As federal funds become available to restaurants and other businesses focused on food and beverage services, U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo held a virtual town hall Thursday to answer questions from small business owners keen to power their stores. in the pandemic.
âI want you to be able to access this money to cover your losses from COVID so that you can really get back on your feet and get back on top of your business,â said Eshoo, D-Palo Alto.
The webinar aimed to educate local merchants about the possibilities for upcoming grants from the $ 29 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund established as part of the $ 1.9 trillion US bailout. Establishments with 20 or fewer locations will be eligible for grants and are required to serve customers directly as at least a small part of the business model.
The size of the program grants will be determined based on the difference between a company’s 2019 and 2020 gross income. The Small Business Association will determine another formula for determining the size of grants for companies that have not filed. tax return for 2019.
The maximum grant size for a single business is $ 5 million and up to $ 10 million for those with multiple locations. Nonprofits, publicly traded businesses, and permanently closed businesses are not eligible for the program, but businesses without a physical location, including food trucks and food stalls, do.
The grants will also be tax-free by the federal government, Eshoo noted. Julie Clowes, director of the Small Business Administration for Northern California, said California officials are still discussing whether the grants would be considered taxable income, although she suggested they might. align with federal guidelines.
âIt’s about helping people, not putting another burden on them with a surprise tax bill owed on money that has been borrowed or given,â Eshoo said.
Clowes told webinar attendees that paycheck protection loans will be deducted from grants unless the loans are in forgiveness. The grants can also be used for any expenses related to the business, she noted.
Larry Chu, a small business owner who attended Thursday’s webinar, highlighted the challenges traders faced during the pandemic and wondered if information on applicants would be available before the portal opens.
âThis past year has been very scary, scary, stressful, and anything that shines in the sun is a beacon of hope, but we’re still nervous,â Chu said. “Whenever these things are available you get nervous and start to feel like it’s a race for time.”
A first priority period will open grants to women, veterans and socially or economically disadvantaged business owners. Priority applicants must own at least 51% of company ownership and have day-to-day control of the business management of the company. Businesses with multiple owners who match the priority list and collectively meet the criteria may also qualify.
Additionally, a portion of the $ 28.6 billion will be set aside for small business owners earning less than $ 500,000 in 2019. Clowes noted that the Small Business Association also has the power to create other priority periods or exclusions. .
Clowes said additional information on the required documentation could be released as early as next week, potentially followed by the opening of the portal. She said interested applicants will have a few days to review the documentation requirements before the portal opens and encouraged attendees to check the Small Business Association website frequently.
Eshoo also encouraged participants to prepare for the opening of the portal to ensure that as many local businesses as possible receive grants.
âOur restaurants are truly our cultural cornerstones in our community,â said Eshoo. âWe take our families there. We know the owners. They know us by our first names. We see our friends and neighbors and therefore you are so important to all of us.