'Every bit of help helps': North Carolina restaurants can soon receive up to $20,000 in COVID 19 assistance with MURR Program

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- There are Triangle restaurants operating completely outdoors as the pandemic continues and COVID-19 climbs.

Relish Cafe has a bunch of tents set up on the sidewalk and there is also an enclosed patio.

Owner Sharon May said she is putting safety over profits and thrilled that some financial help is finally coming from the state.

"Every bit of help helps. I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth, but we need more, much more," said May.

May said she's been doing right by her team all of the pandemic and even paid employees a little more to keep them from going on unemployment.

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She has mixed emotions about the state's new relief program for restaurants.

"The $20,000 is wonderful, but it's not enough. It's not my rent for 5 months," said May.

The State of North Carolina recently announced Tuesday a new assistance for struggling spots.

"Starting Thursday, full-service restaurants seeking help with rent payments or mortgage interest may apply to North Carolina Commerce for up to $20,000," said Gov. Roy Cooper.

It's being called the MURR Program and there's information about it up on the commerce department's website.

Funds can only be used to pay for a space. Guidelines note that "restaurants will not be eligible for utility cost reimbursement."

Even with this help, May expects to go deeper in the red.

PPP funds have dried up. It was meant for eight weeks and the pandemic now going on its eighth month.

According to a survey by the National Restaurant Association, one in six restaurants or food services in the U.S. have closed since the pandemic began.

May worries what will happen this winter.

She plans to keep her dining room outdoors. May strongly feels it's the safest way to serve food with COVID-19 cases rising.

"That's what we are going to have to do and hang on by our fingernails, hope that Congress can come through with something for us because another round of PPP would make the difference. It would make it," May said.
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