Starved for relief: Restaurants seek $76B, far more than budgeted

With just $29B available, controversy erupts over who gets fed first

Small Business Administration administrator Isabel Guzman (Getty, iStock)
Small Business Administration administrator Isabel Guzman (Getty, iStock)

The Small Business Administration is dishing out rent relief to restaurants, but many figure to go hungry.

The demand for federal pandemic relief has far exceeded the amount of money available, so some restaurants, bars and other food businesses might not receive it, the New York Times reported.

Restaurants could apply for relief starting May 3, and applications closed on Monday.

The Small Business Administration received more than 372,000 requests totaling $76 billion, but the Restaurant Revitalization Fund is capped at $28.6 billion, the publication reported.

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More than 208,000 applications from businesses owned by women, veterans and minorities that meet a certain income and asset limit will be funded first, the publication noted.

Rep. Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota called that discriminatory against bars and restaurants owned by white men. Rep. Angie Craig, also from Minnesota, encouraged colleagues to extend the program’s funding.

Another grant program by the Small Business Administration still has funds left: The $16 billion Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program has enough money for the live-event businesses it aims to serve, with venues asking for $11 billion so far, the Times added.

[NYT] — Cordilia James