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Restaurant Revitalization Program closes after paying out $28.6 billion

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(Photo/File)After paying out $28.6 billion to more than 100,000 restaurants and other service industry establishments struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Restaurant Revitalization Program closed Friday.

The fund, part of the American Rescue Plan signed into law in March, received more than 278,000 eligible applications requesting more than $72.2 billion in funds as of June 30, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Approximately 101,000 applications from restaurants, bars and other hospitality-type businesses were approved, the SBA said in a news release.

“The $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund provided desperately needed relief to more than 100,000 restaurants and other food and beverage businesses across the nation with significant funding going to our hardest-hit, underserved businesses,” SBA Administrator Isabel Gusman said in the release. “Restaurants are at the center of our neighborhoods and propel economic activity on main streets. As among the first to close in this pandemic and likely the last to reopen, many are still struggling to survive. The SBA will continue to work hard to ensure they get the resources they need to recover, rebuild and be resilient.”

Women-owned businesses received $7.5 billion in federal funds, while $6.7 million went to socially and economically disadvantaged business owners. Businesses owned by representatives of multiple underserved populations received $2.8 billion, while veteran-owned businesses received $1 billion.

The remainder went to eligible applicants not identified as part of an underserved group.

The average size of the grants was $283,000, according to the SBA, with 27.2% of grants in the $350,000 to $1 million range and 21.2% in the range of $150,000 to $350,000. Grants ranging from $2 million to $5 million went to 18% of recipients, while 16.4% received grants ranging from $1 million to $2 million.

Approved grants of $50,000 and under were awarded to 2.2% of recipients.

Restaurants and bars were eligible for economic aid equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss, with a cap of $10 million per business and $5 million per location. The funds could be used for payroll, rent and other approved expenses.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund application platform will remain open until July 14 to allow applicants to check their status, address payment corrections or ask questions.

Other SBA relief programs such as Economic Injury Disaster Loans remain available for small businesses, the agency said.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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