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Struggling Indy bars and restaurants are getting help with rent payments

COVID restrictions are a financial nightmare
Posted at 8:27 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 20:33:41-04

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s been a struggle for bars and restaurants since the start of the pandemic. Many have gone months without the income they’re typically used to because of COVID-19 restrictions. But now, there’s some relief for businesses in Marion County.

“It’s been tough watching some of our neighbors close and struggle,” says John Rangle, the owner of La Margarita. “It’s just it’s all surreal honestly.”

Having to adjust business models, Rangel says, “We are lucky to have a patio and we use it to the best of our abilities. We’ve got an order window that we kind of use with the garage so yeah that’s kind of what we’ve been doing is just that and trying to crank up the carry out.”

La Margarita has all of their seating outdoors currently.

“That’s the biggest challenge looking ahead is where we go in the winter because we don’t really have any plans of yet to re-open the dining room inside,” the owner says.

But thanks to the HELP grant offered by the city of Indianapolis, La Margarita has one less thing to worry about for the next few months.

“They can submit unpaid rent or mortgage expenses from April through September of this year and then all rent or mortgage expenses from October through December of this year,” says Scarlett Martin, the Indianapolis director of community and economic development.

A rent and mortgage relief program, bars, restaurants and live entertainment venues can receive up to $25,000 that goes straight to the landlord or property owner.

“Obviously for bars and restaurants, one of their biggest expenses and one of the most constant expenses is going to be keeping their space in order to stay open,” says Martin. “And going into these winter months, it’s going to be even more difficult as folks probably are not going to be going outside as much for outdoor seating and there still is reduced capacity inside based on the public health order, and so we know these businesses are going to continue to struggle.”

“It’s just kind of that peace of mind that when the first of the month comes around, we’re able to cover that cost,” says Rangel.

A family owned business opened for 35 years, Rangel says, they are going to weather this storm.

“Get through to the other side,” he says, “keep it rocking and serve margaritas at the bar.”

Where to apply:

https://www.response.indychamber.com/helpgrants#:~:text=The%20City%20of%20Indianapolis'%20Hospitality,during%20the%20early%20winter%20months.