Charlottesville restaurants trying to keep doors and patios open as it gets colder

Charlottesville restaurants trying to keep doors and patios open as it gets colder

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As the temperatures begin to drop, restaurants in Charlottesville are trying to figure out ways to keep their doors and patios open.

“I expect if we were to lose our patio, sales would dip another 40%. If we lose indoors, there’s not much meat left on the bone,” Public Fish & Oyster owner Daniel Kaufman said.

Public Fish & Oyster on West Main Street was often packed before the coronavirus pandemic.

“I had a really popular bar. We always had a lot of people in here, and it made for great energy,” Kaufman said.

The restaurant was relying on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money and grants to stay open.

“We reopened originally for takeout after receiving our PPP loan which was great. It allowed for us to bring people back on staff to get them paid,” Kaufman said.

A tent is helping the restaurant do more business, but Kaufman says it’s not enough.

This week, Charlottesville announced the second small business relief grant.

“It can be spent on something such as enhancing your outdoor space with a heater or a tent, or it can be spent on paying your rent or paying your employees salary for a period of time,” Charlottesville Director of Economic Development Chris Engel said.

Businesses in the city that apply are eligible to receive between $5,000 to $10,000.

“We hope the funds are useful in maintaining employment, keeping the doors open, and hopefully bridging them across this gap to a better time,” Engel said.

For Kaufman, he’s waiting for the day his bar is packed again.

“I know I’m not the only one losing sleep every single night. I know I’m not the only one with a sense of anxiety that I’m feeling on a day to day basis. We want this thing to be over really bad, but we want to be standing at the end of it too,” Kaufman said.

The city will hold a webinar for anyone interested in applying for the small business grant on Wednesday, October 14.

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