MURRELLS INLET, SC (WBTW) – On the one hand, more than 100,000 restaurants across the country have closed since the start of the pandemic, and part of the latest stimulus bill will allow restaurants to ask for up to 5 million dollars each.
Restaurant owners can get grants equal to the income they lost during the pandemic. The American Rescue Plan sets aside more than $ 28 billion nationwide.
“It’s just kind of a constant mess when we’re doing our best and our hands are always tied because we can’t. Our capacity is still not where it needs to be, ”said Joseph Fuqua, owner of Pop Pop’s Pit BBQ.
Like many small businesses across the Grand Strand, Fuqua said his business struggled during the pandemic. He said one of the biggest challenges he has faced is the staff shortage.
“It’s another way of trying to get more staff to try to make sure we have the right supplies. With all the COVID stuff, everything we use is disposable, so it’s a lot more expensive than just washing the dishes, ”Fuqua said.
But the first challenge was the closure. Restaurants in South Carolina were not allowed to eat in person for weeks when the pandemic began. Then there was a slow tourist season.
“Since COVID hit, we’ve been doing a third of what we should be doing from a business standpoint and we’re just walking on water,” Fuqua said.
Now, restaurateurs can apply for federal grants to cover lost revenue. Fuqua said he plans to join the fund as soon as he can.
“We’re just kind of a bet that we can get through this stretch. We’re not getting any breaks from anyone to help us get through this mess. Tax revenue, we got no tax relief from the government, the state, no financial assistance at all, ”Fuqua said.
Fuqua also added that this grant could be one of the reasons his business remains open. “This will hopefully be one of the reasons we can stay in business. We struggle so much with help and just some kind of attitude. It was very hard. We’re going to need all the help we can get. “
The Small Business Administration will accept applications while funds are exhausted. For more information on how to apply, visit the Small Business Administration Website.