BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Food is a must in Louisiana, but already several restaurants in Louisiana closed during the pandemic.
However, there is hope for restaurants with a new grant that may help keep restaurant doors open. Well-known restaurants like the Pastime say they have seen the struggles this year.
“Well, we’re ready for the crowd to come in, it’s 11:30, we’ll see,” says owner Randy Wesley as he looks at the door hoping more customers will come in than the day before.
For 75 years, Pastime has been serving up some of the most classic meals in Baton Rouge, but this year has been very different. For them, staying afloat is now second nature.
“As it started to drag on me, and my friends got together we started talking there was only two avenues. You either fight for what you have, you hang on, you do whatever you possibly can or give up…file bankruptcy and walk away from it,” adds Wesley
Wesley refused to see that happen. Now, with a new restaurant grant coming in, it may turn things around.
“It gets overwhelming, this grant will allow us to pay for some of the things we need for the daily operations while allowing us to use our revenues that we’re making. To actually pay off some of our debt and catch up because a lot of us have gotten in the whole deep because of it.”
Restaurant owners can use this money to pay their workers, utility bills, along with food and beverages. The Louisiana Restaurant Association says these type of grants are needed in order to keep moving forward.
“So, these federal programs, these relief programs have really been amazing lifelines. We know that we’ve lost 10% to 20% of restaurants and bars in Louisiana already. We know we’ve done that over the last year,” says Stan Harris who is the president and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association.
The Small Business Administration is hoping to get this application live, by the end of April.
Click here to report a typo.