Restaurant Revitalization Fund | New program for U.S. businesses to get aid during the pandemic

President Joe Biden said the program provides emergency assistance for eligible U.S. businesses impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns.

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AUSTIN, Texas — More than 200,000 businesses have applied for the new U.S. program called the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which provides emergency assistance for eligible U.S. restaurants, bars and other qualifying businesses impacted by COVID-19. 

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business, and no more than $5 million per physical location. 

The SBA said recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.

U.S. Small Business Administrator Isabella Guzman said this can help lift a city's economy, like in Austin.

"They've really suffered being among the first to close and probably among the last to fully reopen," Guzman told KVUE. "With this program, they're able to use these grants from the range of expenses, from rent and payroll, but also business debt and expenses to adapt to COVID."

Guzman is the voice of 30 million small businesses across the country. She said they've taken a huge hit during COVID-19 and, if needed, they're providing assistance.

The Restaurant Revitilization Fund has $28.6 billion in funding for grants, not loans, available to their food and beverage businesses.

This is a list of businesses that can apply:

  • Restaurants
  • Food stands, food trucks, food carts
  • Caterers
  • Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
  • Snack and non-alcoholic beverage bars
  • Bakeries (on-site sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms (on-site sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Breweries and/or microbreweries (on-site sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Wineries and distilleries (on-site sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Inns (on-site sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products

"The fund was included in the American Rescue Plan and designed to help our food and beverage businesses survive during this time. They're so critical to our local economies," said Guzman. "It's been a very popular program and it is first come, first served. So, we really want to get people aware of all the benefits so that they can apply."

More than half of the businesses that have already applied are within their priority target communities.

"We know that businesses from underserved communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID, as well as face more barriers in terms of accessing relief," said Guzman. "So, Congress set aside a 21-day priority period for businesses owned by women, veterans, as well as socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, so that they could access this program. In addition, we also have a small business set aside within the $28.6 billion. $9.5 billion is being used for smaller entities."

Priority groups include:

  • A small business concern that is at least 51% owned by one or more individuals who are:
    • Women, or
    • Veterans, or
    • Socially and economically disadvantaged (see below).
  • Applicants must self-certify on the application that they meet eligibility requirements
  • Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities.
  • Economically disadvantaged individuals are those socially disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same business area who are not socially disadvantaged.

If you want to apply to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, click here.