Restaurants can tap into an additional $29B in federal aid starting May 3 

The Small Business Administration will begin accepting applications May 3 for a $29 billion grant program aimed at boosting the restaurant industry, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

The program, officially known as the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, is the first federal pandemic aid exclusively for restaurants, bars and other food-service businesses. It was authorized by Congress as part of its $1.9 trillion coronavirus-aid package that became law last month, and will be a key source of aid to an industry that has been hard hit by the pandemic.

Restaurants and bars reported sales of $659 billion last year, down nearly one-quarter from 2019, according to the National Restaurant Association. More than 110,000 bars and restaurants closed at least temporarily, according to the trade group’s estimates.

Restaurant owners lobbied Congress for months for dedicated funding for the industry, arguing that restrictions imposed on in-person dining to curb the virus’s spread harmed their ability to do business.

Grant recipients are eligible to receive funding equivalent to their pandemic-related revenue loss, up to $10 million per business, according to the SBA website. A single physical location can receive no more than $5 million.

Interested businesses can begin registering for the grant application portal on Friday, April 30, and applications will open at noon Eastern time on the following Monday, according to the SBA. The agency earlier this month said it was testing the portal to address any technical issues ahead of the initiative’s public launch. Read the full story. 

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is hosting a webinar about the federal aid at 2 p.m. here.