The economic assistance that the federal government has promised to deliver to restaurant owners hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic finally is ready to be released.
The U.S. Small Business Administration will open registrations for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, then begin accepting online applications at noon Monday, Commissioner Isabella Casillas Guzman has announced. The online application will remain open to any eligible establishment until all the money is exhausted.
The fund, established under the American Rescue Plan and signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, provides $28.6 billion in direct relief money to restaurants and other hard-hit food establishments that have experienced economic distress and significant operational losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will provide restaurants with money equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss, up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location.
Money must be used for allowable expenses by March 11, 2023. In preparation, the SBA recommends that qualifying applicants familiarize themselves with the application process in advance to ensure a smooth and efficient application experience, specifically by:
• Reviewing the official guidance, including program guide, frequently asked questions and application sample;
• Preparing the required documentation;
• Working with a point-of-sale vendor or visiting restaurants.sba.gov or sba.gov/restaurantes to submit an application when the application portal opens. (If an applicant is working with a point-of-sale vendor, they do not need to register beforehand on the site.)
Virtual training webinars are scheduled to take place at 1 and 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. For the first 21 days that the program is open, the SBA will prioritize funding applications from businesses owned and controlled by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. All eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications as soon as the portal opens.
After the 21 days, all eligible applications will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis.