PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Help is on the way for some local restaurants and bars.
Businesses within the food service industry that have felt the impacts of COVID-19 can now get help from the Small Business Association. The SBA’s $29 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund is now open for registration in the application portal.
Applications opened Monday, May 3.
“This is finally here. It’s the most important one,” said Carl Knoblock, an SBA district director. “This is the group that’s been hurt the most. I’m glad it’s here.”
$29 billion is available from the American Rescue Plan Act to help businesses across the country.
The fund gives emergency assistance for eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses impacted by COVID-19. Businesses that were established prior to 2019, established in 2019, as well as businesses that were planning to open and are still waiting, will be able to apply.
Knoblock says restaurants are not the only businesses that can receive help.
“A lot of people are going to be amazed. It’s not just restaurants. It’s wineries, food pubs, food trucks, your local snack stand. It’s all those aspects that’s dealing with food and refreshment industry,” he said.
Businesses can qualify for up to $10 million, if there are multiple locations.
For the first 21 days of the program being open, priority will go toward women, veteran, and minority-owned businesses.
Those who receive the funding are not required to pay it back as long as it’s used for eligible expenses no later than March 11, 2023.
Funds received can help cover building mortgage obligations, food expenses, as well as outdoor seating construction.
The SBA, which helps in times of disasters, also helps homeowners, renters, and nonprofit organizations with loans, according to Knoblock.
He says that it’s been a busy year for them getting the help people need.
“Here, this is totally dedicated to business. This is a big difference,” Knoblock said.
Business owners will need taxes and other documents to apply but he says it’s easy to apply.
The SBA has a number of other programs for business owners such as the Paycheck Protection Program and the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan Program.
Knoblock says there are roughly 30 million businesses in the United States and its territories — 17 million applied for the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan Program.
“It kind of gives you a clue how massive this has been for this program and the others going on at this time,” he said.
Knoblock says applicants should be able to receive their funds fairly quickly.
“That will keep going until it’s used up,” he said about the nearly $29 billion program fund. “We think it will get used up quickly like the Paycheck Protection Program the first time. [At] that point in time, we think Congress will have to do something because of the demand.
Those who are eligible to apply include:
- Food stands, food trucks, food carts
- Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
- Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
- Bakeries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Breweries and/or microbreweries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Wineries and distilleries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Inns (onsite sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products