Food News

Updates on Two Relief Programs Restaurants Should Know About

Restaurants affected by the pandemic could get some help.
Restaurants affected by the pandemic could get some help. Alison McLean
The Texas Restaurant Association wants to make sure Texas restauranteurs know about a couple of updates to funding programs.

The Texas Travel Industry Recovery Grant Program (TTIR) provides one-time reimbursement grants of up to $20,000 to Texas restaurants that were negatively impacted by COVID-19. Restaurants can apply for the grant now through Nov. 22 to receive a financial payout. The program is open to private businesses and nonprofits.

The payout comes from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. To be eligible, restaurants must have been in operation prior to Jan. 20, 2020.

Applications can be submitted through the TTIR portal. Required documents include tax returns from 2019 through 2021, most recent quarterly tax form 941 and payroll records.

Eligible restaurants should take advantage of this opportunity to recoup losses sustained during the pandemic.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund Still Not Fully Distributed
While the TTIR is now open to applicants, another grant fund is still working on long-overdue payments to eligible recipients.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) was established by the American Rescue Plan Act to help restaurants stay open during the pandemic. The funds were supposed to provide swift relief as dining establishments battled to make a profit during the most difficult time in the history of restaurant operations.

However, according to a letter by four members of Congress, as many as 7,000 eligible applicants identified as grant awardees in 2021 never received their funding. We spoke to business owners last year who qualified for funding that never came to fruition due to a ruling that denied minority preference for grants. As of June of this year, $180 million of RRF funds sat undistributed.

U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Earl Blumenauer and Sens. Roger F. Wicker and Kyrsten Sinema authored a letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) demanding that the SBA swiftly release a plan to distribute the long-awaited funds.

“[I]t is inexcusable for the Small Business Administration to not dispense every single available dollar to help as many of our nation’s still struggling main street businesses,” the members of Congress write. The letter requests that a detailed plan of how the SBA will proceed with allocating the funds be announced by Nov. 14.

In the meantime, restaurants waiting for RRF funds should apply for the TTIR program if they are eligible.
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Jack Moraglia is the Observer's food intern for Fall 2022. A master of journalism student at UNT, Jack writes about various topics relating to food and culture. You can likely find him at a craft brewery with a large pretzel and a hazy IPA.
Contact: Jack Moraglia

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