Restaurant rescue: Local businesses apply for federal revitalization fund program

El Paso News

FILE – In this Oct. 2, 2020 file photo, a woman walks by empty restaurants in the center of Lyon, central France. France is expected Thursday April 15, 2021, to pass the grim milestone of 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, after a year of hospital tensions, on-and-off lockdowns and personal loss that have left families nationwide grieving the pandemic’s unending, devastating toll. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Local business owners are eager to take a bite out of the $28 billion Restaurant Revitalizing Fund Program pie after a year of dealing with the fallout from the pandemic.

“It’s a completely different world,” Maggie Asfahani, owner of Salt and Honey, told KTSM 9 News. “I’m just glad that these things are being made available to us.”

As of Monday, the U.S Small Business Administration is accepting applications to help restore lost revenues to restaurants, bars, lounges, saloons, food trucks and more.

The funding program covers up to $10 million per business that does not have to be repaid.

“And that’s what happens when there’s leadership in the White House. That’s what happens when you have a Congress that is willing to appropriate the necessary resources,” said Congresswoman Veronica Escobar.

Under this program, business owners can spend the funds more freely than those who received funding from PPP loans.

“It’s more liberal than the PPP in what you could use it for,” said Asfahani. “And I think it’s going to help a lot of people.”

The Independent Restaurant Coalition lobbied Congress to ensure the application process is as easy as possible for business owners.

The program is prioritizing minority business owners that include women, veterans and economically disadvantaged groups to improve economic equity.

“It’s important to ensure that the most vulnerable among us are cared for, that we do everything possible to eradicate poverty and to uplift those who need it the most,” said Escobar.

Relief from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund is available to:

  • Restaurants 
  • Food stands, food trucks, food carts 
  • Caterers 
  • Bars, saloons, lunges, taverns
  • Snack and non-alcoholic beverage bars
  • Bakeries (on-site sales to the public must comprise at least 33 percent of gross receipts)
  • Breweries and/or microbreweries (on-site sales to the public must comprise at least 33 percent of gross receipts)
  • Wineries and distilleries (on-site sales to the public must comprise at least 33 percent of gross receipts)
  • Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample or buy products.

A funding guide can be found here and a sample application can be found here.

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