paper cups as staff deep-clean Moco Game Room and Hot Dog Bar in Cedar Rapids in May.
Bottles of alcohol are topped with paper cups as staff deep-clean Moco Game Room and Hot Dog Bar in Cedar Rapids in May. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Bars and taverns that closed under Gov. Kim Reynolds’ coronavirus disaster declaration last week are eligible for one-time $10,000 grants, Reynolds announced Wednesday.

Last week, all bars and taverns in six counties — including Linn and Johnson counties — had to close at 5 p.m. Thursday as part of Reynolds’ order until Sept. 20 at the earliest.

Restaurants had to stop serving alcohol after 10 p.m.

“A business that is forced to close, even temporarily, means a business owner, workers and families are affected,” Reynolds said in a statement.

“This short-term program can help bridge the gap for those local businesses as we work to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The Iowa Economic Development Authority is overseeing the grants as part of the Iowa Small Business Relief Grant Program, with the estimated cost at $5 million.

“We’re pleased to be able to provide a rapid response to assist our businesses in today’s constantly-evolving environment,” Debi Durham, director of IEDA and the Iowa Finance Authority, said in a statement.

Any bars, breweries, wineries, taverns and distilleries in good standing with the state Alcohol Beverages Division, Department of Revenue and Department of Inspections and Appeals are eligible.

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Durham said the program will “provide immediate cash flow assistance to hundreds of establishments who have been closed due to the continued public health emergency.”

Some local breweries were cautiously optimistic following Wednesday’s announcement.

“If we are able to get the grant, that’s huge for us,” said Hayley Flenker, owner of Thew Brewing in Cedar Rapids. “But we applied the first time around and didn’t get anything.”

Matt Harding, general manager of Iowa Brewing Company, also plans to apply for the grant but doesn’t see this as a catch-all solution.

“It is a great step, but it doesn’t help our taproom employees who are laid off,” Harding said.

“Many of them are dealing with home damage because of the derecho. Any financial statistics for the business don’t help those employees.”

The application window begins Sept. 10 and will last two weeks.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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