On Friday morning, a lifeline went live on the Small Business Association's website.
The application portal opened at 6 a.m. Arizona time for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which offers nearly $29 billion in financial support in an effort to keep the places the community knows and loves open.
Despite the title of the fund, it is not just for restaurants. It can be for bar owners, food truck owners, even someone who sells at a Farmer's Market.
Each business can be awarded up to $10 million in funding based on the revenue that was lost amid the pandemic.
"It's going to be the difference between either staying in business or having to shut down," said Amber Cordoba.
Cordoba explained the fund does not need to be paid back if used appropriately and used before March 2023. Business owners can use the money to pay mortgage or rent, any debt, utilities, maintenance, construction of outdoor seating, and more.
To prepare for the application, Cordoba suggests having a few things ready to go.
"You're going to need your 2019 and your 2020 tax returns, bank statements," Cordoba said. "And also additionally, information about your sales from your POS provider or your credit card processing company."
"We're used to struggling... we're used to making do," said Danielle Leoni. "But, please just know - this is not the time to let yourself struggle, you know? If you're in the food and drink business - just apply."
She worked to get funding like this for the past year. She said the association estimated a need for the restaurant community closer to $126 billion. They only got a sliver of that.
"By showing up and applying for the grant money that you need, you are also helping the folks that perhaps don't get the money right now because by applying, you're going to save yourself and your neighbor by demonstrating the need to Congress that we do need to fill this Restaurant Revitalization Fund," Leoni said.
“Arizona restaurants fuel jobs across our state. I am thrilled to announce that the funding established by our Restaurant Rescue Plan is open for registration and I encourage all eligible Arizona restaurant owners to apply. Together, we will get Arizonans back to work and ensure local Arizona restaurants can keep their doors open as we continue to lay the groundwork for a full economic recovery,” said Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema who has been pushing for help for Arizona restaurants.
The Independent Restaurant Association is also hosting events to help businesses get their application in. Click here for those details.
To access the application portal through SBA for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, click here.