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Waitress Ellen McNutt takes an order from Margo Trowbridge, who was at Fox’s Trail with Cheryl Morrow in this file photo from Oct. 9, 2020.

Restaurants and bars hurt by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will soon be able to apply for federal grant money.

Registration for an account for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund begins 9 a.m. today. To register, visit https://bit.ly/3eyNdRi. The Small Business Administration will begin accepting applications at noon Monday.

For the first 21 days that the program is open, the SBA will prioritize funding applications from businesses owned and controlled by women, veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, though all eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications as the portal opens because, following those first 21 days, applications will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Who is eligible?

The $28.6-billion program is part of the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act and is designed to help restaurants and bars that lost revenue in 2020 versus 2019. The law lists those businesses eligible as:

  • Restaurants
  • Food stands, food trucks, food carts
  • Caterers
  • Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
  • Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
  • Bakeries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Breweries and/or microbreweries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Wineries and distilleries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Inns (onsite sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products

However, publicly traded companies or businesses owned by a sate or local government is not eligible to apply. Franchises are eligible, though, but owners that operate more than 20 restaurants are not.

How to Apply

To apply, businesses will either go through point-of-sale partners (Clover, NCR, Square and Toast) or through the SBA directly. The application portal directly through the SBA will be available at https://bit.ly/3eyNdRi.

Applicants will need to collect and submit documentation to show how hard their business has been hit. Documentation will include tax information verification with the submission of a signed IRS Form 4506-T. Businesses may submit the following documents to prove gross receipts:

  • Business tax returns (IRS Form 1120 or IRS 1120-S).
  • IRS Forms 1040 Schedule C; IRS Forms 1040 Schedule F.
  • For a partnership: partnership’s IRS Form 1065 (including K-1s).
  • Bank statements.
  • Externally or internally prepared financial statements such as income statements or profit and loss statements.
  • Point-of-sale report(s), including IRS Form 1099-K.

How much can I receive?

Generally speaking, restaurants can apply for grants that are equal to 2020 gross revenue minus 2019 gross revenue minus PPP loan amounts. For businesses in operation for all of 2019 and 2020, the maximum grant size will be $5 million for restaurants and $10 million for restaurant groups. Grant funds will not be taxed like income and do not have to be paid back.

If a restaurant was not operating for all of 2019, the maximum grant value is the average monthly gross receipts in 2020 minus the average monthly gross receipts in 2019 minus PPP loan amounts. If a restaurant was not in operation for all of 2020, it could potentially receive a grant that totals the amount of “eligible expenses” between Feb. 15, 2020, and March 11, 2021, minus 2020 gross receipts minus PPP loan amounts.

The minimum amount an RRF grant can be is $1,000.

What are eligible expenses?

Here’s what the grant money can be spent on, according to the SBA:

  • Business payroll costs (including sick leave)
  • Payments on any business mortgage obligation
  • Business rent payments (note: this does not include prepayment of rent)
  • Business debt service (both principal and interest; note: this does not include any prepayment of principal or interest)
  • Business utility payments
  • Business maintenance expenses
  • Construction of outdoor seating
  • Business supplies (including protective equipment and cleaning materials)
  • Business food and beverage expenses (including raw materials)
  • Covered supplier costs
  • Business operating expenses

To be covered, expenses must have been incurred between Feb. 15, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021.

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