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The Basics of Restaurant Relief in the Rescue Act

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Read this if you represent bars and cafes.

If you represent businesses – particularly restaurants – you can serve them by knowing about the financial relief set aside in the American Rescue Plan Act.

The new Restaurant Revitalization Fund provides $28.6 billion in grants to restaurants and bars in need, with $5 billion of that going to businesses with 2019 gross receipts of less than $500,000. A national restaurant association official says the industry has lost $250 billion in the pandemic.

Below are some important things to know about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, courtesy of the US Chamber of Commerce and this article.

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Following are excerpts from “What You Need to Know About Restaurant Revitalization Grants” from the US Chamber of Commerce website CO:

“Who is eligible for RRF grants? Most American restaurants and bars that lost revenue in 2020 versus 2019 will be eligible to apply for RRF grants. The ARPA explicitly names the following types of establishments that should be eligible: “restaurant, food stand, food truck, food cart, caterer, saloon, inn, tavern, bar, lounge, brewpub, tasting room, taproom, licensed facility or premise of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products.” However, any restaurant or bar that is part of a publicly-traded company or owned by a state or local government is not eligible to apply. Also, owners that operate more than 20 restaurants are ineligible. Notably, if you are the owner of a franchise and you do not control more than 20 locations, you are likely eligible to apply.

How and when can I apply? The Small Business Administration (SBA) will administer and disperse the RRF grants, but the program does not yet have an official launch date as of mid-March 2021. Those interested in obtaining RRF grants should keep a close eye on the SBA’s COVID-19 relief options web portal.

How much can I get from the grant program? Generally speaking, restaurants can apply for grants that are equal to 2020 gross revenue minus 2019 gross revenue. For businesses in operation for all of 2019 and 2020, the maximum grant size will be $5 million for restaurants and $10 million for restaurant groups. Grant funds will not be taxed like income. If a restaurant was not operating for all of 2019, the maximum grant value is the average monthly gross receipts in 2020 minus the average monthly gross receipts in 2019. If a restaurant was not in operation for all of 2020, it could potentially receive a grant that totals the amount of “eligible expenses” put into the business to date.

What can grant funds be used for? The RRF grants are only able to be used on specific expenses. These include: Payroll costs; Payments of principal or interest on any mortgage obligation; Rent payments, including rent under a lease agreement; Utilities; Maintenance, including new outdoor seating construction; Supplies, including PPE and cleaning materials; Food and beverage inventory; Covered supplier costs; Operational expenses; Paid sick leave; Any other expense SBA says is essential to maintain operations. The “covered period” for what expenses can be paid by the grant must be incurred between February 15, 2020, to December. 31, 2021.”

Source: US Chamber of Commerce

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