PRINCETON — Gibson County Visitors and Tourism Commission is allocating $50,000 to help Gibson County restaurants.

Thursday, Gibson County Visitors and Tourism, Inc. discussed ways to assist in regard to the impact COVID-19 is having on the county.

While a few ideas were discussed, the group decided a grant program would be the most straight- forward approach.

Gibson County Visitors and Tourism Executive Director Eric Heidenreich said the message he was getting from sources in the county was these businesses need relief now.

While there may be other forms of assistance coming in the future, such as help from the government, he said those could take longer to arrive.

“We wanted to do something that would have a real, immediate impact,” Heidenreich said.

Following discussion Thursday, Stanley Madison made a motion to earmark $50,000 for a grant program to assist “hospitality partners,” specifically restaurants which are owned and operated in Gibson County by Gibson County residents.

The grant funds could help with expenses related to utility bills or other immediate needs the business faces. The program was approved by the board, with Candy Yancey and Jeff Cook abstaining from the vote.

Heidenreich said though the program is set up now to help local restaurants, they don’t rule out the possibility of additional programs in the future for some of the other areas impacted.

He said there are a lot of unknowns, so the extent of shutdowns could be a factor in potential additional programs.

Details of the grant program will be worked out by GCVT staff and executive officers with a rollout as soon as possible, pending approval from the county attorney.

The request from the GCVT, Inc. was taken to the GCVT Commission, which also approved it.

Qualifying restaurants must be located in Gibson County and be owned by a resident of Gibson County. The GCVT finance committee will review all applications.

Other business:

All other agenda items, including sponsorship requests and reports, were tabled until the April 16 meeting, with the time and location to be announced at a later date.

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