Funding to allow restaurant owners flexibility

The Small Business Development Center will be holding a webinar Friday to assist restaurant owners with applying for COVID-19 relief. Small Business Development Center Interim Director Kate Baker participated in a Q&A session last with Assemblyman Chris Tague and Greene County Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Friedman. File photo

Restaurant owners can learn the ins and outs of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund on Friday from the comfort of their homes — or restaurants.

The Small Business Development Center of Albany will be hosting a webinar to assist restaurant owners with the application process from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Friday. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is a $28.6 billion initiative included in the American Rescue Plan.

The program, which gives priority to small and minority-owned businesses, is expected to go live in the coming weeks.

Small Business Development Center Interim Director Kate Baker emphasized the importance of restaurant owners having their application materials prepped and ready to go when the SBA portal goes live.

“It’s harder for [rural businesses] to access some of the COVID-relief programs,” she said. “It’s really important to make sure that every eligible business gets the first bite of the apple.”

The program is open to independent restaurants with 20 or fewer locations, as well as food trucks, cateries and other types of food service businesses, Baker said.

Applicants will subtract their 2020 revenue from their 2019 revenue to determine how much they are eligible for. Funding received through the Paycheck Protection Program will be deducted from a business’ eligible amount, while Economic Disaster Injury Loans or New York Forward Loans will not count against the business, Baker said.

“There will be a pilot period week for seven days where the only applicants that get processed are those that are 51% owned by women, minorities or veterans,” Baker said.

Priority will also be given to businesses that earn less than $50,000 in revenue, she said.

The maximum award amount per location is $5 million, with a cap of $10 million per applicant, Baker said.

“In order to have enough money for every eligible restaurant, it needs to be closer to $400 billion,” Baker said. “We want rural restaurants, the small independents that frequently get left behind in programs, to be at the front door on the first day.”

The funds can be used for any legitimate business expense, such as expanding outdoor seating, Baker said.

The money can also be put toward monthly debt payments, but it cannot be used to pay off the principal, Baker said.

“This funding has very few restrictions, which gives restaurant owners the flexibility they need to make the decisions that are right for your businesses versus what a government entity feels they should do,” she said.

For more information about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/restaurant-revitalization-fund

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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