The pandemic has taken its toll on the restaurant industry, but help in the form of government grants is on the horizon. Restaurants can start filling out their applications for some $ 28.6 billion on Friday.
“This fund is going to be incredible because it will help us to attract more people, to employ more people, to be able, hopefully, to develop our activities and take us to the next level and finally bring us back to normal”, Carlina Fontaine , co-owner of Blue Plate Kitchen in West Hartford, said.
Fontaine said the funding would help.
“We have been through difficult months with everything that is going on, so I am delighted to see everything fall back into place and to get us back to normal a bit,” she said.
Miguel Proano, co-owner of Blue Plate Kitchen, said it comes at a good time.
“We see a huge problem with the supply chain like certain products, chicken products, dairy products, some of these things are getting really, really expensive,” he said.
Established as part of the American Rescue Plan, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund provides $ 28.6 billion in direct assistance to restaurants. The program will provide up to $ 10 million per business and no more than $ 5 million per location.
“It’s a full grant. It’s not a loan, ”said Scott Dolch, executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association.
Dolch encourages its members to apply.
“Hurry up. This program that we know will be officially launched on Monday, ”he said.
During the first 21 days, the SBA will prioritize applications for funding from businesses owned and controlled by women, veterans, and the socially and economically disadvantaged. However, all eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications as soon as the portal opens.
With the return to business, many restaurants found that they had had to close certain nights or reduce their working hours because they were struggling to hire employees.
“This is on a first come, first served basis,” Dolch said.
Restaurants can start creating an account at restaurants.sba.gov starting Friday, April 30, 2021, at 9 a.m.
Restaurants can apply at noon on Monday May 3.
Catherine Marx, director of the SBA in Connecticut, said no dollar amount was specifically earmarked for Connecticut businesses.
“You are competing for the same dollars as New York, Texas, North Dakota and West Virginia. The application process is therefore the same for the whole country, ”said Marx.
It is a national program.
“Finally, we are starting to see an increase from the last one, but not back to normal yet, but I hope to get there for sure,” said Fontaine.