Some Erie County lawmakers propose using CARES Act funding to help restaurants extend outdoor dining

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(WIVB) – With colder weather on the way, Erie County lawmakers want to take preventative measures to keep restaurants running.

On Thursday, the county legislature’s minority caucus proposed using CARES Act funding to help extend outdoor dining.

The resolution asks for $1 million to be allocated to help restaurant owners buy heating equipment or offset labor to expanded heated outdoor spaces.

Chairwoman April Baskins said she supports the legislation, but more details need to be worked out.

“I know the residents of Erie County that are restaurant owners are in desperate need right now to keep their necks above water,” Baskins said. “What I need to know is more about the amount of CARES Act funding that we have available to support such an initiative.”

The county legislature did say that Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is asking for the legislature to shift its focus for CARES Act funding to helping small businesses.

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