Syracuse, N.Y. — The city of Syracuse is offering a new round of grants to help restaurants and other small businesses cope with the coronavirus pandemic this winter.

The grants can be used for such things as the purchase of tents, enclosures, heaters and other equipment that can help business extend their outdoor and indoor spaces, or for improved ventilation systems or sanitizing equipment. The money can also assist businesses expand their online ordering and improve take-out/curbside pick-up of food or merchandise.

The grants, made through the Syracuse Economic Development Corporation, offer between $2,500 and $10,000 to individual business, and up to $25,000 to neighborhood organizations that support local business.

Businesses, particularly bars and restaurants, have been scrambling in recent months to enhance or expand their spaces as winter approaches. That’s especially important for restaurants, which must limit their customers to no more than 50% occupancy and maintain social distancing.

The office of Mayor Ben Walsh announced the grant program today, one day after Syracuse and other parts of Onondaga County were placed under new state restrictions due to spikes in the number of coronavirus cases.

For restaurants and bars, the new “yellow zone” restrictions reduce the number of people allowed at a table from 10 to four. They must also close no later than midnight. (The towns of Salina, Clay and Lysander, along with the villages of East Syracuse and Solvay, are also in the yellow zone area).

Those new restriction take effect Wednesday, and will remain in place at least two weeks.

Onondaga County announced a similar grant program aimed at restaurants last month. It offers up to $5,000 per business.

“Without help quickly, some of our small businesses won’t make it through the winter,” Walsh said in a news release. “… SEDCO helped many small businesses withstand the early days of the pandemic, and I am pleased we are able to deploy its support again as winter approaches.”

The city program is open to small businesses, with 50 employees or fewer. See details of the grant program. Applications for grants can be submitted by email to business@syrgov.net or by mail to Syracuse Economic Development Corporation, 201 East Washington Street, Suite, 612, Syracuse, 13202.

Bars and restaurants around Central New York have been busy making adjustments for the coming winter, including offering outdoor tents, installing virus-killing UV lights or adding high-tech air filtration systems.

Anything But Beer, a restaurant and taproom at 201 S. Salina St. in downtown Syracuse has applied for some of the winterization grants, said co-owner Brittany Berry.

But some of the supplies, especially heaters, are becoming hard to find.

“We have not yet been able to find any outdoor heaters in stock anywhere (including on the internet) so we are navigating how best to handle it,” Berry said. “We will be doing something to extend outdoor seating.”

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Don Cazentre writes for NYup.comsyracuse.com and The Post-Standard. Reach him at dcazentre@nyup.com, or follow him at NYup.com, on Twitter or Facebook.





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