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Grants buoy Vienna’s Crepe Amour and other restaurants as they prepare for restrictions to lift

A crepe restaurant in Vienna and other businesses are easing into changes as Virginia lifts public health restrictions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issuing new mask guidance for fully vaccinated people, Virginia has eased its mask mandate, and major retailers like Starbucks and Walmart have also lifted restrictions in stores, but businesses can still impose restrictions.

For the safety of customers and staff, Crepe Amour (407 Maple Ave. E.) in Vienna is still requiring people to mask up.

“You can’t declare a victory before you get to the finish line,” the restaurant’s owner, Sri Suku, told Tysons Reporter.

His business shut down in late March 2020 and reopened in June.

Suku says grants have helped businesses like his survive during the pandemic.

Crepe Amour is one of nine Fairfax County restaurants that recently received a $3,500 grant from the food ordering app DoorDash and the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association, which represents the state’s hospitality industry.

The VRLTA’s 2021 DoorDash Restaurant Operator Relief Grant program gave a total of $450,000 in grants to 128 businesses after over 690 restaurants in the state applied for relief.

The initiative is part of the tech company’s Main Street Strong Pledge philanthropy effort and did not require businesses to be a DoorDash partner to be eligible, the association said.

The grants were intended for restaurants that had their operations disrupted, saw reduced revenue, or experienced financial stress between March and December 2020. To be eligible, businesses had to have no more than three locations with 50 or fewer employees and annual gross revenue of $3 million or less for the specific location that was applying.

The other Fairfax County recipients were Pho 2000, Sully’s Pour House, and Herndon Donuts in Herndon, Reston’s Sprout Cafe, Mazadar Restaurant in Fairfax, and DC Steakholders and Meaza Ethiopian Restaurant in Falls Church.

Eight of the county recipients, including Crepe Amour, also got money from the Fairfax Relief Initiative to Support Employers that the Board of Supervisors established last year to give financial assistance to local businesses and nonprofits.

Suku has used the money for rent, marketing, and other expenses. He says the money is great to help stay afloat and especially helped the catering side of his operations with letting people know they’re back in business.

Under Gov. Ralph Northam’s current public health order, restaurants and other food service venues are limited to 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors, and different groups of patrons must be kept at least six feet apart. However, the state will end those and other capacity and distancing restrictions on May 28.

While Suku says mask requirements will remain in place, Crepe Amour currently allows outdoor seating, and he plans to reopen indoor seating when Virginia’s capacity and social distancing restrictions end on May 28.

Photo courtesy Sri Suku

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