Restaurants can start applying for 'revitalization fund'

Restaurants can start applying for 'revitalization fund'

Whether you own a restaurant, bar, food truck or bakery, the Small Business Administration has a new relief program to help struggling businesses in the food and beverage industry.

Starting Monday at noon, the agency will begin accepting applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

The relief effort is designed to help owners recover loss revenues due to the pandemic.

If approved applicants can receive a grant equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location.

Funds can be used to cover a variety of expenses such as payroll, utilities, mortgage and operating costs.

La Cosinita Latina in Palm Springs serves up authentic Puerto Rican dishes. It's been locally owned for six years. The owners said they've applied for relief aid last year during the pandemic, which helped them keep afloat. Now, with more federal aid to be made available, they said every cent helps.

"Everybody's business went down," said co-owner Karina Alavar. "That's good for the businesses' money, and because we also have families, everybody needs help."

Omar Alvarado is a franchise owner of La Michoacana ice cream shop in Lake Worth. Alvarado opened his doors last year in the middle of the pandemic.

"I never worried," said Alvarado. "In this situation, right now, everything is going to be better day by day."

Struggling restaurants can apply for aid

Alvarado said his faith and community support have helped him get through rough times but said federal relief would really ease the burden financially.

"I would appreciate it if they gave me help," said Alvarado. "Because I need to pay and handle the employee, you know, payroll. That's the more difficult part of the business. And that's No. 1, the employee. You have to take care of the employee. After that, you got everything else."

It's important to note, although the program begins Monday, the SBA will only process certain applications for the next three weeks.

Priority will be given to businesses that are owned by women, veterans and those that have faced social and economic challenges.

When applying, the SBA recommends applicants have all of the required documents handy and to fill out the application carefully. Once submitted applicants won’t be able to make changes.

"They need to make sure their numbers are correct, their information is correct, because once it's submitted, we cannot make changes on their behalf and then they will have to resubmit again, and that is going to make it even lengthier," said Victoria Guerrero, district director for the SBA.

For help with the application process, assistance is available through local SBA community development centers.

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., will host a free a webinar Thursday morning with SBA officials to answer questions about the program.

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