EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — Bars and restaurants have been devastated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many have laid off workers while others have closed their doors entirely. Now, a new federal program aims to help.
The $28.6 billion U.S. Restaurant Revitalization Fund began accepting applications this week. The fund is managed by the U.S. Small Business Administration and was approved during the latest stimulus bill.
Restaurants and bars are not the only businesses that qualify. Bakeries, food trucks, catering companies and more food-service businesses qualify too. Businesses can request aid equal to their pandemic-related losses, up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per location. Applications opened this week.
For the first three weeks, funding will be prioritized for businesses that are owned and controlled by economically and socially disadvantaged groups, women and veterans. Other businesses can still submit applications during this time.
The El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has helped 200 local businesses apply.
“It’s a great way to infuse new cash, to reopen everything,” said Cindy Ramos-Davidson, CEO of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Some of the expenses can be used to now maybe think about outdoor seating. Maybe you didn't have outdoor seating in the past. Maybe you needed some other air purifiers in the restaurant. Some of those dollars can be used for this as well.”
Ramos-Davidson said the need for this type of program is great in El Paso.
“The stories go on and on, a lot of heartbreak,” she said. “There was a lot of the smaller mom-and-pops that just weren't able to recover and really did have to shut down because there just wasn't any cash coming in.”
“This is a great fund opportunity for this market that has been so drastically hit by the pandemic,” she added.
You can find application details here.
The El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is also available to assist businesses during the application process. You can call the office at (915) 566-4066.