Restaurant stimulus could run out immediately

$28.6B set aside for restaurants in the last stimulus package may not be enough and could leave some restaurants out in the cold.

Restaurants in Michigan have had an overwhelmingly difficult time during the coronavirus pandemic. Repeated closures and capacity limitations have already forced many restaurants to shut down for good. The ones that have survived face the twin trials of protecting against COVID and serving enough people to keep the doors open.

A new pool of money approved by Congress earlier this year could be a shot in the arm for a struggling industry. But some leaders predict that money could run out “almost instantaneously.”

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What Happened: In the latest COVID stimulus package, approved by Congress last month, $28.6 billion was set aside for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The goal is to help out businesses harmed by the pandemic.

The grants are being administered by the Small Business Administration and are specifically targeted toward smaller restaurants and chains. No publicly-traded companies are eligible for the funds; nor are businesses that operate more than 20 locations.

How Much Money: To calculate how much a business can receive, they simply take their gross revenue from 2020 and subtract their revenue from 2019 along with any Paycheck Protection Program funding they may have gotten. The remainder is how much they qualify for.

Predictions: Josh Fendrick is a legislative assistant for Senator Gary Peters, D-Michigan. He told MLive that he expects the program to be very popular.

“There’s probably a very strong chance that runs out almost instantaneously,” he said. “We’ve heard from Senate Majority Leader [Chuck] Schumer that if that happens, there’s going to be opportunities to replenish the fund.”

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