Applications open for bar, restaurant assistance; Merrick closes temporarily

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state’s web site launched Monday for bars and restaurants to apply for financial assistance.

During his daily briefing Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on the $40 million Team Kentucky Food and Beverage Relief Fund. The application opened Monday.

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More than 2,200 applications had been submitted, requesting nearly $19 million in aid.

“Our team of application processors is working diligently on each claim. They have been training and preparing for weeks to make sure we can help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible,” said Gov. Beshear.

“That’s nowhere near what we’ve reserved,” Beshear said of the applications so far for the $40 million the state has set aside in federal funds. “It’s not close to making some of these businesses whole, but we hope it will help.”

The fund — www.teamkyfbrf.ky.gov — has been designed to provide one-time grant awards of up to $10,000 per restaurant or bar, with a maximum of $20,000 to a business entity that operates multiple restaurants and bars. These grants are to be used as a reimbursement for business expenses incurred between March 6 and Dec. 31, 2020.

Reimbursable expenses include items like: rent, employee salaries, health insurance costs, inventory and personal protective equipment. To check eligibility, or to apply, visit teamkyfbrf.ky.gov.

The opening of the applications comes as the Merrick Inn announced it would be closing for a period because of the impact of the new restrictions.

“It is with a heavy heart, we announce that the Merrick Inn will be closing curbside and patio dining until spring or until we receive some kind of relief from Governor Beshear’s mandates. We have exhausted every opportunity we know of to make this work. Our staff is our family and this is very hard for us to do. If we close now, we will be able to keep lights and heat on and save this 45-year-old business,” the business said in a social media post.

The restaurant is selling gift cards and it will announce “hours soon and online purchase available,” the Murray Family noted, adding “we will be doing raffles for bourbon and chef wine and dinner experiences.”