Sports news blog Barstool Sports announced a half-a-million-dollar fund they created to support small businesses struggling to keep the doors open as rigid pandemic restrictions force them to reduce capacity or shut down altogether.
The website’s founder Dave Portnoy, who has been critical of politicians ordering businesses to close down and essentially forcing them to go out of business.
“What do they think is going to happen? What do they think is going to happen to the thousands of restaurants, the bars? They’re done! The bar and restaurant industry, small businesses, have been squeezed and squeezed and squeezed.”
If the politicians aren’t going to help small businesses, Portnoy will. On Thursday he announced the formation of “The Barstool Fund,” which will help small businesses stay alive until the government offers relief.
“We’ve come up with a plan. Is it the best plan? No. The best plan is the government getting off their a** and issuing relief, billions of dollars to these small business owners who are losing their livelihoods,” Portnoy said in a video on Twitter. “That’s the solution. That’s the only solution really — but barring that, we’re going to do whatever we can.”
Portnoy said the fund was modeled after his cameraman’s father Frankie’s restaurant, who has made it a policy to pay his employee’s salaries despite being shuttered off and on during the pandemic.
“The requirement is: your payroll has to be on; you’re employees have to still be getting paid. So, if you meet that, and you’re a small business that’s been around for a little bit, or maybe not, but [if it’s a] gym, restaurant, bar, and you’re not going to be able to survive the next couple of months, send us an email.”
Portnoy said the fund will send approved businesses monthly checks until the shutdowns are over, committing to raising more money through fundraising platforms, or personally paying it himself if he has to.
“We are going to try to save as many businesses, small businesses as we can. Keep the employees getting paid, keep the owners in business, till this thing is over, and hopefully, we can save as many small businesses as humanly possible,” Portnoy concluded.
Frankie’s restaurant is the first business that has been approved to be supported by the fund.
Introducing The Barstool Fund
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) December 17, 2020