The federal pandemic relief fund for struggling restaurants fell short, helping less than a third of eateries that sought assistance.
The $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which was established as part of the federal $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, closed on Wednesday because it ran out of money, the New York Times reported.
More than 370,000 restaurant owners filed the applications, seeking $75 billion in assistance. But only 105,000 were approved for grants, averaging about $272,000 each.
The Small Business Administration, which runs the program, notified unsuccessful applicants of their misfortune, saying that the fund was unable to help all qualified applicants because of “overwhelming demand.”
Lawmakers have introduced bills to add $60 billion to the program, but their fate is uncertain.
The pandemic ravaged restaurants and bars as they were unable to operate at full capacity for months. The National Restaurant Association reported in May that 90,000 restaurants — about 14 percent of all eateries — across the U.S. have closed permanently or long-term.
[NYT] — Akiko Matsuda