$28.6 Billion in Relief isn’t Enough, Warns SBA

The Small Business Association is encouraging operators to apply for funding as early as possible, before it runs out. (Stocksnap / Pixabay)

Last month, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund was signed into law. The $28.6 billion grant is intended to provide financial relief for independently owned bars and restaurants who have been impacted by Covid-19. But unfortunately, it’s still not enough to cover the needs of the decimated industry.

In a conversation with the Independent Restaurant Coalition on Tuesday, Patrick Kelley – associate administrator for the Small Business Association’s Office of Capital Access – said there aren’t enough funds to meet demand. This isn’t a surprise. In April, 2020, the Independent Restaurant Coalition proposed the RESTAURANTS Act, a $120 billion relief program which is the inspiration for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. At the same time, the National Restaurant Association was pushing for a $240 billion recovery fund. So, the fact that $28.6 billion won’t be enough to cover the losses after almost a year of slashed revenue is, unfortunately, expected.

Read more: $28.6 Billion Grant for Hospitality Signed into Law

It’s not all bad news, however. According to Kelley, if there’s an overwhelming demand for funds, Congress could push for a second round of funding for the program. Kelley encouraged operators to apply as early as possible – preferably on the first day – to ensure their needs are being heard by those in government.

Despite the fact that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund is just a fraction of what industry leaders were hoping for, Gregory Gourdet, an IRC co-founder and chef of Kann Winter Village in Portland, Oregon called it a "a vital lifeline” and “the best shot” the industry has at hiring back the two million people who lost their jobs, as reported by Restaurant Dive.

Read more: Ivy Mix is on a Mission to Save the Industry

There’s no word yet on when applications will open for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, but Kelley said it will be soon. The Independent Restaurant Coalition has been working with the government to make the application as streamlined as possible, and operators no longer need to sign-up for a SAM.gov account nor have a DUNS number. For more information, the National Restaurant Association has put together a great document outlining who is eligible, how much a business can expect to receive and more.

Once applications are open, operators can apply online at restaurants.sba.gov (the site isn’t live yet).

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