Bruno’s Pizza modifies restaurant to help reduce the spread of COVID-19

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 4:59 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Upgrading for COVID-19 prevention is not cheap.

The Department of Commerce has distributed $12 million to businesses across the state to help pay for those modifications via the Economic Resiliency Grant.

But it doesn’t always cover the whole cost.

The state received $66 million through the CARES Act for this grant and by the Aug. 28 deadline, the Department of Commerce had received almost $100 million worth of grant requests.

When the business owner of Bruno’s Pizza, Brandon Ralph, applied for the Economic Resiliency Grant, he made sure to only ask for the amount he needed.

“We were able to kind of really handpick the areas that we felt we were lacking in and really be able to kind of ramp that area up, to protect our customers and employees,” said Ralph.

Ralph not only purchased numerous forms of PPE, ranging from masks and safety glasses, but he also bought four temperature scanning kiosks.

“It tells you red or green. Red, your temperature’s higher than 100.3. Green is, ‘hey, come in and enjoy your dining experience,’” said Ralph.

While Ralph said the grant money received was enough for his business, that hasn’t been the case for all businesses.

Commerce officials said some businesses have applied more than once.

“They have, but they’re technically not supposed to. So, when that happens we immediately communicate with them on how to mitigate that double application so that they’re still eligible, but we just want to make sure that nobody double dips,” said North Dakota Department of Commerce Economic Development and Finance Director James Leiman.

However, Leiman said if there are more rounds of funding, they’ll invite people to apply again. Eligible businesses were awarded up to $50,000, and those with multiple locations received up to $100,000.

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