SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)– On Monday, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon announced that another round of Keeping It Real voucher program will start up again on Thursday for businesses.
The last time this was done was in April and leftover funds from that round launched another one in June. These vouchers are meant to help local businesses earn a little extra money post quarantine. According to the Onondaga County Executive Economic Development website, more than 200 restaurants already signed up to participate in this round of vouchers. Fair Deli is not on this list as of yet but according to co-owner Zach Marji, they participated in the first round because of the traction it developed.
“We did end up participating just due to us seeing it all over social media,” Marji said. “And it sparked our interest that way…so I thought it would be a good thing to be a part of and especially as a way to bring in business of course.”
According to the Onondaga County Executive Economic Development, in order for businesses to be reimbursed, they have to email the gift card receipt, along with a copy of the voucher or the voucher number that is written on the receipt. Marji said that the voucher program needs a little more work, which is why he is on the fence about participating in this round.
“There were some flaws in the actual program that I saw,” Marji said. “How would I know if that code had been used before because there was no database for me to go into like on their website there was nothing for me to enter that code on to see if it’s been used before.”
Fair Deli is a family-owned business and manager Murad Marji, Zach’s father, is not opposed to the program but like his son, thinks it needs some fine-tuning. Marji said that he thinks the vouchers need to be completely paperless.
“Do it all electronically,” Marji said. “We are in an electronic age, let’s do it all electronically and it is a great idea.”
Vouchers can’t exceed $100 and businesses who already signed up can opt-out and make changes to their business listing at any time. On Nov 10. the county will donate 1,000 $25 vouchers to Clear Path For Veterans, which is geared towards providing resources to veterans. On Nov 11. at noon the vouchers will be available for the general public to purchase. Each person is allowed up to four vouchers. According to McMahon, this round will issue $400,000 worth of vouchers.