ATLANTA — President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law the $1.9 trillion relief package that he said will help the U.S. defeat the coronavirus and nurse the economy back to health.
The 2021 American Rescue Plan includes funding for the vaccine rollout, stimulus checks -- and billions in much-needed relief for the restaurant industry.
Specifically, the relief package includes the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund for restaurants hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Georgia Restaurant Association, the national restaurant industry has been hit hard by losses, with 4,000 restaurants closing their doors in Georgia.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant industry has been hit harder than any other industry with more than $250 billion in losses and the closing of more than 110,000 restaurants – 4,000 of which are in Georgia,” Karen Bremer, President and CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association, said in a statement. “Our state is known for its southern hospitality and amazing restaurants and we knew this crisis would be the worst we have ever seen. Through persistence with our partners at the National Restaurant Association, we have advocated for targeted relief since March 2020, and the passage of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund brings hope for survival and recovery. We still have a long way to go, but today is a wonderful day for Georgia’s restaurants.”
According to the association, the RRF will "create a new federal program for restaurant owners with 20 or fewer locations. Operators can apply for tax-free grants of up to $5 million per location or up to $10 million for multi-location operations. The grant amount is determined by subtracting 2020 sales from 2019 revenues."
Grant money can be spent on expenses including mortgages or rent, utilities, supplies, food and beverage inventory, payroll, and operational expenses.
For the first three weeks of the rollout, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will also prioritize awarding grants to restaurants owned by women, veterans and minorities, according to the Georgia Restaurant Association.
More information including info on how to apply can be found here.