Business owners await governor’s signature of bill that includes $180M for hospitality, tourism industries

Texas Restaurant Association worked with several organizations to add hospitality and tourism grant funding to Senate Bill 8

Senate Bill 8 includes $180 million for hospitality and tourism industry

SAN ANTONIO – Thousands of restaurants, theaters and other businesses in Texas impacted by the pandemic could be getting money thanks to a grant program in the works.

The Texas Legislature added $180 million to support local hospitality and tourism businesses into Senate Bill 8, the federal pandemic relief bill.

Blanca Aldaco, the owner of Aldaco’s Restaurant in Stone Oak, said this hospitality and tourism grant program in the works couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Everything is on the rise, including all the way from protein to the containers for our food to go,” Aldaco said.

Aldaco said her business continues to feel the impact of the pandemic.

“Our business is definitely down. We’re down about 30% ever since the pandemic started,” Aldaco said.

One of the ways Aldaco said she would use money from the grant would be to pay the restaurant’s licenses.

“I feel that many of the businesses that are still open, they’re going to use it to continue to do, like, advertising -- think of ways how to lure new clients, think of ways how to control their costs,” Aldaco said.

Dawn Ann Larios, the executive director for the Texas Restaurant Association West Region, said many restaurants are still struggling.

“Beef has gone up, fats and oils. Eggs are up. Processed poultry is up. Flour is up. You name it. The prices have increased astronomically and so our restaurants still need help,” Larios said.

The Texas Restaurant Association worked with many organizations to add hospitality and tourism grant funding to Senate Bill 8.

“Every little bit helps, and we’re not going to stop until our restaurants get through this pandemic,” Larios said.

Larios said they are now waiting for the governor to sign this bill to learn more about how the funding will be distributed.

“This money ... is not going to bring back many of the businesses that have already closed down, but it will definitely be very impactful for those businesses that are still open,” Aldaco said.

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