coronavirus pandemic

Miami-Dade Restaurant Owners Growing Frustrated Waiting for CARES Act Funds

Restaurant owners hit hard by the pandemic say Miami-Dade county officials are moving slow to disperse CARES ACT funds.

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Miami-Dade County restaurant owners hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic say county officials are moving slow to disperse CARES ACT funds.

Several restaurant owners on Giralda Avenue in Coral Gables applied in August and say they have not received a penny.

"It’s just a lot of waiting game and not knowing how much longer we can withstand this," said Carmen Mallea, owner of The Local Craft Food & Drink.

According to the county, $30 million dollars have been set aside for restaurant relief.

As of October 8th, 885 restaurant owners applied and 14 have received the funds.

County officials say 142 applications have been moved to the funding process, and more than 500 restaurants were missing documentation.

"How long is this gunna take," said Steve Bradley, owner of Clutch Burger. "I know they’re trying to help out, but Jesus! Is it real? Like we are losing hope."

Although the recent announcement to move the county's curfew to midnight is helpful for some restaurants, many owners say it won’t be enough to bounce back from weeks of COVID closures.

"It’s the same theme, it’s just this level of incompetence. 48 hours to shut your restaurant which was completely avoidable to do things like that and then the solution and support that’s provided takes over 2 months to come out," said Nicholas Sharp, owner of Threefold Cafe.

Restaurants have received help from other grants like the South Beach Wine & Food Festival Industry Relief Fund, but the cash went directly to employees.

"We got the money and it felt like Christmas handing it out to them, we felt great doing it, but that doesn't help us pay our bills, rent, which is what the hospitality industry grant was intended to do," said Bradley.

In a statement, the county said in part, "Please understand that the review and verification of the applications is a long and tedious process. We are moving through the review very thoroughly."

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