The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced details about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a program established under the American Rescue Plan Act Congress passed earlier this year.
Under the program, restaurants can apply for loans to help with COVID-19 business expenses. It is similar to the Paycheck Protection Program in some ways, as loans are forgivable in both programs. The Paycheck Protection Program was more broad, while the Restaurant Revitalization Fund is designed to help restaurants with COVID-related expenses.
Unlike the Paycheck Protection Program, which required businesses to spend the loan within 8 to 24 weeks, businesses have two years to use the funds they receive under the Restaurant Revitalization Fund program.
“The funds do not have to be repaid if they are used on eligible expenses by March 11, 2023. Eligible expenses include business debt, business payroll costs, construction of outdoor seating, business maintenance, supplier costs, and more,” a press release sent out by the Illinois Small Business Administration said.
Paycheck Protection loans were administered by banks. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, however, allows business owners to apply through the SBA or through “Point-of-Sale vendors”:
“SBA is working with Square, Toast, Aloha (NCR), and Clover to help streamline the application process. Applicants who use Square and Toast as their POS vendors can apply directly through the Square and Toast platforms, and will not need to register in the SBA RRF platform. Businesses who use Aloha and Clover can receive their POS reports for proof of gross receipts for the application,” the press release said.
Registration for the program opened at 8 a.m. on April 30 and businesses must register before they can apply for assistance. Businesses that have registered are eligible to apply beginning May 3 at 11 a.m. Central time.
For the first three weeks of the program, the SBA is only processing applications from women- and minority-owned businesses. The SBA has also held webinars to help Asian-American, Pacific Islander, Black, and LGBTQ+– owned businesses apply for the loans.
The Illinois Small Business Administration held a webinar April 23 to discuss the RRF program in Illinois. Anyone interested access a recording online through the SBA site, and may need a Microsoft account to view