An aid program from the James Beard Foundation (JBF) offering $15,000 grants to help small restaurants stay afloat during the coronavirus crisis was so overloaded with applications late Monday that it stopped accepting them.
The JBF Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund received “an overwhelming response within hours of opening,” the foundation noted on its website.
“We recognize the tremendous need from independent restaurants across the country and will continue to work to support you however best we can,” the JBF added.
To be eligible for the one-time, $15,000 payment, restaurants had to be independently owned with 100 or fewer employees or part of a restaurant group in which each member has 100 or fewer employees.
Payments will be divided evenly over the 12 geographic regions defined for the annual James Beard Foundation Awards. Funds are to begin being distributed Wednesday.
“Our goal is to do our part along with federal, state and local governments to provide for workers, sustain local business, reduce the financial impact on communities, and otherwise mitigate the severe economic consequences of this global pandemic,” the foundation said in a statement.
JBF said it would send out a notification should the application process reopen.