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Small businesses in Ohio still able to receive COVID-19 relief

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Posted at 10:08 PM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 06:30:44-04

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio  — While some businesses are bouncing back from the COVID-19 pandemic, others might need an extra hand to get back on track. That's why state lawmakers are reminding small businesses in Northeast Ohio that relief grants are still available to them.

With Gov. Mike DeWine signing Senate Bills 108 and 109 in May, millions of dollars in CARES Act money was delegated to Ohio businesses. $100 million was specified for bars and restaurants which will be given out in amounts of up to $30,000.

"Ten, twenty, thirty thousand is not really going to go that far when you think about it in the big scheme of things, but hopefully it's enough to get them over the hump and so that they can stay in business," said Rep. Marilyn John.

For Fred Vrabel, owner of Larchmere Tavern in Shaker Heights, those grants could be crucial to his business' survival.

"We are a family. And I think that's the thing that I'm most proud of," Vrabel said. "We have built relationships here that have lasted generations."

Vrabel has been struggling to keep Larchmere Tavern—a restaurant started by his late wife nearly 30 years ago—afloat during the pandemic.

He's turned to a GoFundMe account to make up for the $120,000 in lost sales last year, and so far has been able to raise more than $28,000.

'Donations are still rolling in. So we're going to keep it rolling as long as we can," Vrabel said.

Vrabel already applied for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund but was denied. But he's hoping he'll soon get some relief as the state re-reviews his application with the relief funds still available to small businesses like his.

"You have to be optimistic and you have to be strong and you have to keep pushing. And that's what we're going to do," Vrabel said.

Grants are also available on a first come, first served basis for entertainment venues, lodging events and new businesses that became available last year.

To apply for a grant, click here.

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