A cross-party group of legislators are attempting to expand the financial relief available for small businesses in the wake of the fast-spreading omicron variant, as reported by Fox Business.
Democrat Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator Roger Wicker are exploring the possibilities for providing additional federal aid, including repackaging a bill that would replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
More COVID Relief Money for Businesses in 2022?
The two Senators previously failed to pass a similar bill in August 2021, when an additional $48 billion was proposed to be allocated to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Now Fox Business report that the proposal has been repackaged through a combination of new spending and reallocation of unused money authorized under previous packages.
The new proposal should make an additional $68 billion available for businesses such as restaurants and bars. Other small businesses that may benefit from the fund include food trucks and carts, brewpubs, tasting rooms and a variety of other food service establishments.
COVID Relief Money for Business and Omicron
The Democrats originally created the Restaurant Revitalization Fund program in March 2021 to provide grants for food and beverage providers that would equate to their revenue loss suffered during the pandemic. The original fund allowed a maximum of $10 million per business and $5 million per individual business location.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund started paying grants to small businesses from the following May after the creation of the fund, and paid out around $29 billion to eligible applicants. The successful applicants were allowed to use the grants to cover their daily expenses and supply costs, as well as pay for the likes of rent and utilities.
However, after providing grants to more than 100,000 eligible businesses, the fund quickly ran out of money in less than just two months. Senators Cardin and Wicker hope their new repackaged bill will replenish the fund and revitalize the food and beverage industry, amidst fears that 80% of restaurants could close this winter without additional aid.
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