ELK RIVER -- Sherburne County has expanded its COVID Relief Fund for restaurants and bars to include purchases of outdoor equipment.

The Sherburne County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to make more money available to businesses in the struggling sector. The grants are intended to help restaurants and bars cover the costs of expanding capacity while complying with public safety rules and best practices.

In May, Sherburne County created the COVID-19 Outdoor Capacity Fund to reimburse restaurants and bars for the costs of renting tents and patio equipment. Commissioners today added a provision that includes a one-time 50/50 match, up to $1,000, on purchases of outdoor equipment.

Qualifying businesses are also eligible for up to $1,000 a month in reimbursement for costs to rent eligible items. Businesses must show receipts in order to qualify for reimbursement.

Corporate-owned restaurants are not eligible for this program. Other expenses not reimbursed by the fund include food and beverage costs, cooking equipment, personnel expenses and taxes.

Grant applications are available on the Sherburne County website.

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