The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the restaurant industry, but help in the form of government grants is on the horizon. Restaurants can start filling out their application for some $28.6 billion Friday.
“This fund is going to be amazing because it’s going to help us bring more people in, employ more people, be able to hopefully expand our business and take us to the next level and bring us back to normal finally,” Carlina Fontaine, co-owner of Blue Plate Kitchen in West Hartford, said.
Fontaine said the funding will help.
“We did go through some challenging months with everything going on so I’m excited to see everything opening back up and us getting back to normal a little bit,” she said.
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Miguel Proano, co-owner of Blue Plate Kitchen, said it's coming at a good time.
“We’re seeing a huge problem with supply chain like some produce, chicken products, milk products some of those things are getting really, really expensive,” he said.
Established under the American Rescue Plan, the restaurant revitalization fund provides $28.6 billion in direct relief to restaurants. The program will provide up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per location.
“This is a full grant. This is not a loan,” Scott Dolch, executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, explained.
Dolch is encouraging his members to apply.
“Time is of the essence. This program we know is launching officially on Monday,” he said.
For the first 21 days the SBA will prioritize funding applications from businesses owned and controlled by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. However, all eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications as soon as the portal opens.
“This is a first-come, first-serve basis,” Dolch said.
Restaurants can begin registering for an account at restaurants.sba.gov starting Friday, April 30, 2021, at 9 a.m.
Restaurants can submit their applications at noon on Monday, May 3.
Catherine Marx, director of the SBA in Connecticut, said there’s no dollar amount specifically set aside for Connecticut businesses.
“You are competing for the same dollars as those in New York, Texas, and North Dakota and West Virginia. So the application process is the same for the entire country,” Marx said.
It’s a national program.
“Finally we’re starting to see an uptick from previous, but not back to normal yet but hopefully getting there for sure,” Fontaine said.