INDIANAPOLIS — It is undeniable, 2020 has hit bars, restaurants, and live event venues hard, many of them were forced to keep their doors closed for months during the pandemic.
"The hospitality industry has probably taken the biggest hit of any industry and I think we need to keep a lot of these places downtown that are hanging by a thread open," George Stergiopoulos, of Giorgio's Pizza on Monument Circle, said.
The application period has officially begun for HELP grants, that stands for Hospitality Establishment Lifeline Payment, funded with $11 million from the federal Cares Act. Businesses can receive up to $25,000 in currently unpaid rent or mortgage payments due between April and September 2020.
Additionally, businesses can apply for all rent or mortgage expenses to be paid from October through December 2020.
Scarlett Martin is the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Indianapolis. She said the help grant is another effort from Mayor Joe Hogsett's office to help businesses survive.
"Obviously we want to see people continue working, we want to see people continue to be employed and I think part of that is just making sure these businesses can stay open, and so we recognize some of your biggest hurdles as a business is just paying for your space especially when your revenue is down," Martin said.
The help grant is for all Marion County restaurants, bars, and live entertainment venues that have lost at least 10% of business due to the pandemic.
Stergiopolus said his rent makes up roughly 30% of his expenses. He said the HELP grant couldn't have come any sooner.
"Hey October, November and December rent help will be fantastic for everybody with a small business. So cool, I think it's fantastic," Stergiopolus said.
Eligibility requirements and more details can be found online. The city said the application period will run from October 15 to November 6, but potential applicants are urged to prepare in advance because of expected high demand.