SBA’s Pandemic Relief Fund for Restaurants
Deluged with applications. The $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), passed as part of the American Rescue Plan, has received more than 266,000 applications, requesting more than $65 billion in funds as of May 12, the U.S. Small Business Administration says. Nearly half, or 147,000 applications, came directly from women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged business owners, who collectively requested $29 billion in relief fund, according to the SBA, which administers the program. The RRF was created by the American Rescue Plan Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11. Congress intended for the RRF to provide food and beverage businesses with grants equal to their pandemic-related revenue losses, up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per location. Although two categories are already oversubscribed, the SBA says it still has potential funding available for eligible establishments with 2019 annual revenue of not more than $50,000.
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NJ Lifts Capacity Restrictions at Most Businesses
But not indoor mask mandate. New Jersey has lifted capacity restrictions on most industries — including restaurants, gyms, hair salons, casinos, and houses of worship — but despite an end to the outdoor mask mandate for the fully vaccinated, indoor masking rules remain in effect. That is because, according to Governor Phil Murphy, not enough of the state has been vaccinated, particularly those in urban areas. “We are going to be able to take off our masks indoors in the not-so-distant future, as more and more people complete their vaccination courses,” he said. “We just can’t yet because we need to know unequivocally doing so will not lead to a backslide in our progress. Again, we have this virus on the run thanks to the millions of you out there.” Murphy also said the honor system is not an appropriate way to figure out who is vaccinated. “We’re not checking anyone’s vaccine status at the door when you go to the supermarket or to a hardware store for instance,” he said. “I don’t know how we can expect workers to be able to tell who’s vaccinated from who isn’t, and it’s unfair to put the burden on business owners and front-line employees to police every patron.” Businesses still have to enforce social distancing or install barriers.
What Americans Missed Most About Going to Restaurants
It wasn’t the food. As New York City allows full-scale indoor dining, it’s clear that the magic ingredient was the random thrill of seeing other people. On Wednesday, dining rooms in New York City will be allowed to fill every seat for the first time since last March. This is big, in theory. In reality, we will probably keep seeing six-foot spaces between tables and plexiglass partitions for as long as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps recommending them. But if you’re curious about what restaurants are and what makes them click, it’s been illuminating to watch them come back one piece at a time. In the past couple of weeks, it’s been possible to see that a half-empty dining room, if it has people sitting at the bar, can feel more exciting than one that’s almost full. So many modern restaurant interiors are designed around their bars that we take their contribution for granted. All those shakers clattering and bar stools swiveling and bartenders reaching for a bottle or a rag; the customers sitting down and getting up again: Bars are perpetual motion machines that help turn the larger, slower gears in the dining room. Turn off the lights at the bar and it’s hard to get any momentum going in the rest of the space. The restaurant feels hollow at the core.
A $100 Million Bet on Cross-Country Restaurant Delivery
Will the trend stick? When the pandemic started last spring, Di Fara, one of New York City’s storied pizza joints, had the same question as countless restaurants nationwide: How would it make any money when customers weren’t allowed through its doors? One answer quickly emerged: Ship frozen (and slightly smaller) versions of its classic pies across the country in partnership with the eight-year-old e-commerce platform Goldbelly. Sales picked up so much that Di Fara converted its two-year-old second location, in a food hall, to essentially be a Goldbelly production line. Margaret Mieles, the daughter of Di Fara’s founder, who had already struck an agreement with Goldbelly in December 2019, credits the platform with helping the pizzeria avoid layoffs. It isn’t just iconic pizzerias that have relied on Goldbelly to survive lockdown orders. More than 400 of the 850 restaurants that sell food on Goldbelly’s platform have joined since the start of the pandemic, an influx that the company says has more than quadrupled sales over the past 12 months.
Restaurants Urge Lawmakers
Keep the booze flowing. New York restaurant owners are calling on lawmakers to pass three bills that would make some emergency COVID rules permanent. The NYC Hospitality Alliance is leading the call to keep issuing temporary liquor licenses, “to-go” booze buying and the continuation of alcohol service in outdoor dining. “New York City’s restaurant industry was absolutely devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite good news on the vaccination front, and the continued easing of pandemic restrictions, restaurants across the city are still struggling and need an opportunity to recoup their unprecedented losses,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. “That’s why these three pieces of legislation are critical to the recovery of this ailing industry.” The call to action comes with only 12 working days remaining in Albany’s legislative session. Even as federal relief has been deployed to stop the bleeding in the industry, the monies allocated to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund have essentially been exhausted, while countless local restaurants are still in a dire situation and more financial relief is desperately needed.
Did You Know?
What restaurant workers want you to know about dining out right now. One of the most important things diners can do is to remember that everyone is trying to adapt to the “new normal.” As vaccination rates increase and coronavirus cases fall, many in the United States are moving towards a new normal, including diners and restaurant workers. Outdoor dining is still an option in many areas, and some are enjoying indoor dining for the first time in over a year. Restaurant workers spoke to TODAY to share the things they hope customers keep in mind in the coming months.
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Daily Alerts
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The Little Black Book on Small Business Financing
Bielat Santore & Company has released its newest informative resource for small businesses, especially those within the restaurant and hospitality industry. “The Little Black Book on Small Business Financing” is now available on the company’s Resource Library page and can be read or downloaded from there.