Aid is ongoing for troubled restaurants and bars in the form of a grant, not a loan.
The US Small Business Administration will open applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund on Monday, May 3. The online application will remain open to any eligible institution until all funds are exhausted.
âTo know that this money is available to us for all this wasted time, we are delighted,â said Chef Taylor Mason.
She started Taylor’s Tacos Chicago, along with his now wife, Maya, in 2018. The pop-up restaurant company specializes in street food tacos. Since they don’t have a physical restaurant or employees, Mason says they don’t qualify for Paycheck Protection Program loans.
âMarch 2020 has been possibly the scariest time in our working lives,â Mason said. “We have lost over 95% of our concerts and contracted activities.”
âNow this Restaurant Revitalization Fund is exactly what we expected and something that will be of tremendous benefit to our business because of all that we have been through,â she said.
âWe’re finally opening our own site this year,â said co-owner Maya Mason.
âHaving the money to pay the employees, to build, to support, to open our first business, I think it will be a good year. But we wouldn’t be able to do it without the proper financial support. We couldn’t. do it … all by yourself, âMaya said.
But it’s not just restaurateurs who are eligible. Breweries, wineries, and caterers, like Mason, can also apply. Any business where people gather to consume food or drink qualifies, according to the Small Business Association.
âThese prices can reach $ 5 million per eligible entity. It is not a loan. It does not have to be reimbursed. It sounds a lot like a grant, âsaid Robert Steiner, district director of the Illinois branch of the Small Business Administration.
Established as part of the US bailout and promulgated by President Joe Biden on March 11, the RRF is providing a total of $ 28.6 billion in direct relief funds to hard-hit restaurants and other food establishments that have experienced distress. economic and significant operational losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their lost revenue from the pandemic of up to $ 10 million per business and no more than $ 5 million per physical location.
âWe’re really trying to make sure that the most affected businesses can access the program,â Steiner said.
Initially, three groups will be ranked in order of priority among the applicants, which are businesses owned by women, veterans or socially and economically disadvantaged people.
Mary Aregoni, owner of the Saigon Sisters, said it was time to put marginalized businesses first.
âI think it’s fair to give it to the people who need it most,â Aregoni said. âLoans are good, but we need grants. We need a significant influx of money to stay alive and pay past bills and dues in the future to stay open. “
Aregoni manages three sites with his mother and sister. They have been in business for 11 years and are popular among businessmen in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. The pandemic has put an end not only to its walk-in activities, but also to catering. Aregoni said that in six months, without this help, she may have to shut down the business.
She said she plans to apply for federal help through RRF as soon as it opens.
âThis is going to be a huge help to the restaurant industry. It’s something we’ve been waiting for, âAregoni said.
Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as the funds are used for eligible uses by March 11, 2023. Operators have much more flexibility in how they can use the money compared to PPP loans. .
The funds can be used for specific expenses, including company salary costs, mortgage payments, rent, utilities, maintenance, construction of outdoor seating, food and other supplies and supplies. beverages, among other operating expenses.
Applications will open on Monday, May 3 at 11 a.m.