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COVID aid getting to restaurant sector

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Restaurant Revitalization Fund provides $28.6 billion to hardest-hit small restaurants.

The U.S. Small Business Administration will begin delivering economic relief from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, established by the American Rescue Plan and signed into law by President Joe Biden, to more than 16,000 approved applicants. This first round of funding represents over $2 billion of relief awarded since the May 3rd successful program launch. Restaurants and other food and beverage businesses across the nation will begin to see funds in bank accounts as early as Tuesday, May 11.

The restaurant industry has been among the hardest-hit sectors during the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA will administer the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund to the hardest-hit small restaurants.

“Just one week after launching the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, I am pleased to officially report that the SBA has begun to fund applications and that more than 16,000 restaurants and other food and beverage business owners will get much-needed relief in their hands,” says SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “We know that this help is urgently needed by so many who have suffered disproportionately from this pandemic and have often been unable to access relief.”

She continues, “Restaurants are the core of our neighborhoods and propel economic activity on Main Streets across the nation. The SBA is here to help them build resilience to survive this pandemic as we get our economy back on track.”

Under RRF, restaurants are eligible for funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue losses, capped at $10 million per business and $5 million per location. The SBA will continue to fund approved applications until all funds have been exhausted. SBA has prioritized a customer-centric approach to the delivery of economic aid, eliminating cumbersome application requirements, streamlining the application process, and by partnering with point-of-sale vendors to provide seamless ways to apply to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

In the weeks leading up to the opening of this program, the SBA engaged with hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs -- in hundreds of webinars and events held in multiple languages – to make sure they were ready to apply.

In the first two days of the RRF application window, the SBA received: 

  • 186,200 applications from restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five U.S. Territories. 
  • 97,600 applications of which came from restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses owned and controlled by women (46,400), veterans (4,200), socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (30,800), or some combination of the three (16,200). 
  • 61,700 applications from businesses with under $500,000 in annual pre-pandemic revenue, representing some of the smallest restaurants and bars in America.  

“Our nation’s restaurants have been among the first and worst hit by this pandemic, which is why we’ve been working as fast as possible to meet businesses where they are and get this much-needed relief into their hands,” says Guzman. “As directed by Congress, we’re prioritizing historically underserved communities and smaller businesses to ensure this relief is going to those who need it the most. At the SBA, we know that our nation’s restaurants help propel our economy and sustain our neighborhoods and communities, and we will continue to work hard to ensure they get the resources they need to recover, rebuild and become resilient.” 

Following the 21-day priority period, all eligible applications will be funded in the order in which they have been received. While the SBA will continue accepting applications from any eligible establishment until funds are exhausted, the number of applications received so far could exhaust the funds authorized to fund the RRF. Interested onsite food establishments may still apply through SBA-recognized POS vendors or directly via the SBA online application portal: https://restaurants.sba.gov.

TAGS: Business
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