North Texas City Gets Creative to Help Businesses Stay Afloat in COVID-19 Crisis

Some North Texas restaurants are looking for relief and hoping that can hold on until life gets back to normal

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Another weekend of shelter in place and slowed business is leaving some North Texas restaurants looking for relief and hoping that can hold on until life gets back to normal.

Across the region, cities are trying to help out and some, like Colleyville, are getting creative.

“We instituted a gift card program. We mailed each Colleyville household a $35 gift card and we have done that twice now,” Assistant City Manager Mark Wood explained. “The goal was to connect our two greatest resources – our residents and our businesses. So, we wanted to encourage our residents to shop local and to get them to use these gift cards at our local businesses.”

The city sent out 20,000 cards.

“They are called a 'To Go' card,” Wood said “So, as businesses have had to shift their businesses to more of a to-go style with the restrictions that are in place. We wanted to match that with our gift card program.”

Owners have already cashed in $77,000 worth of used cards to the city and according to Wood “mom and pop” restaurants have particularly benefited for the help.

“A local restaurant… a very popular restaurant turned their cards in and they said, ‘can I get my check this week? Can I get it Friday?’ You could kind of sense a little urgency in their voice,” Wood said. “We said absolutely we’ll cut the check by Friday. We’re fast tracking these checks and they said, ‘Thank you so much. This is going to help me pay my employees this week.’”

According to the Texas Restaurant Association, there are 50,000 restaurants in the state employing 1.4 million people. “We’re here to help our businesses in any way we can. We do that during regular time as a city, but especially during these uncertain times with the coronavirus,” Woods said. “We’re here to do whatever we can to help them out.”

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