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Tulsa Downtown Coordinating Council Gets CARES Act Money to Help Businesses Expand Outdoors

Matt Trotter

Tulsa’s Downtown Coordinating Council has received $675-,000 in coronavirus relief funding to help businesses offer more outdoor space.

The money comes from Tulsa County’s allocation of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act funding. DCC Executive Director Brian Kurtz said while the City of Tulsa is waiving permit fees for businesses that want to temporarily expand to sidewalks, parking spaces and other rights of way, it may still cost them something to buy materials and other items to ready the spaces for patrons.

"The business community is stretched very, very thin. So , we wanted to be able to provide a resource in addition to having these fees waived that provide an opportunity for a business to implement these at no or extremely limited cost to them," Kurtz said.

Despite the state declaring it’s fully reopen and a local mask mandate, businesses are still seeing fewer customers than they did before the pandemic.

"They are taking extraordinary precautions to create safe environments indoors, but we still — they’re hearing directly from people that they would prefer outdoor dining. And oftentimes, the larger wait is for outdoor dining areas," Kurtz said.

The DCC will provide $10,000 grants for businesses looking to set up a parklet, sidewalk café or street dining. Applications will be available next week.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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