PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland City Council on Wednesday approved $3 million in emergency funding to support the city’s COVID-19 response, including $1 million for small businesses.
For local restaurant owners, help can’t come soon enough.
Jim and Jan Rice are doing whatever they can to keep the lights on at The Fields Bar & Grill in Northwest Portland. They had no choice but to close their doors to dine-in customers when Gov. Kate Brown issued sweeping new guidelines aimed at flattening the curve of new coronavirus cases.
“Just day-by-day we’re covering whatever cost we can cover and taking care of as many employees as we can. That’s what I’m trying to focus on right now,” Jim Rice told KOIN 6 News.
The owners are thankful restaurants are allowed to offer takeout but their restaurant relies on its atmosphere—the energy generated by sports fans, especially this time of year.
Jim said he was worried at first how Fields would fare while relying only on takeout but the number of orders has increased thanks to a loyal customer base.
“We’ve had some people come in and want us to give them three or four days’ worth of food in one shot just because they wanted to support us,” Jim said. “So the response, honestly, has been wonderful from that standpoint.”
The $1 million in small business emergency funding will be given in grants which businesses can apply for starting Monday. Restaurant owners also hope to receive financial help once the U.S. House passes the unparalleled $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.