There is no doubt the restaurant industry has been particularly hard hit during the pandemic. As part of the American Recovery Plan, $28.5 billion has been used to establish a “restaurant revitalization fund.”

When it was first announced, business owners were told they needed to obtain a DUNS number and they had to register in SAMS. However, on March 30, the Small Business Administration announced neither is the case, and restaurants will not be required to do so.

According to the National Restaurant Association, “Eligible businesses may receive a tax-free federal grant (does not have to be repaid) equal to the amount of its pandemic related loss, calculated by subtracting its 2020 gross receipts from its 2019 gross receipts. Those pandemic related revenue losses are reduced by any Paycheck Protection funds received.”

Who is eligible?

• Restaurants

• Food stands

• Food carts

• Caterers

• Saloons, inns, bars, lounges, brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, etc.

Applicants must submit a good faith certification that:

• They are applying because of the economic uncertainty and need support to continue operating.

• They have not applied for or received a Shuttered Venue grant for live venues.

Eligible expenses are:

• Payroll and paid sick leave

• Mortgage — principal or interest

• Rent

• Utilities

• Maintenance

• Construction for outdoor seating

• Supplies such as protective equipment and cleaning materials

• Regular food and beverage inventory

• Certain supplier costs

• Any other expenses SBA deems essential to maintaining operations

It’s important to note that $5 billion is available to businesses with gross receipts of $500,000 or less during 2019. Once the grant is opened, priority will be given during the first 21 days to restaurants owned and operated by women veterans, or those considered socially or economically disadvantaged.

It is expected this fund’s dollars will be dispersed very quickly and there is no indication as to whether the fund will be replenished. Businesses are encouraged to apply for other COVID-19 related programs including the PPP, of which President Biden just extended the deadline from March 31 to May 31. Visit www.sba.gov to apply for the PPP.

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Greg Smith is the director of the Eastern Oregon University Small Business Development Center, La Grande. If you are seeking free, confidential business advising, call 541-962-1532 or email eousbdc@gmail.com.

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