New York Daily News
Nearly 200,000 seek money under restaurant program
Nearly 200,000 restaurants and bars applied for economic relief through a new pandemic program within the first two days of its launch this week, according to federal data — raising concerns that the pot of money may not be enough.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a $28.6 billion program carved out by the last coronavirus stimulus package, started accepting applications Monday.
By Wednesday afternoon, 186,200 applications had poured in from all 50 states, President Biden said at the White House, citing data from the Small Business Administration.
Biden said the crush of applications was anticipated.
“Our nation’s restaurants were some of the first hit and some of the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Biden, who earlier in the day went for tacos at a Washington, D.C., Mexican restaurant that received aid from the fund.
The Small Business Administration was not immediately able to provide state-by-state breakdowns for the first batch of applications, but advocates in New York City said the initial flood suggests struggling restaurants will quickly eat through the $28.6 billion.
“We’ve made it very clear: If that money goes quickly, we’re going to need more of it,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, which lobbied Congress to create the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
In the five boroughs alone, at least 1,000 restaurants have been forced to shut down since the pandemic hit, and many more are feared to be on the brink, according to a running tally by Eater.