CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — The Slow Bell Cafe, a local business known for its comfort food and homey feel, has been hit hard by COVID-19, but owner May Hall is determined to keep it afloat.

On Jan. 6, Hall started a GoFundMe, which is offering matching grants to businesses that have been significantly impacted due to the pandemic. In the fundraiser description, she said she has invested $30,000 of her own money and $20,000 in loans just to keep The Slow Bell Cafe above water. As of Jan. 11, just over $600 had been raised towards Hall’s $20,000 goal; the funds will be used to pay taxes, leases, wages, bills and start-up costs for 2021, Hall said.

In the busiest part of the season, Hall employs 17 people. She’s been able to keep on six employees this winter, opening infrequently for takeout.

“Part of the reason I open in the winter is to give them some hours, but also because I can send them home with leftovers, so I feel like I’m helping to keep them in a better place than they’d be in if they didn’t have the restaurant open at all,” Hall said.

Despite the hardships Hall has faced regarding the business, she is hoping to officially reopen for the season in April 2021.