Statewide grant for restaurant tents, heating still available

Round 2 of funding was to open Nov. 30

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Gov. Jared Polis, in partnership with the Colorado Restaurant Association and Xcel Energy, announced that applications are open for the Winter Outdoor Grant Program, an effort to help restaurants “winterize” outdoor space for dining, according to a news release.

Round 1 of grant applications has closed, and round 2 was to open on Nov. 30, according to the Colorado Restaurant Association, an organization that supports the state's foodservice industry. Applications that were not funded in round 1 were automatically moved to round 2 — the association asked restaurants not to resubmit existing applications.

To apply, visit the website for the grant.

Only Colorado-based restaurants are eligible, and food and beverage service must be their primary operation, according to the association. Restaurants must be located in Colorado and be majority-owned by Colorado residents. See the link above for more information.

In mid-October, Polis was joined by the association and restaurateurs to discuss ways to support local restaurants during the pandemic, according to the news release.

“The restaurant industry is critical to the economic health of the State of Colorado, and it's vital to the well-being of our local communities,” Polis said in the release. He added: “I hope the public join me in supporting restaurants this winter, perhaps by experiencing these unique winter outdoor dining concepts, or by dining out or ordering takeout or delivery.”

The grant program was made possible by Xcel Energy Foundation and Xcel Energy, which made a $500,000 contribution to the Colorado Restaurant Association Foundation to help support local restaurants through the winter season. In addition to that donation, they also committed to matching donations of $50,000 — up to an additional $250,000 — for every $500,000 raised for the Colorado Restaurant Association Foundation. That's a possible total contribution of $750,000 from the Xcel Energy Foundation and Xcel Energy, one of the largest gifts the company has made in its history, according to the news release.

To donate to the program, scroll a quarter of the way down the page here.

Grant funds can be used toward design, construction, applicable fees and supplies such as tents, heaters and other expenses related to updating space to suit outdoor diners in cold weather.

Grants can be made only for certain expenses, which include but are not limited to the following:

• Architectural or design fees

• Construction materials and contractor fees

• Tents

• Heaters and/or heating equipment or expenses related to heating

• Furniture

• Lighting

• Snow removal

• Safety measures and equipment

• Cold-weather gear for staff or patrons

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