Longview Restaurants Struggle After Not Qualifying For COVID Relief | Local company

Two long-standing Longview restaurants were unable to receive government assistance during the pandemic to stay afloat. One closed last week and the other is in trouble.

The now defunct Creekside cafe, as well as the American and Chinese restaurant Regent, have not received COVID-19 government assistance, according to business owners.

In an era when the state required businesses to shut down or limit their capacity, owners with short operating histories or the inability to open physical locations during the pandemic found themselves with few options to receive cash. government money to keep the doors open.

Two Longview restaurants continue to fight heavy state fines for defying restrictions to protect customers from COVID-19.

“Everyone gets help except me”

Regent owner Linda Chau said she could not receive any government funds to cover the cleanup and restoration of her roughly 17-year-old business in 2020 because the business was not operating during repairs.

The pandemic has created a perfect storm of problems for the classically trained Chinese cook.

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At 58, Chau said she was looking to retire when she rented out the restaurant building and sold equipment and the name to new owners in February 2019. In September 2020, months of unpaid rent followed. forced Chau to take over the business, she said.

Chau found herself with 14 months of no income while cleaning and renovating the building to reopen the restaurant in June and the bar and dance floor in August. At one point, ankle-deep water filled the restaurant’s dance hall due to a broken water pipe, creating damage that is still being repaired today, she added. During the shutdown for renovations, Chau said she could not receive government support such as potentially forgivable paycheck protection program loans because she had no employees.

If the pandemic had not happened, Chau said she believed she would continue to receive rent payments from new landlords whose business had not faltered. Now she finds herself with a business through a tough time to sell a restaurant or make money.

“The last two years have been the most difficult of my life,” said Chau. “Looks like everyone’s getting help except me.”






regent dance hall

Regent’s owner Linda Chau turns on the lights inside her restaurant’s dance hall on November 29 in Longview. Chau said she was still working with a contractor to repair water damage from a pipe that burst in space in 2019.


Hayley’s Day



Funding

Asking for government help during the pandemic did not automatically reward business money. The number of employees and revenues, as well as the affected business start-up dates, who received the government money available from approximately March 2020 through the spring of 2021.

According to a June poll by the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Government, 41% of those polled say they have applied for the Federal Paycheck Protection Program, but only 37% have received money since March 2020. 31% said they applied to the state’s Working Washington Small program. Business Grants, but only 24% had received the grant during the same period.

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Cowlitz Economic Development Council vice-chairman Lindsey Cope said the council granted around $ 6 million from March 2020 to early summer 2021 through government and private funds. Private grants have helped businesses that did not meet more stringent government requirements, such as operating before the pandemic, as new businesses need help as well, she added.

“You can’t discourage a business from opening up,” Cope said. “They are always a valued part of our economy, of our community. “

Danielle Rowley said her short ownership of Creekside Cafe prevented her from qualifying for Paycheck Protection Program loans, which were offered three times from April 2020 through May 2021. Although the US Small Business Administration reports that 74% of Washington state’s small business payroll was covered by paycheck protection program funding, Rowley said up to 14 employees were not included.

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Creekside Cafe was in operation for about two decades before Rowley took over in August 2020. It expanded to the neighboring space to offer event rentals in the fall, then closed permanently on November 30, a she declared.

Rowley said she was eligible for a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund, but was not given any money until the federal option ran out. ‘silver. Rowley said she still faces thousands of dollars in state fines for defying inside-state catering restrictions COVID-19, which she says has helped keep her business at flow.

Rowley also attributes the recent roadblocks that led to her restaurant’s closure to the pandemic. Rowley said she faced delays in hiring staff, receiving a liquor license and scheduling contractors to renovate the event space, which kept her from opening the restaurant and catching up his late rent.

Rowley said she applied for countless loans and grants, but none were successful.

“Unfortunately, we have slipped into loopholes that no one has really thought about,” she said.

Rowley is not alone. The results of the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Government’s 2021 survey show that 70% of those polled said their businesses had been adversely affected by the pandemic, and 8% said they expected they close permanently.

“Light at the end”

Of 12 sources businesses turned to for help with the council’s investigation, friends or family came in eighth.






The

The Regent’s “War Wonton Soup” includes homemade dumplings, shrimp, barbecue pork, beef, chicken and vegetables.


Linda Chau, contributed


Chau received holiday decorating help on Nov. 29 at the Regent from two of his longtime friends: Washington State Senator Jeff Wilson, R-Longview and his wife, Trisha. Chau first met the couple about a decade ago, she said, when the Wilson’s owned a portable sanitation business next to her Oregon sports bar.

Senator Wilson has shown himself open to state restrictions in the event of a pandemic, including co-sponsoring a short-lived bill during the 2021-2022 legislative session to allow businesses to open earlier than the state plan.

Wilson said Washington State Governor Jay Inslee wide use of the emergency powers of the State, who have been in place since February 2020, hurts businesses because oversight removes the checks and balances and the opinions of other elected officials on how to help. Wilson said companies should not be tasked with enforcing state COVID-19 emergency rules, such as requiring certain employees to be vaccinated.






Regent taco salad

Regent’s Taco Salad stacks shredded lettuce, seasoned ground beef, tomatoes, onions and black olives in a tortilla bowl, and is topped with cheese, sour cream and salsa.


Linda Chau, contributed


Chau’s business is suffering because of “complications with COVID” and “no fault of her own,” said Wilson, kneeling next to Chau on Nov. 29 as she sat in a Regent booth and her eyes filled with tears. Without ending Inslee’s primordial powers, Wilson said hope for business in Washington is hard to see as other voices are excluded.

“We want our local businesses to survive,” he said. “For every tunnel we enter, there must be light at the end. “