In March 2021, Congress appropriated $28.6 billion to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 to assist restaurants, bars, and other food service businesses experiencing substantial revenue loss and unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA opened the RRF applications May 3, 2021, and stopped accepting applications July 14, 2021, with the program oversubscribed and almost all its funds disbursed.
According to the United States Government Accountability Office, in June 2022, officials said they were working with attorneys from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve remaining litigation involving RRF and formulating a plan on how to distribute any remaining funds. As of June 2022, $180 million of RRF funding was unobligated, according to government spending website USASpending.gov. SBA officials said they plan to award the remaining funds but were taking additional time to confirm that any new awards would comply with the terms of legal decisions regarding the priority groups.
According to SBA officials, the unobligated funding includes $24 million set aside for litigation, and the remainder results from realized or anticipated recoveries. SBA data also indicate that about $56 million came from returned awards. SBA officials said some of the recovered funds also came from awards the Department of the Treasury administratively offset and returned to SBA, although RRF awards were not supposed to be subject to administrative offset for past-due debts (for example, child support payments).
The April 2022 Small Business COVID Relief Act of 2022 has been introduced in the Senate with the purpose of providing $48 billion to restaurants and other small businesses still recovering from the Covid pandemic. The bill includes offsets of $5 billion in unused Paycheck Protection Program funds, and adds additional SBA funding for grants for:
- Eligible restaurants and similar establishments
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Minor league sports teams
- Live Venue Service and Support Companies
- Businesses located near land ports of entry
- Businesses that provide and support live events
- Border businesses located in certain U.S. exclaves with limited accessibility in areas adjacent to land ports of entry
If you would like to learn more about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and if your business qualifies, contact us here and one of our tax professionals will reach out to discuss your situtation in greater depth. We’re here to help.