It's been a long six months for bars and restaurants. First dealing with closures in March, followed by opening back up with restrictions. And now, facing another hurdle, being closed back down again, due a rapid increase in positive tests for coronavirus cases across the state and especially in six Iowa counties. The good news is that relief is on the way.

Last week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds' Disaster Emergency Proclamation closed bars in six area "hot spots" including Blackhawk, Dallas, Linn, Johnson, Polk and Story counties. As reported by Iowa's News Now, during her news conference on Wednesday, Reynolds announced she is reopening the state's Small Business Relief Program. One-time grants of $10,000 will be available to qualifying bars that were forced to close and restaurants facing new restrictions.

Some Iowa bars have had to take drastic measures to stay open including "Go Fund Me" pages:

The closures and restrictions are based in the capitol city and in college towns, where much of the blame for the spike in Covid-19 cases was placed upon the return of students to college campuses. The Iowa Restaurant Association and bar owners were hoping for other measures to be taken like temporarily raise the drinking age. However, Reynolds stood by her proclamation, telling reporters that she "ultimately made the decision based on data showing large crowds congregating in bars with no social distancing were linked to the surge." In her news conference, Reynolds gave this caveat to bar/restaurant owners:

"We will continue to review the data every day and every week. And hopefully, we'll start to see that change," Reynolds said. "I think as we get toward the end of the week, we'll start to hopefully see those mitigation efforts help. And we'll be able to dial back some of those restrictions. But if we don't, I'm going to have to take a look at maybe if we need to do it in other areas, or there's other steps that we need to take."

From April through early July, nearly $85 millions dollars was been paid out to businesses over three funding phases, offering small businesses grants ranging from $5,000-$25,000. The current proclamation runs for a 26 day period, which may or may not be extended, or less likely, be ended early. Is $10,000 enough to help effected bars and restaurants get through this time period?

Iowa's News Now

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