More than 16,000 applicants will begin receiving funding through the new Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), a federal program targeting dining establishments impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the first round of RRF payments, the federal government plans to disburse roughly $2 billion in relief funding. Payments are expected to start depositing in bank accounts Tuesday, May 11.
“Just one week after launching the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, 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,” U.S. Small Business Administration(SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzmansaid in a statement. “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. 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.”
Restaurant owners applying for RRF funding are eligible to receive up to their pandemic-related revenue losses. This is capped at $10 million per businesses and $5 million per location. The minimum amount that will be awarded is $1,000.
Business owners can use the funding for payroll costs, payments on business mortgages, business rent payments, business debt service, business utility payments, maintenance expenses, construction of outdoor seating, business supplies, business food and beverage expenses, covered supplier costs, and operating expenses.
The SBA opened applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund on Monday, May 3. President Joe Biden established the relief fund program with the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law on March 11, 2021.
Within two days of the application period, the SBA received 186,200 applications from restaurants, bars and other eligible businesses in 50 U.S. States, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Of this total, 97,600 applications came from businesses owned and controlled by women (46,400), veterans (4,200), socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (30,800), or a combination of the three (16,200).
One-third of the applications, or 61,700, came from businesses with less than $500,000 pre-pandemic annual revenue.
Funding has been set aside for certain applicants. There is a $5 billion set-aside for applicants who had 2019 gross receipts of less than $500,000, with an additional $4 billion set-aside for applicants who had $500,001 to $1.5 million in gross receipts in 2019. There is also a $500 million set-aside for businesses who had $50,000 or less in gross receipts in 2019.