The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced key details on application requirements, eligibility, and a program guide for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). According to a press release from the SBA, the restaurant industry has been amongst the hardest-hit sectors during the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help bring jobs back and revive the industry, the American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden, established the $28.6 billion RRF. The SBA will administer the funds to the most highly impacted small restaurants in the United States to make sure these businesses can meet payroll, purchase supplies, and get what they need in place to transition to today’s COVID-restricted marketplace.
The SBA will also focus on ensuring the RRF’s program’s application process is streamlined and free of burdensome hurdles, while still maintaining robust oversight. Details on application requirements and eligibility are available in English at www.sba.gov/restaurants, and in Spanish at www.sba.gov/restaurantes.
Before the program launches to the general public, the SBA will establish a seven-day pilot period for the RRF application portal and conduct extensive outreach and training. The pilot period will be used to address technical issues ahead of the public launch. Participants in the pilot will be randomly selected from existing borrowers in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is a loan established by the SBA designated to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll.
Following the successful completion of the pilot, the application portal will be opened to the public, although that launch date will be announced at a later date. For the first 21 days that the program is open, the SBA will prioritize reviewing applications from small businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Following that three-week period, all eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications.
According to Erika Polmar, Executive Director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, this is very good news for local restaurants and bars. “These guidelines were crafted by the SBA after conversations with independent restaurant and bar operators across the country. We are grateful to the SBA for their hard work to make this process as accessible as possible in a short period of time. It is clear the SBA and the Biden Administration care deeply about ensuring businesses struggling the most can quickly and effectively use this relief program, and we look forward to continued conversations and collaboration to ensure this fund works as intended for the independent restaurant and bar community.”
For the most up-to-date information for eligible restaurants interested in the RRF, visit the SBA’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund website.