Breckenridge to give out $1.1 million in COVID-19 relief
Funding to support restaurant owners and employees impacted by level red restrictions
BRECKENRIDGE — The town of Breckenridge has decided to provide $1 million in restaurant and employee rent relief plus $75,000 for child care.
The funds, which will be rolled out next week, will be given to restaurant owners, child care centers and the Family & Intercultural Resource Center to distribute to Breckenridge employees to help with hardships created by the prohibition of indoor dining at restaurants under level red on the state’s COVID-19 dial.
At the Breckenridge Town Council work session Tuesday, Nov. 24, Town Manager Rick Holman advised the council to provide relief to restaurants, which is the industry most impacted by the level red restrictions. Holman said restaurants are the town’s largest employee sector after lodging. He recommended a restaurant owner be given a maximum of $5,000 to help pay their rent or mortgage. The amount given depends on the restaurant’s monthly mortgage or rent payment, which Holman said ranges from less than $1,000 to $21,000 with a median of about $6,100.
Council member Jeffrey Bergeron made a case for preserving restaurants in the community and said there were very few restaurants in town years ago.
“I just think restaurants, the mix of businesses, add to the vitality of our community, so I want to keep these guys afloat,” Bergeron said.
Council members agreed on Holman’s recommendation. Mayor Eric Mamula and council member Dick Carleton sat out the discussion because they both own restaurants in town.
To receive aid, restaurant owners would need to apply, and the money would go directly to the landlord or bank. To qualify, the business must be a restaurant or bar in the town of Breckenridge that is closed to in-person dining or an arcade closed by the public health order. Unlike rent relief provided in the spring, businesses do not have to demonstrate that they have discussed rent reduction or deferment with their landlord and relief does not depend on the number of employees. The application will open Monday, Nov. 30, on the town’s website.
The $1 million in rent relief will be split 50/50 between restaurants and the nonprofit resource center, which will use the money to provide rental assistance to employees who can prove that they’ve lost their job or that their income has been reduced due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Holman said the money will be geared toward employees who work in Breckenridge. Assistant Town Manager Shannon Haynes said the resource center will provide as much as $850 per person for rental relief, which will go directly to the landlord. A second month of assistance can be given to people who qualify if there is money left.
Carleton suggested a requirement that an employee has lived in the community for six months or has signed a yearlong lease. Council agreed with the recommendation, and Haynes said she would ask officials at the nonprofit whether the requirement would be a barrier for people.
The town also decided to give $75,000 to town child care facilities with $50,000 going toward covering COVID-19 related expenses. The remaining $25,000 will going toward families that have had pay reductions due to COVID-19 and covering the costs associated with closures of child care centers, as families are not reimbursed when there is a classroom or school closure.
Going forward, council member Kelly Owens said she wants to discuss a longer term plan for money that can be given out if restrictions drag on. Holman said if the town needs to discuss another round of relief, staff will bring fund balance numbers to council.
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