KS relief fund could help restaurants, bars that operate on small scale but mean big to community

Posted at 5:39 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 18:40:44-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — When Carlos Falcon learned coronavirus restrictions meant he would have to scale back business at his restaurant, Jarocho, his first thought wasn't about the money.

"This is just money. We can always bounce back," Falcon said. "We want to be healthy. We want to protect our customers, we want to protect our crew."

Falcon changed the game in Kansas City when it comes to Mexican seafood at his unassuming blue shack on Kansas Avenue, and he wants to continue serving the people in the midst of these uncertain times.

Jarocho, like most other restaurants, switched to a pick-up service for the time being after the health officials restricted sit-down service.

"As long as we have the passion and the desire and the health, we can go through everything, anything," said Falcon.

In downtown KCK, Chips and Coins is a bodega that has become a staple in the area.

"It’s very important because a lot of senior citizens don’t have transportation. They don’t go out past a couple blocks," Co-owner Maria Lopez said.

They do free deliveries if you're in a two-mile radius. They always deliver food free to the Cross Lines Towers Apartments, where many seniors live.

"We're trying to keep our staff busy so that we don't have to lay anybody off. So far we have been able to maintain a full staff," Lopez said.

In the service industry, many workers eat where they work. They depend on tips and full tables.

Friday, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly designated $5 million dollars for a Hospitality Industry Relief Emergency Fund.

Much of the fund, $2 million, is for the Kansas City metro, including Johnson, Wyandotte, Shawnee and Douglas counties.

Businesses can apply for up to a $20,000 one-time loan with three years interest-free.

The money can be used for things such as utilities, lease payments, payroll and inventory.

The fund could be a helping hand to an already strong group of entrepreneurs.

"As long as we're healthy humans, we are very resilient so we can always bounce back," Falcon said.