New York Daily News

Nearly 200,000 seek money under restaurant program

- Chris Sommerfeld­t

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.

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