By Brandon Mintz SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Over 100 restaurants have signed up to take part in Onondaga County’s food voucher program, Keeping it Local. This was originally put in place in April to help local restaurants recover from the losses suffered due to the pandemic.
$400,000 worth of vouchers went on sale today to the general public, with an additional $75,000 tomorrow for those ages 65 and older. Owner of Pronto Fresh Luciana Mari has had her restaurant take part in Keeping It Local for all three rounds, something she thinks has been well worth it.
“I think it’s a great program that the country has created, it brings light to a lot of the downtown business, its free advertising and I think a lot of people like that incentive of buying a gift certificate and getting the double amount.”
Pronto Fresh was forced to close for six months due to COVID-19, with sales still down 70% of what they usually were. According to Mari, remote work has kept people away from their restaurant, but Keeping it Local has made an effort to get them back.
“Any business is good business, I do think it’s a good incentive and it brings awareness to downtown which I think is struggling right now with businesses not really having many people there.”
When this program is not in season, Mari says they have had to make some adjustments to adapt to the ever changing COVID rules.
“We do a lot of curbside pickup, more delivery than we did before. It used to mostly walk in but there is a big increase in delivery.”
If you would have tried getting a voucher just a few hours after the promotion started, this is what you would have seen on the website of the Onondaga County Office of Economic Development.
For a full list of local restaurants that participated in this round of Keeping it Local click here.