ALEXANDRIA, VA-The restaurant industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. As part of the American Rescue Plan, President Biden established the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), overseen by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The aim of the RRF is to bring jobs back and boost the struggling industry.
“Today, we are starting the process to help restaurants and bars across the country devastated by the pandemic, and this is our message: Help is here. With the launch of the [RRF] we’re prioritizing funding to the hardest-hit small businesses – irreplaceable gathering places in our neighborhoods and communities that need a lifeline now to get back on their feet,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “And, thanks to clear directives from Congress, we’re rolling out this program to make sure that these businesses can meet payroll, purchase supplies, and get what they need in place to transition to today’s COVID-restricted marketplace.”
The application process will be streamlined but employ strong oversight.
Over the next two weeks, the application portal will undergo testing to avoid technical difficulties when it is opened to the public. (That date is yet to be announced.) During this period, training and outreach will be offered. Participants will be selected randomly from businesses enrolled in the Paycheck Protection Program and determined to be of high priority for the RRF.
For the first 21 days that the program is open, the SBA will prioritize the review of applications from small businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
“Local restaurants and bars are being served very good news today,” said Erika Polmar, Executive Director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition. “These guidelines were crafted by the SBA after conversations with independent restaurant and bar operators across the country. We are grateful to the SBA for their hard work to make this process as accessible as possible in a short period of time.”