The National Trust for Historic Preservation has partnered with American Express to launch a new grants program that aims to help restaurants’ recovery from the COVID pandemic.

The mission of “Backing Historic Small Restaurants” is to award $1 million in grants to 25 historic restaurants throughout the United States to help improve, upgrade and preserve their exterior physical spaces and online businesses. 

“The program has a preference for restaurants owned by underrepresented groups, including people of color and women, who have often been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” states a press release circulated by the Key West Business Guild

The partnership is seeking nominations of “cozy cafes, delicious dives, and other beloved restaurants that have stood the test of time and served their communities for decades — but now are facing their biggest challenge yet from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the press release states. “Restaurant owners and restaurant lovers alike are encouraged to nominate their favorite business(es) for this opportunity by March 9.”

To be considered, restaurants must have a demonstrated financial hardship due to the pandemic. They must be at least 25 years old and must contribute to the community or neighborhood’s identity. They must be independently owned and located in a historic building or neighborhood.

 Priority will be given to small restaurants that have not already received significant COVID-19-related aid, the release states.

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