The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will stop accepting applications for direct aid to restaurants from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund after 8 p.m. EST on Monday, May 24, signaling that the aid program is running out of its $28.6 billion in funding.
The agency said in an announcement Tuesday evening that it has already received more than 303,000 applications requesting over $69 billion in direct relief to restaurants from the fund. To date, the SBA said, it has approved 38,000 requests for more than $6 billion.
The agency acknowledges that it still has not depleted portions of the $28.6 billion that were set aside for certain groups of restaurants, including those with 2019 revenues of $50,000 or less. It is only because those sub-programs are still liquid that the SBA will keep accepting applications until Monday, the agency said.
However, it noted that all qualifying restaurants can and should apply because not all of the program’s funding has been committed.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was created by Congress as part of the American Rescue Plan specifically to help restaurants survive the pandemic. Operators of fewer than 20 units could apply for grants of up to $5 million for a single location or $10 million in total.
The funds can be used for most operating expenses, including rent, payroll and food and beverage costs.
The Rescue Plan noted that the aid effort would continue until the allocated funds were depleted.
The National Restaurant Association and other groups said almost from the start of the application process on May 3 that they were working with legislators in hopes of replenishing the fund.