More than $ 2 billion was allocated from the $ 28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund to approximately 16,000 establishments during the first week of the new federal restaurant assistance program, underscoring fears that the initiative help could quickly run out of money.
The National Restaurant Association and other industry advocates raised these fears last week and said they are already working with lawmakers to replenish the fund, which is intended to help operators of fewer than 20 outlets. . Places that need assistance due to the pandemic can request up to $ 5 million for an individual location or $ 10 million in total.
âThe question that is of great concern is what happens when applications exceed available funds,â said Tom BenÃ©, CEO of the National Restaurant Association, in a recent statement.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said he believed more money would be allocated because the Fund, a component of the US bailout passed in March, appears to have bipartisan support . While no Republican voted for the bailout, at least one, Senator Roger Wicker, was involved in drafting and promoting the restaurant revitalization fund provision.
The Fund’s administrator, the Small Business Administration (SBA), said on Monday that some operators would likely receive their grants from the Fund from May 11.
The average scholarship awarded to the first 16,000 recipients was $ 125,000. The amount of the grant is determined by subtracting an applicant’s 2020 income and any prior federal aid from the operator’s 2019 income.
The money can be spent on most operating expenses, including rent, payroll, food and beverage supplies, and debt service. The funds can also be used to build outdoor dining areas.
Public enterprises are not eligible.
“We know this help is urgent for so many who have suffered disproportionately from this pandemic and who have often been unable to access relief,” SBA administrator Isabella Guzman said in a statement. âRestaurants are at the heart of our neighborhoods and propel economic activity on the main streets of the country. The SBA is here to help them build their resilience to survive this pandemic as we get our economy back on track. “
Priority is always given by the SBA to applications from women, ex-combatants and socially and economically disadvantaged people, as their needs were deemed particularly acute. This benefit expires on May 24.
The SBA has said it will continue to accept and process requests until the Fund runs out of cash.