COLORADO SPRINGS — The pandemic hit very hard for those in the food and drink industry. As part of the American Rescue Plan, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund has $28.6 billion reserved for everything from restaurants to brewpubs to food carts.
Senator John Hickenlooper visited Atrevida Beer Company on Wednesday to discuss how these new grants will work and talk with local business owners. The grants are different from the Paycheck Protection Program, being more flexible when it comes to who can get the money or how it is spent. "I don't think any of these dollars are going to make anybody rich. I think they may give us the opportunity to stay open, another month or two," said Rich Fierro of Atrevida Beer Company.
Nina Lee, one of the owners of 503W, also spoke at the press conference on Wednesday. She said one of the biggest challenges her restaurant faces is hiring back staff who make more on unemployment. "I'm not trying to discredit unemployment by any means, I know it's there for a reason, but right now we're struggling because so many of us don't have the staff now, and can't find the staff, because of the unemployment situation," said Lee.
The applications are not yet open for these grants. Senator Hickenlooper's office believes they should become available soon. Once they are, minority, veteran, and women-owned businesses will have priority for the first 21 days.
Grant applications are now being accepted for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant to help struggling music and entertainment venues stay in business during the pandemic. Apply here with sba.gov.