This week, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that includes new help for small businesses struggling during the pandemic. This package includes long-awaited aid dedicated specifically to the restaurant industry, new provisions for small businesses across other industries, and more money for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Tish Williams, executive director of the Hancock Chamber attended a webinar to learn how this new bill could impact your business. Here is “Tish’s Take” on what she learned from this webinar by The U.S. Chamber’s Neil Bradley and the National Restaurant Association’s Sean Kennedy. The presenters broke down the new relief package and what it means for small businesses and restaurants.
One of the most significant developments in the American Rescue Plan is the creation of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). This new $28.6 billion grant program will specifically target hard-hit restaurants and bars to apply for grants based on lost gross revenue between 2019 and 2020. The maximum grant size will be $5 million for restaurants and $10 million for restaurant groups. The RRF is a flat-out grant used for basically just about any operating expense.
“The biggest thing I took away from this webinar is that now is the time to get prepared,” said Williams. “The program application is not open yet and it could take weeks and months before it is. It will be administered by the SBA and will not be going through banks. Since the funding is capped, it is important to apply early on.”
Eligible entities include restaurants, food stands, food trucks, food carts, caterers, saloons, inns, taverns, bars, lounges, brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample or purchase products or other similar places of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the purpose of being served food or drink. There will be provisions for smaller operators like minorities, women and veteran owned restaurants who will be get advance access to apply for the grant.
While the SBA has not yet opened the grant application process, there are things the Hancock Chamber is offering to help you get these things done now so that when the process opens, you are the first in line.
1. To apply, you will need your Employer Identification Number.
2. You will also need to get a DUNS number. It’s free and takes around two days to get the number.
3. Using your DUNS number, you can now apply through a government website SAM.gov to get a SAM number. This can take up to two weeks to get that number. This is FREE too. (There are companies out there that will try to get you to pay them to process this. You do not need to pay anything to get this number.)
4. Get your paperwork together like P&L’s and tax documents. The grant is based on the difference between your 2019 and 2020 gross revenue. Forgiven PPP loans do count as revenue for your 2020 numbers. EIDL loans, and ERTC do not count against you. Restaurants can get first draw and second draw PPP loans and can also apply for the restaurant grant but this does impact how much you can get.
If you want to simply apply for these numbers directly, click here to go to the article that provides you with the links to SAM and DUNS.
If you need assistance with the processes above, call Tish Williams at the Hancock Chamber to make an appointment. The Chamber is partnering with the South Mississippi Contract Procurement Center to help restaurants get their DUNS and SAM numbers. Meetings will be held at the Chamber Office (Second Floor Hancock Whitney Bank at Beach Blvd. and Main St).
The following days and timeframes are available for assistance with getting a DUNS Number:
Monday, March 22nd from 12noon – 5pm
Tuesday, March 23rd from 9am – 2pm
Allow 30 minutes for this appointment.
The following days and timeframes are available for assistance with getting a SAM Number:
Thursday, March 25th from 9am – 3pm
Monday, March 29th from 12noon – 3pm
Wednesday, March 31st from 9am – 3pm.
Allow 1.5 hours for this process.
This is a free service.
If you are eligible for a PPP loan second draw, and you can make it work for you, get your application in. It is supposed to shut down on March 31st. There is a possibility it could be extended but that is not guaranteed at this time. There is no reason to not take advantage of both programs. If you are using the PPP loan right, you will get the loan forgiveness.
Restaurants can find all the details you need to know by going to https://restaurantsact.com/federal-resources/
There are new changes to the Shuttered Venue Program (SVP), but there is still no firm date as to when this will open up. There is a five-page checklist on the SBA website that you have to go through to gather information to demonstrate your eligibility. What is new is that those eligible for the SVP can now also apply for a PPP loan. This was not the case previously. For PPP, go through your local lender.
EIDL loans are still available through the SBA. The SBA will contact you if they believe you could be eligible to receive up to the full $10,000 EIDL loan grant.
The ERTC (Employee Retention Tax Credit) is now extended through the end of 2021. If you have fewer than 500 employees and your revenue in a quarter is off by 20% or more compared to the same quarter in 2019, then you qualify for the ERTC. You can qualify for up to $7,000 per employee you pay each quarter for four quarters. Another important change is this—new start-ups that opened after February 15th of last year are now eligible for ERTC. There are some limitations. Work with your accountant and / or payroll company. It is administered through the IRS.