Wisconsin restaurants to get $45 million in emergency relief, but not everyone is eligible

MADISON, Wis. – On Thursday morning, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced state restaurants would be getting $45 million dollars of relief, as a part of the federal CARES act.

The money will be given through a program called ‘We’re all in for restaurants’, which will be handled by the state’s Department of Revenue.

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association says they were informed of the funding late Wednesday night.

“It’s likely going to be a lifeline for a lot of restaurants to hopefully survive,” said WRA President and CEO Kristine Hillmer.

Still, not everyone will qualify. Hillmer says the money will only go to restaurants that made between $1 million and $7 million in revenue in 2019, which almost entirely erases the chance restaurants who’ve opened their doors in the last 18 months will see any help.

“Unfortunately, there’s no perfect program and they’re likely to fall through the cracks,” Hillmer said. “Which is really a shame, because as you’re starting up a restaurant, that’s where any cash that you can get is so critical. Unfortunately, they have to set the rules and guidelines somehow, and that’s how they set it.”

Hillmer says instead, the DOR has already identified roughly 2,000 restaurants throughout the state that are set to receive $20,000 between now and the 21st of December. Each restaurant getting money will simply have to prove they’ve been impacted by the pandemic in some way.

“This is a lifeline,” Hillmer said.

Hillmer says restaurants will be free to spend the money when and how they see fit.