SBA unveils $28.6B Restaurant Revitalization Fund to help hard-hit sector
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced details on application requirements, eligibility, and a program guide for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RFF), which seeks to help bring back jobs and revive one of the hardest-hit economic sectors since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SBA will administer the funds to the most affected small restaurants, SBA Administrator Isabel Guzmán said.
“We’re 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,” she said, noting the program seeks to help these businesses meet payroll, purchase supplies, “and get what they need in place to transition to today’s COVID-restricted marketplace.”
The US government official said the SBA “focused on ensuring that the RRF program’s application process is streamlined and free of burdensome, bureaucratic hurdles — while still maintaining robust oversight.”
Ahead of the application launch and over the next two weeks, 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 this pilot will be randomly selected from existing PPP borrowers in priority groups for RRF and will not receive funds until the application portal is open to the public, the agency noted.
Following the pilot, the application portal will be opened to the public. The official application 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 the 21-day period, all eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications.