Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Not for long, we hope
The Small Business Administration shared guidelines for its upcoming Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a $28.6 billion pot of money meant to help struggling eateries get back on their feet.
“Today, we are starting the process to help restaurants and bars across the country devastated by the pandemic, and this is our message: Help is here. With the launch of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, we’re prioritizing funding to the hardest-hit small businesses – irreplaceable gathering places in our neighborhoods and communities that need a lifeline now to get back on their feet,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman in a press release.
The money was earmarked for small restaurants as part of the Biden administration's larger American Rescue Plan. The SBA will run a 7-day pilot program of their new system, selecting restaurant owners who borrowed funds under the Paycheck Protection Program. Though funds won't be distributed to these beta testers until the applications open up for real, the SBA hopes to iron out kinks in the application process before the flood of applicants use the portal in an attempt to receive funds.
The test run seems necessary, as the SBA's most-recent program rollout was an unmitigated disaster. The Shuttered Venue Operators grant
was forced to close its applications shortly after they opened. Technical issues plagued the site and it was itself shuttered mere hours
after the portal went online on April 8.
Once the beta test is over, the RRF will open to applicants, granting priority to "women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals." After a 21-day period, those priorities will be lifted and all applications from eligible businesses will be considered. The SBA has not yet shared a date for the opening of the application process, but info about eligibility can be found here
Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.