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Restaurant Revitalization Fund registrations begin Friday

Under the American Rescue Plan, the fund provides $28.6 billion in direct relief money to restaurants as well as other hard-hit food establishments.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced Tuesday that registrations for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, an appropriation of $28.6 billion in relief money for restaurants under the American Rescue Plan, will begin Friday. 

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a statement, “Restaurants are the core of our neighborhoods and propel economic activity on main streets across the nation. They are among the businesses that have been hardest hit and need support to survive this pandemic. We want restaurants to know that help is here.” 

The SBA will begin registrations for direct relief payments on Friday at 9 a.m. EDT. Applications for the process will open on Monday at 12 p.m. EDT. Applications online will stay open for any eligible hard-hit food establishments and restaurants until all of the allocated $28.6 billion in direct relief funds are exhausted, the agency said in a statement. 

The SBA said the program is meant to provide food establishments with funding that is equal to pandemic-related profit losses for each establishment, which according to the agency is up to $10 million per business. The agency specified that the direct money assistance would cut off at no more than $5 million per physical location. Funds from the program must be used by March 11, 2023, and only apply to the agency's determination for "allowable expenses."

To apply, those eligible can register for an account at restaurants.sba.gov in advance, starting Friday at 9 a.m. EDT. The application process will officially begin, Monday, May 3. The agency asks applicants to review official guidance, the program guide, the frequently asked questions and the application sample. Applicants then need to prepare all of the required documents. If applicants are working with a point-of-sale vender they do not need to register beforehand on the site, according to the SBA. 

Virtual training webinar sessions will be live and recorded and are at the times below:

The SBA will keep the program open until all funds are exhausted. For the first 21 days that the program is open, the agency will be prioritizing applications from businesses that are owned and operated by women, veterans and those considered "socially and economically disadvantaged."

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, when you spend $100 at a small business, $48 stays in the community. Spend the same $100 at a big-box store or national retailer and only $14 stays.

Some small businesses that had to close earlier in the pandemic have been able to reopen, in large part because of customer support. That's according to a January 2021 report from Facebook and the Small Business Roundtable, a coalition of organizations that advocate for businesses and entrepreneurs.

According to the report, 25% of small businesses were closed in December 2020, an improvement from 31% in April 2020. Among those that closed and later reopened, 31% say customer support is the reason they were able to do so. Businesses also cited social distancing measures (40%) and loosened restrictions (30%) as factors that allowed them to reopen.

The Associated Press contributed to some of the background for this story.