The Albany Restaurant Association is calling on the state to expand eligibility for the “Restaurant Return to Work Tax Credit.”

Right now, only restaurants that were in orange or red zones earlier this year are eligible. That means that Albany County eateries cannot get the benefits.

Here’s how it works:

The $35 million program provides restaurants with a tax credit of $5,000 for each new hire. This applies for up to 10 new employees.  

Restaurant owners could use the credit to offer different incentives to potential hires.

The restaurant also needs to provide proof of COVID-related losses and the hiring of new employees.

The president of the Albany Restaurant Association says the eligibility criteria is not fair, because even restaurants outside of those micro-cluster zones were still severely impacted by the pandemic restrictions.