TUCSON (KVOA) - The next time you visit Downtown Tucson it may look a little different, that's because two new grants are helping businesses with the challenges they have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Downtown Tucson Partnership along with Pima County have partnered together to give these businesses the opportunity to apply for money to help re-open safely as well as add to or improve their shops.
The Downtown Outdoor Café Grant provides up to $5,000 for businesses to build, expand or enhance outdoor areas while the Downtown Rebound Grant Program gives up to $2,000 to offset costs from COVID-19 expenses.
"We wanted to provide funding to help people build out or expand their cafes so they could not only survive but actually thrive," said Kathleen Eriksen, President and CEO of Downtown Tucson Partnership.
With spaces limited in restaurants due to the pandemic, adding outdoor seating will allow them to bring in more customers.
So far there have been over 30 applications from businesses between the two grants.
"We can significantly expand our seating, we can provide social distancing for people and we can make sure that everyone can eat in a safe environment," said Dana Padilla, Owner of Urban Fresh.
Some businesses like Urban Fresh, Café 54 and Raptor Canyon Cafe have decided to work with each other to create a larger outdoor area that benefits all three of them.
Neither of these loans need to be paid back, in fact, businesses can even get an approval of their purchases before they spend any money.
"People are responding quickly and we're working quick as a bunny to get these grants processed and get the money out," said Eriksen.
Pima County's partnership with DTP will act as a model to use in other business districts in the county.