Grants of up to $5,000 through the Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund


Empire State Development (ESD), the NYS economic development agency, launched the Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund, through which eligible New York State full-service restaurants can receive reimbursement grants of up to $5,000 to help adjust their operations to the impacts of COVID-19 and adhere to NYS health and safety measures during the winter months when outdoor dining is limited.


Restaurants can be considered for funding and apply to the Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund through the application portal. The initiative will be implemented by the non-profit National Development Council (NDC). To qualify for the program, an establishment must:

  • Be full-service restaurants (NAICS code 722511), or establishments engaged in providing food services and meals served by waiter/waitress; and establishments providing take out or grab and go food services due to COVID-19 restrictions;

  • Have no more than $3 million in 2019 revenue;

  • Have been in operation on or before March 1, 2019;

  • Certify and demonstrate that they have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19

  • Franchises are not eligible


Allowable Uses of Grant funds must be from September 1, 2020 onward and include:

  • COVID-19-related Improvements/equipment that will allow the business to comply with social distancing guidelines, and/or expand take-out/delivery operations, or accommodate outdoor dining (e.g., plexiglass barriers/partitions, signage promoting social distancing/hygiene protocols, heaters, heat lamps, weatherization upgrades, insulated delivery bags).

  • Improvements that will allow the business to continue operating through the winter months (e.g., filtration system upgrades, food heaters to maintain temperature for to-go orders).

  • Purchase of PPE and sanitation supplies.

  • COVID-19 related business improvements like patio heaters or contactless technology.


To apply, applicants will need the following required documents:

  • List and proof of eligible reimbursable COVID-19 response related expenses incurred since 9/1/2020 (If a capital expense please include receipts for equipment, labor and/or construction

  • Current Government-issued photo ID for every owner of 20% or more

  • 2019 Federal Business Tax Returns

  • 2020 Year-to-Date Income Statement

  • Copy of SLA License (if applicable)

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