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Walnut Creek Magazine

SBA's $28.6 Billion Fund to Save Restaurants Falls Short

May 14, 2021 07:19AM ● By Harper Klein

The Small Businesses Administration (SBA) announced this week that over 266,000 people requested over $65 billion in aid from the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund since it launched on May 3, with almost half of the applications from women, veterans, and economically disadvantaged business owners. 

Restaurants and bars, desperate to cover their 2020 losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, could apply for up to $10 million in funds to help pay for rent, utilities, maintenance, supplies, outdoor seating construction, and payroll. 

The first-of-its-kind relief effort happened after the Independent Restaurant Coalition’s (IRC) yearlong campaign advocating for independent restaurant and bar relief beginning in April 2020 with a letter to Congress. It was ultimately signed into law by President Biden in March 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan. Already the IRC is asking Congress to replenish the fun and keep local, well-loved restaurants afloat as the economy begins to recover. 

More than 110,000 restaurants closed in 2020, and 500,000 are in dire straits, according to a November survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association. Thirty-seven percent of operators said it is unlikely their restaurant will still be in business by October without additional government relief packages, according to the survey.

In a statement issued yesterday by the IRC, "The data is clear: independent restaurants and bars are struggling to get by and need more help which is why we advocated for a $120 billion grant program as part of the Restaurant Act last year. It’s also why we must keep fighting to ensure Congress refills the Restaurant Revitalization Fund."

ABOUT THE IRC: The Independent Restaurant Coalition was formed by chefs and independent restaurant owners across the country who have built a grassroots movement to secure vital protections for the nation’s 500,000 independent restaurants and the more than 11 million restaurant and bar workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
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