$28.6B federal relief program for restaurants launches this week

A $28.6 billion federal relief program for pandemic-battered bars and restaurants is set to launch on Friday.

Administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will begin accepting registration information from applicants at 9 a.m. Friday. The application portal opens at noon Monday.

All qualifying businesses can submit applications as soon as the portal opens, though for the first 21 days the SBA will give funding priority to businesses that are owned and controlled by women, veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged people.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund will provide recipients with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue losses, up to a maximum of $10 million per recipient. The minimum award amount is $1,000.

Applications will be accepted via the SBA’s online portal at https://restaurants.sba.gov. Applicants can also call (844) 279-8898 or apply through the participating point-of-sale system providers Square, Toast, Clover and NCR Corp.’s Aloha platform.

“Restaurants are the core of our neighborhoods and propel economic activity on main streets across the nation,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a prepared statement issued on Tuesday. “They are among the businesses that have been hardest hit and need support to survive this pandemic. We want restaurants to know that help is here.”

Restaurants, bars, caterers, food trucks and food carts and snack bars are all eligible to apply, as are bakeries, tasting rooms, taprooms, breweries, wineries, distilleries, inns and other businesses that earned at least 33% of their 2019 gross revenues from on-site food and beverage sales.

The funds can be used to cover a variety of expenses incurred between Feb. 15, 2020 and March 11, 2023, including payroll, rent or mortgage payments, debt payments, utilities, maintenance, supplies, food and beverage costs, supplier costs and construction of outdoor seating.

The program is part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, a COVID-19 relief program which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11.

This is the latest in a string of national, state and local coronavirus relief efforts launched over the past year.

The SBA is still accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program, a forgivable loan program for small businesses and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, which began accepting applications on Saturday.

Earlier this month, the state of Indiana announced a $30 million grant program for Indiana’s hotels, entertainment venues and promoters. That program is geared towards larger businesses—to qualify for the Indiana Hospitality and Entertainment grant program, recipients must have had revenue of between $10 million and $35 million in 2019.

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