COVID-19 UPDATE: City offers funding to help continue outdoor dining

A $1 million reimbursement plan is now available for local businesses to enable outdoor dining in the coming winter months, the city and Visit Indy have announced.

The Ready for Winter grant program supplements the $11 million Hospitality Establishment Lifeline Payment grant program previously announced for local restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues.

City officials have allocated $1 million for establishments affected by COVID-19 public health orders to be reimbursed up to $2,500 for expenses related to winter preparedness during the pandemic. This includes, but is not limited to, the purchase of heaters, outdoor seating capacity, canopies, or other necessary personal protection equipment. The application for reimbursement opens Oct. 30 at and will be available until Nov. 20

“Outdoor seating continues to be the safest route for restaurants, bars, and venues,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said. “We want to help establishments make any adjustments they can to keep this practice going, and I encourage businesses owners to visit the site in advance of the application process to ensure they are fully prepared to take advantage of these funds.”

Added Leonard Hoops, president and CEO of Visit Indy, “Continued financial support is critical for our hospitality businesses to get through this pandemic – and the health of the hospitality industry is critical for the health of our economy. Our thanks to the City of Indianapolis for their partnership in this effort. We encourage our fellow residents to continue safely supporting Indy’s restaurants, bars, and live event venues as we all adjust to the changing seasons.”

The reimbursable grants funds can be used for purchases or rentals incurred and/or paid July 1 through Nov. 20. Applicants must meet the following criteria:

Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. A list of necessary documentation can be found at

The program is the latest in a series of city resources for local Indianapolis businesses, including the Dine Out Indy program, two rounds of Music Cities Recovery Grants for live venues, $11 million in HELP grants for the hospitality industry, and additional funding for PPE. Each was made possible through federal CARES Act funding passed by the City-County Council.