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Restaurant Revitalization Fund offers financial lifeline for Port Arthur & Mid County industry in need

Few industries were hit as hard as the restaurant and bar scene by safety-mandated COVID lockdowns.

Although a lifting of occupancy restrictions in Texas opens the door to a return to normalcy, many local operations are still struggling to maintain necessary business.

Port Arthur and Mid County chambers and the Small Business Development Center at Lamar State College Port Arthur are teaming up to spread awareness about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

The Small Business Administration is giving out $28.6 billion in grants to qualified entities who have financial losses due to the pandemic.

Restaurants can receive a tax-free federal grant equal to the amount of its pandemic -related revenue loss. The minimum grant amount to eligible restaurants is $1,000.

“Our area restaurants have been hit hard by the pandemic,” Pat Avery, Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce President/CEO, said. “This grant is an excellent opportunity for them to obtain much needed funding to keep their doors open.”

Avery is working with Ana Pereda of the Small Business Development Center to explain details of the Fund, its application process and how local institutions can qualify.

A Zoom small business forum starts at 3 p.m. Thursday (May 6).

  • Meeting ID: 886 2336 2856
  • Zoom.us/j/88623362856

Pereda said it’s vital for local restaurant industry representatives to apply for and receive their share of this federal program.

“It is beneficial to bring money back to the pockets of small business owners, and then that money can be used to buy from another local businesses, so the ripple effects are great for our area,” Pereda said.

“If they qualify, I encourage them to apply, because it is money that is going to help them keep their doors open.”

Businesses awarded money that correctly use it would not have to pay it back.

“It’s a grant for operating expenses,” Pereda said.

Operating expenses include normal operations of a business, food, inventory, payroll, mortgage obligation, rent, utilities, business maintenance, supplies, protective equipment and cleaning materials.

The online application process remains open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted.

Eligible entities are those who own a place of business where the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink.

This includes:

  • Restaurant, food stand, food truck, food cart;
  • Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bar;
  • Caterer;
  • Bar, lounge, saloon, tavern
  • An Inn; and
  • Brewery, bakery, winery

Eligibility is limited to entities that have onsite sales of food and beverage to the public of at least 33 percent of gross receipts.

In preparation, the Small Business Administration recommends qualifying applicants familiarize themselves with the application process in advance to ensure a smooth and efficient application experience.

Applicants must register for an account in advance at sba.gov.

Applicants are asked to review the official guidance, including program guide, frequently asked questions and application sample.