SBA unveils Restaurant Revitalization Fund guidelines
May launch eyed for $28.6 billion federal Covid relief program
The U.S. Small Business Administration has released details about applying for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, part of the American Rescue Plan that’s designed to help restaurants and other food service-related businesses recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The program will start with a three-week window prioritizing small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including people of color, women and veterans. Applicants who self-identify as part of this group will have access to the portal for the first 21 days. All other applicants will be able to apply 22 days after the portal opens and can continue applying until the funds run out.
Eateries can receive up to $10 million or $5 million per physical location.
The funds can be used for specific expenses=, including payroll costs, sick leave, mortgage payments, rent payments, debt services, utility payments, maintenance expenses, construction of outdoor seating, business supplies, food and beverage expenses, supplier costs and operating expenses. The funds can’t be used for prepayment of rent, principal or interest.
The SBA plans to open the portal to the public for top priority applicants at the beginning of May. There will be a seven-day pilot period ahead of the launch to conduct outreach and training and address technical issues. Participants will be randomly selected for the pilot and will not receive funds until the official launch of the portal.
The SBA has not announced an official launch date.
The program aims to help one of the hardest-hit industries in the Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses will not need to repay the funds they receive as long as they are used for qualified expenses before March 11, 2023.
“We are starting the process to help restaurants and bars across the country devasted by the pandemic, and this is our message: Help is here,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman in a press release.