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Anchorage offers $7M in grants to restaurants, bars and other hospitality businesses affected by COVID-19

Niels Backers eats at Sandwich Deck restaurant in downtown Anchorage. Tables were separated for dine-in customers on April 27, 2020. (Marc Lester / ADN)

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Anchorage hospitality businesses affected by the pandemic and pandemic-related shutdowns can soon apply for dedicated economic relief grants totaling $7.1 million, funded by the municipality’s CARES Act money.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announced Friday that applications for the Hospitality Industry Relief Program will open at 9 a.m. Monday.

Hospitality businesses such as bars, restaurants and breweries that have experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic and emergency shutdowns are eligible to apply for the grants. The money can be used for business-related expenses, including rent, payroll, utilities and vendor payments, according to the city.

The amount of the grant will be based on three qualification tiers.

Businesses that qualify for “Tier A” include bars that were required to close under Emergency Order 15 and other hospitality businesses “most impacted” by COVID-19. Those businesses can receive $30,000 in aid, according to the municipality.

Those that qualify for “Tier B” can receive $15,000, and includerestaurants, breweries and other alcohol-based businesses impacted by COVID-19 and related closures” and hospitality businesses that were also “significantly restricted” by Emergency Order 15.

“Tier C” businesses can get $7,000. They include hospitality businesses that have been “generally impacted by COVID-19 and related emergency orders," according to the municipality.

“This pandemic attacks social interaction and our community gathering places are paying the price,” Berkowitz said in a written statement. “Until customers feel safe, there will be a continued reluctance to patronize hospitality businesses. The sooner we can contain the virus, the sooner we can return to prosperity.”

The municipality is working with two groups, the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association and the Alaska Hospitality Retailers Association, to distribute the funds.

Businesses with a liquor license will apply through CHARR and others will apply through the hospitality association.

Applications close on Nov. 30.