PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The Small Business Administration (SBA) is reminding local restaurants that they can register to receive funding from the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund next week.
The $28.6 billion grant program is made possible by the American Rescue Plan.
It’s no secret that the restaurant industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. The National Restaurant Association estimates that since the beginning of last December, more than 110,000 drinking and eating spots either closed temporarily or permanently.
Dave Lahousse, owner of Kay’s Restaurant in Woonsocket, told 12 News back in September that times have been extremely tough.
“There are times, trust me, I cried it was that bad,” he said.
He said the best investment he ever made was to purchase outdoor igloos, which significantly increased business.
“It was the best thing I ever, ever could have spent my money on,” he said.
Lahousse said sales at Kay’s were down 30-40% throughout the first three months of the pandemic, and if eligible, said he planned to apply for a grant from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
“What we need right now is hope,” Mark Hayward, the district director for the local SBA chapter said. “Restaurants have been devastated.”
Hayward said he also worries about the hospitality industry and small retailers, which have also taken a hit.
According to the SBA’s website, the following businesses are eligible to receive grants from Restaurant Revitalization Fund:
- Food stands, food trucks and food carts
- Catering companies
- Bars, saloons, lounges and taverns
- Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
These businesses are only eligible if onsite sales to the public make up at least 33% of gross receipts:
- Brewpubs, tasting rooms and taprooms
- Breweries and/or microbreweries
- Wineries and distilleries
- Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample or purchase products
But Hayward said there are some businesses that don’t qualify, such as nonprofits.
“If you’re in bankruptcy currently without a workout plan, you’re not eligible either,” he said.
There are three different ways to calculate grants, the SBA’s website says:
- Calculation 1: For applicants in operation prior to or on January 1, 2019.
- Calculation 2: For applicants that began operations partially through 2019.
- Calculation 3: For applicants that began operations on or between January 1, 2020 and March 10, 2021 and applicants that have not yet opened their business but have incurred eligible expenses.
For businesses that began “operations partially through 2019”, owners “may elect (at your own discretion) to use either Calculation 2 or Calculation 3.”
Hayward urged business owners to use the same tax identifier they used when applying for their PPP loan while filling out the application.
The SBA is prioritizing small businesses owned by at least 50% of women, veterans or minorities for the first 21 days, but that doesn’t mean those who aren’t prioritized can’t apply.
Hayward suggested applying when the portal opens at noon on Monday, regardless of whether the business is being initially prioritized.
“You don’t apply, you don’t have an opportunity. So give it a shot,” Hayward said.
Anyone who needs help applying for the program can call the SBA hotline at 1-844-279-8898 or email RhodeIsland_DO@sba.gov.