Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is advocating for $25 billion in aid for restaurants to be included in the next COVID-19 relief bill.
Schumer, D-N.Y., visited two upstate New York businesses, including Brasserie Bar and Bistro in Camillus, to build support for the proposal. Under the plan, there would be $25 billion in grants available to help restaurants struggling amid the pandemic.
The program would be administered by the Small Business Administration. While there was assistance for restaurants and other businesses in past COVID relief measures, including the creation of the Paycheck Protection Program that provided loans to businesses to cover workforce and other expenses, there wasn’t direct aid for restaurants.
Restaurants would be eligible to receive the grants along with other drinking and food service-related businesses, such as brewpubs, catering companies and taprooms. The businesses could get up to $10 million per group or $5 million for an individual restaurant. The grants could be used for a range of expenses, including payroll, rent and supplies.
The grants can be used to cover expenses through the end of this year. That could be extended by the Small Business Administration “if conditions warrant,” according to Schumer’s office.
One-fifth of the funding — $5 billion — would be set aside in the first 60 days of the program for restaurants with less than $500,000 in gross receipts in 2019. At the start of the program, grants will be prioritized for businesses owned by veterans or women. Economically and socially disadvantaged businesses would receive priority during the first few weeks, too.