The long-lasting financial effects restaurants and bars have faced from pandemic lockdowns may start to ease in the coming weeks as the federal government begins handing out $28.6 billion in grants for small businesses.
As of Monday, the Small Business Administration is accepting applications for financial assistance from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
For the first three weeks, only applications for restaurant owners who are minority-owned by women, veterans and “socially and economically disadvantaged” applicants will be processed.
Other restaurants that apply will be funded in the order in which they were approved, after the three weeks held for disadvantaged applicants, according to the Associate Press.
Sean Kennedy, an executive vice president at the National Restaurant Association, says the industry will remain vulnerable for as long a people are hesitant of the coronavirus.
The grant program is “an incredible first step that is going to help tens of thousands of restaurants,” Kennedy says.
The association estimates that the industry has lost $270 billion as a result of the virus and over 110,000 restaurants have been closed either long-term or permanently.
The grants will be approved for businesses with up to 20 locations, up to $5 million per location for businesses with more than one restaurant and a maximum of $10 million.