The American Rescue Plan (ARP), shepherded through the Senate by Majority Leader Schumer was signed into law by President Biden on March 12th. The ARP includes the $28.6B Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which allows for grants equal to the pandemic-related loss of each eligible entity, up to $10 million per entity, or $5 million per physical location. The grants are calculated by simply by subtracting 2020 revenue from 2019 revenue.
Entities with more than 20 locations are not eligible for this funding. Grant awards can be spent on payroll and benefits up to $100,000 a year per employee on an annualized basis; mortgage and rent; utilities, maintenance, supplies (including personal protective equipment and cleaning products used to combat COVID-19); food and beverage; operational expenses; and paid sick leave. The money for these expenses must be used by December 31, 2021.
The Restaurant Revitalization Plan will function similar to the grant program approved in December for small to mid-sized venues. The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program has been delayed getting off the ground, but the Small Business Administration (SBA) is opening up applications on April 8th. The restaurant program should follow fairly quickly after the venues and will benefit from the SBA’s experience getting the venues program together. Sen. Schumer has organized a meeting of the various trade association to work with us to make sure these grants get where they’re needed.
The ARP also provides $350 billion in aid to states and local governments for a number of allowable uses including to “respond to the COVID-19 emergency and address its economic effects, including through aid to households, small businesses, nonprofits, and industries such as tourism and hospitality.” State budget discussions include using some of these funds to help businesses recover from the pandemic.