Restaurant Revitalization Fund accepting applications starting May 3

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — More help is on the way for restaurant owners, even those who didn’t qualify for previous packages.

Bo Steiner, Illinois district director of the Small Business Administration, said applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund go live on Monday, May 3. He said the program is expanded to include all places that serve food and drinks. The minimum award is $1,000.

“While its called the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, It’s not just for restaurants. You can be a food caterer, a food truck operator, you can be a micro-brewery, you can be an inn, there are many different types of entities that are eligible, as long as its a place where the public comes to partake in food and beverages,” he said.

The latest round of relief even extends to businesses that opened during the pandemic.

“You don’t necessarily have to have been in business when all of this started, it kind of changes the game for this particular program,” Steiner said.

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) applauded the expansion, and said it will help a lot of business owners.

“I’m so glad to hear that, because I’m thinking, how unfair is it that they happened to open just when this darn pandemic hits… literally your heart breaks for people where the timing was just really horrible,” Bustos said.

Franchises are also eligible, as long as they are in the SBA directory, Steiner said.

He said the program is intended to make “the losses of 2020 go away,” with $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Eligible expenses are payroll, construction of outdoor seating and other COVID-19 upgrades, supplier costs, utilities, rent, and business operating expenses. The funds are intended to make the business entity whole, not the owner. Businesses owned by women, veterans and the socio-economic disadvantaged will be prioritized first.

Steiner said the application should take about 25 minutes, and there is a helpline at 844-279-8898.

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