Bill to Give Grants to Restaurant, Lodging Industries to Offset Pandemic Passes House


The Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would give grants to bars, restaurants and the lodging industry to offset the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill, co-sponsored by Reps. D.J. Swearingen, (R-89-Huron) and Al Cutrona (R-59-Canfield), passed the House 91-0. It designates $125 million in federal relief aid, with $100 million for bars and restaurants and $25 million for the lodging industry.

It follows several other bills aimed at administering pandemic relief, including for schools and child care providers.

“Since the businesses were unable to operate during most of the year 2020 due to a pandemic that included government intervention into their day to day operations, it was only fair that these businesses receive funding to get back on their feet,” said Swearingen in a statement on Thursday.

Bars and restaurants were originally closed in March, 2020, per orders from the governor in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. They were able to reopen on May 15, 2020, for outdoor dining and on May 21, 2020, for indoor dining.

Grants will be awarded in increments of $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 according to loss of revenue, as well as number of employees or occupancy rates for the respective industry.

“For the past year, these business owners have struggled to keep their door open and serve customers to the best of their capabilities in these trying times,” said Swearingen. “At the end of 2020, it was projected that sixty-seven percent of hotels will not make it another 6 months given current and projected travel demand without emergency financial assistance.”

The bill, which was first introduced last month, will now go to the state Senate. It has six co-sponsors in addition to Swearingen and Cutrona, including five Republicans and one Democrat.

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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Ohio Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.











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