Erie County legislators propose using CARES Act funds toward outdoor dining

Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A group of Erie County legislators are proposing legislation to use CARES Act funding toward outdoor dining.

“The weather is starting to get colder and restaurants are still forced to operate at limited capacity under state restrictions,” Legislator Joe Lorigo says. “Many establishments have been able to safely accommodate customers through expanded outdoor seating, but that will become more difficult as the seasons change.”

The resolution calls for $1 million in funding to help restaurant owners buy supplies like heating equipment, or help them offset the cost of labor when expanding or heating an outdoor space.

A restaurant that’s interested in a cut of the money must have a plan to create, enhance or expand a heated outdoor dining site while maintaining restricted seating capacity and guidelines.

The resolution proposing the use of this money says there would be no impact on the county budget since only CARES Act funds would be used.

“This would be a win-win for restaurant owners and customers,” Legislator Ed Rath says. “We still have access to CARES Act funding and need to spend it by the end of the year.”

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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