ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) — Another St. Louis business announced it’s closing its doors after waiting too long for COVID-19 relief money.
Some of that money was in the form of a grant from the Small Business Administration. That Restaurant Revitalization Fund was created in March and aimed to be a lifeline for struggling restaurants. Due to court battles, some of the money was held up and now it has been used up.
Quincy Street Bistro in south St. Louis City posted to its social media it decided to close its doors at least temporarily, if not permanently.
“We, like many other small locally-owned businesses, have applied for grants through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. We have hopes that those much-needed funds will come through for us, and many others like us,” the restaurant said in its post online.
The business ultimately said because of legal snags with the grant, the restaurant doesn’t expect to get the money anytime soon and made the decision to close.
“It’s heartbreaking because I know much work goes into and how much they must have fought to keep that from happening,” said Taco Buddha general manager Jeff Friesen.
Friesen and the Taco Buddha owner, Kurt Eller, said they used money from the first two rounds of PPP and did not apply for a grant, knowing other restaurants need it more.
As for businesses still in dire need of assistance, the city says help is on the way in the form of the federal COVID relief money the city still has to decide how to spend.
“We have to use the funds in a way where it creates, it helps to stimulates the economy, it helps get people in a better place,” said Lewis Reed, president of the Board of Aldermen.
The Board of Aldermen heard from the public Wednesday on how they think federal COVID relief money should be spent. The federal government is giving St. Louis $500 million over three years. Right now, the city has $252 million the bank.
Reed hopes small business owners, especially restaurants, will reach out to the city now to let them know they need help.
“All other things being equal, a voice from some of the small businesses will change things dramatically within city government and can help them,” said Reed.
The Board of Aldermen hopes to agree on how to spend this first round of money by July 16. Once the board passes that bill, it needs Mayor Tishaura Jones’ signature. After she signs it, the money can be accessed almost immediately and be given to small businesses.
“They need to save them, they need to jump in and save them or we’re not going to have the same restaurant community,” said Eller.
The next public meeting to discuss how the money will be spent is July 6 at 9 a.m. and will be virtual.
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