‘Hanging on by a thread’: WA Hospitality Association says restaurants need more than a $70M grant

SPOKANE, Wash.—Faced with a second Covid-19 shutdown, small businesses in Washington will soon be able to apply for grants.

$70 million worth of grants and $30 million in loans are being set aside to ease the pain of a four-week closure.

The Washington Hospitality Association says it’s not nearly enough.

“The hospitality industry has been hanging by a thread,” said Anthony Anton, CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association. “We appreciate the governor’s 70 million dollars in grants that he announced but we also know that that’s just a start.”

W.H.A. anticipates the four-week closure will cost Washington restaurants $800 million. Anton said the $70 million in grants will cover just two days worth of lost revenue.

Derek Baziotis, who owns Bene’s Breakfast and Brunch in Cheney, fears the ban on indoor dining at bars and restaurants will linger into the new year. He plans to apply for a grant but knows it will only help so much.

“It’s not going to get us businesses through a four-week shutdown let alone what could come after that.”

The Washington State Department of Commerce said businesses can start applying for grants within a week on their website.