HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It’s a deal to entice diners. Buy food — and get half off?

That’s the campaign some Long Island merchants have launched to help restaurants and customers hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported Wednesday.

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It’s one day only. All you have to do is buy breakfast, lunch, or dinner and submit your receipt, and you’ll get 50% back on Venmo or PayPal.


Jose Bonilla opened his restaurant and bar, El Nuevo Polores, in the Village of Hempstead three months before the pandemic hit.

“It’s very hard because we trying to make some business in the beginning. We do not do very well but something. But now, it’s just nobody’s coming in. Everybody scared,” Bonilla said.

Be-Bop Bagel has been serving BLTs and deli fare since 1993. Run by a father-son duo, they decided to stay open during the pandemic, but sales have slumped dramatically.

“Our main clientele is the courts and town hall. They account for 60-70% of my daily business. So when I lost them I pretty much lost everything,” owner Joseph Cho said.

To help businesses like Bonilla’s and Cho’s, Hempstead teamed up with a nonprofit called Split The Bill NY to help Long Island restaurants gain more customers.

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For one day, Split The Bill focuses on a village or town — in Wednesday’s case, Hempstead — and whatever customers buy at restaurants, they’ll get 50% reimbursement on orders up to $30 and get $15 back.

“They just have to take a picture of the receipt, and they also take a picture of the food. In three to seven days they’ll get their money back,” said Clariona Griffith, president of the Hempstead Chamber of Commerce.

The initiative will give both restaurants and customers like Charles Renfroe a break.

“I think this is a great discount, 50% off, half of whatever you pay. I mean, half of what you buy, you get it back,” Renfroe said.

Split The Bill is funded by the Sidgmore Family Foundation, a private family who put aside $100,000 to help out. So far, they have boosted sales in the villages of Farmingdale, Valley Stream, and Westbury.

“Today we have driven over $82,000 to the local restaurants in retail spending and we have reimbursed $36,000 to the consumers,” the Foundation’s Jessica Gelbwaks said.

Next, the Sidgmore family hopes to expand the program, to give hard-hit local economies a boost.

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The deal applies to takeout, delivery, drive-thru, and dine-in, but is limited to one per person.