Tuscaloosa City Council to consider $400k in economic relief for bar owners

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — In a council finance meeting, Tuscaloosa city councilors voted unanimously to move forward with up to $400,000 to the small business relief fund for bar owners in the city. The full council will vote on the relief funds on September 15.

The goal is to get this money to eligible business owners as quickly as possible. In a council finance committee meeting Tuesday, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox presented his proposal for economic relief for bar owners. The council voted unanimously to move forward with the proposed plan.

In a mandate from the mayor, all bars in Tuscaloosa are shut down for two weeks. The mandated closures expire on September 8. Maddox said he will consider extending the current bar closure mandate Friday, September 4, in the afternoon. He said his decision will be based largely on the University of Alabama’s COVID-19 numbers. The university releases updates for COVID-19 cases every Friday.

The money will come from the Restart Tuscaloosa fund. In early August, the council approved $1 million dollars in funding for local businesses struggling from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Information surrounding how to apply and eligibility for the $400,000 relief money will be released Monday.

If passed, councilors said they are looking to be able to vet business and disperse funds by September 18. Up to $400,000 in funds will be available, but it is not required for all funds to be used.

Councilors also said each individual business will not have a cap on how much money it can receive. Each application will be handled on a case by case basis. A committee will be created to vet businesses and decide which ones will receive funds and how much.


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