CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Almost half of the small businesses that applied for COVID-relief grants from the City of Charlotte did not receive money, but records reveal some of those who did receive grants also received citations from the city for violating COVID-related orders.
City records show $25,000 in small business grants went to Hoppin'. The bar received a citation in September just days after a video showed a woman chugging beer straight from the tap.
The owner previously told WCNC Charlotte that Hoppin' permanently banned the customer and planned on adding more security "so this does not happen again." He called the behavior "not acceptable" and said it would not be tolerated.
More recently, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department confirmed police cited Selwyn Avenue Pub for "violation of the NC Governor's Orders." The Charlotte institution temporarily closed earlier this month.
City records show Selwyn Avenue Pub received a $25,000 grant.
Back in August, police said they cited Chasers Charlotte NoDa for violating COVID-related orders. CMPD also said the business received an ABC violation.
City records show Chasers Charlotte NoDa received a $10,000 grant.
City records show 360 Lounge Reloaded, King of Spicy, and Firehouse Bar & Lounge all received $10,000 grants. CMPD previously said all three were cited for ABC violations related to the department's COVID-19 enforcement efforts.
Just last week, the city announced $37 million in federal CARES Act money awarded to small businesses.
A city spokesperson said limited funding prevented the city from giving grants to every business that applied. Business owners who filled out the application provided the proper paperwork and qualified were among those eligible to be selected randomly for one of the grants, Media Relations Manager Cory Burkarth said.
"It's important to note that, as anticipated, both of these grants programs were both oversubscribed, so not every eligible applicant received an award due to limited funding," Burkarth said. "Between the two programs, $37,490,000 in CARES Act funding was available, and grants were $10K or $25K depending on the number of employees. 5,050 local businesses applied and 2,840 received awards. Finally, our customer service team worked closely with applicants to ensure their applications were complete and correct so they'd be ready if selected for review. However, some applicants still did not fully complete their applications or provide the required documentation, in which case they would not have been eligible for a grant."
Burkarth said COVID-related violations were not taken into consideration when deciding who received grants.
"The purpose of these funds is to support small businesses in our community who need the money," he said. "Small businesses are the economic backbone of our city and the city is proud that we’ve able to use this CARES Act money to help support small businesses and their employees."
He added the federal government did not issue any requirements prohibiting the city from giving grants to businesses cited for COVID-related violations.
"CMPD has been clear in its messaging surrounding its enforcement efforts, and it is our hope that all businesses across the city will do their part to keep their employees and customers safe during this pandemic," Burkarth said.