Could Small Businesses Get More Federal COVID Relief Money in 2022?

A cross-party group of lawmakers is trying to expand the subsidies available to small businesses in the wake of the rapidly spreading omicron variant, Fox Business reports.

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator Roger Wicker are exploring possibilities for additional federal aid, including repackaging a bill that would replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

More COVID relief money for businesses in 2022?

The two former senators failed to pass a similar bill in August 2021, when an additional $48 billion was proposed to be allocated to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Fox Business now reports that the proposal has been reassembled through a combination of new spending and reallocation of unused funds authorized under previous packages.

The new proposal should provide an additional $68 billion for businesses such as restaurants and bars. Other small businesses that might benefit from the fund include food trucks, carts, beer bars, tasting rooms, and a variety of other food service establishments.

COVID Relief Money for Business and Omicron

Democrats originally created the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Program in March 2021 to provide grants to food and beverage providers that would offset the revenue loss they incurred during the pandemic. The original fund allowed a maximum of $10 million per business and $5 million per individual business location.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund began paying grants to small businesses from the following May after the fund was created, paying about $29 billion to eligible applicants. Successful applicants were allowed to use the grants to cover their daily expenses and supply costs, as well as pay for rent and utilities.

However, after awarding grants to more than 100,000 eligible companies, the fund quickly ran out of money in just under two months. Senators Cardin Wicker hopes to replenish their new bill, refill fund resources, and revitalize the food and beverage industry, amid concerns that 80% of restaurants may close this winter without additional help.

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