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Washington restaurants rush to apply for federal grant funding

The Washington Hospitality Association estimates 80% of applicants will not qualify because the fund will run out of money.

KIRKLAND, Wash. — It's the last call for businesses to apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. After receiving more than 300,000 applications nationally, applications will close at 2 p.m. Monday, May 24.

The fund was established as part of the American Rescue Plan to help the food and beverage industry recover from the pandemic.

Numbers from the Small Business Administration show just how badly restaurants need help. According to the business association, the rescue plan has received more than 300,000 applications representing more than $69 billion in requested funds. Nearly 38,000 applicants have been approved for more than $6 billion.

"I'm going to save as much as possible to make sure I get through the next year," said Liz Calouri, owner of Cafe Valoce in Totem Lake.

Calouri submitted her application when the grant program opened in early May. She's using the funds to build back inventory lost over the past year.

"We're all going to need some money to get back to full speed," Calouri said.

The Washington Hospitality Association believes more than 80% of applicants will not qualify because there are not enough funds. The hospitality association said it is working with the National Restaurant Association to urge policymakers to replenish the rescue plan.

The association still encourages businesses to consider applying to secure a place in line if there is a second round of funding.

According to the Small Business Administration, the businesses that might be eligible for these funds are those who have experienced pandemic-related revenue loss. They must be one of the following:

  • Restaurants
  • Food stands, food trucks, food carts
  • Caterers
  • Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
  • Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
  • Bakeries (on-site sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms (on-site sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Breweries and/or microbreweries (on-site sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Wineries and distilleries (on-site sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Inns (on-site sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products

The Small Business Administration is giving priority to a few specific groups of business owners. Applications from women, veterans, and minority business owners will be considered first, as well as those business owners who are socially or economically disadvantaged.

Click here to learn more or to apply