Dear M & M: I am hearing a little about a Restaurant Recovery Act. What is this all about? — Dan

Dear Dan: The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021, establishes the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) and provides for several additional benefits for the eligible business listed below.

Eligible entities are businesses that are not permanently closed and include businesses where the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink including: Restaurants, food stands, food trucks, food carts, caterers, bars, saloons, lounges, taverns, licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products, other similar places of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink, snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars, bakeries, brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, breweries and/or microbreweries, wineries and distilleries, inns.

The purpose of this funding is to provide support to eligible entities that suffered revenue losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. All funds received from the Restaurant Revitalization Act must be spent by March 11, 2023 on eligible expenses incurred beginning on February 15, 2020 and ending on March 11, 2023. If the business permanently closed, the covered period will end when the business permanently closes or on March 11, 2023, whichever occurs sooner.

Eligible expenses include; payroll, sick leave, group health care, insurance, dental, vision, rent, utilities, supplies, maintenance, accounting, insurance, mortgage payments to include principal and interest, business food and beverage expenses, and raw materials. Operating expenses that would incur normally probably will be covered.

This program is not open yet and should open in the next week or so. Online applications are available right now that are subject to change if you want to get a jump on filling one out. Find out more by contacting your local SBDC or one can go to https://restaurants.sba.gov/.

To be eligible 2020 sales need to be lower than 2019. There is a provision to possibly qualify if you had expenses trying to open and because of the Pandemic you were unable. If you have received any Payroll Protection Program (PPP) money the amount received will be subtracted from any sales losses from prior year 2019. All is subject to change as the program has not officially rolled out yet.

Source: SBA.gov

ASK M&M is prepared and submitted by Mark Schmitt, director of the Small Business Development Center at Cochise College; and Mignonne Hollis, executive director at the Arizona Economic Development Foundation. To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Cochise College (520) 515-5478 or email schmittm@cochise.edu or contact the Arizona Regional’ Economic Development Foundation at (520) 458-6948 or email hollism@aredf.org; www.aredf.org.