U.S. President Joe Biden Promotes COVID-19 Restaurant Aid Program

United States President Joe Biden on May 5 promoted a newly launched $28.6 billion COVID-19 restaurant aid program he described as “badly needed.”

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was established through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to help struggling restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments to keep their doors open amid the pandemic.

The program provides eligible businesses with grants of up to $10 million to match their pandemic-related revenue loss, with $5 million per location, according to a statement from the White House.

According to the White House, the program received applications from 186,200 businesses across the U.S. during its first two days, which Biden described as “staggering.”

“Restaurants are more than a major driver of our economy. They’re woven into the fabric of our communities,” Biden said.

“For many families, restaurants are the gateway to opportunity, the key part of the American story,” Biden further said.

Included in those applications are 97,600 businesses owned by women, veterans, socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, or a combination of the three — all of which the Small Business Administration will prioritize for the first 21 days of the program, according to the White House.

Eligible applications will then be funded on a first-come, first-served basis after the 21-day period, according to the White House.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that business owners who applied this week could expect to receive their grant within around 14 days.

“When Congress comes back, we are happy to discuss the best ways to further support small businesses, including restaurants hurt by the crisis,” Psaki also said.

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