(The Center Square) – Iowa restaurants received 850 Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants for a state total of $122.1 million in funding through the American Rescue Plan Act.
The Iowa recipients included 318 rural and 532 urban businesses, 421 women-owned businesses, 161 socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, and 81 veteran-owned businesses. JRS Management Inc ($7.2 million), Holiday Inn/Fleur de Lis Motor Inns Inc. ($3.1 million), Campbell’s Concessions Corporation ($1.4 million), Iowa Golden Group LLC (Golden Corral) ($1.3 million), and MMG Davenport LLC (Golden Corral) ($1.2 million) received the highest amounts among Iowa businesses. Sixty-two businesses received amounts that were less than $10,000, for a total of $385,109.68.
Women, veterans, and socially or economically disadvantaged individuals received priority for the first 21 days of the program, which opened May 3. Eligible applications were then funded on a first-come, first-served basis.
U.S. Small Business Administration Iowa District Office Director Jayne Armstrong told The Center Square the funding is “a key lifeline” for restaurants’ survival. About one-third of Iowa applicants received funding, aligning with other states in the region that have a similar number of restaurants, she said.
As of June 30, the program had received more than 278,000 eligible applications for a total request of $72.2 billion, she said. Nationally, about 101,000 applicants received a portion of the $28.6 billion the fund provided.
“There are many reasons small [business] persons don’t participate in federal programs, including issues of independence and that may have come into play in Iowa,” Armstrong said. “Still, many more restaurant owners applied than the SBA was able to fund by June 30, 2021, when the funds were exhausted. Though it’s been closed to new applications, those who applied before are still in the portal in the order they were received, and we will do everything we can to meet provide relief through our other products.”
Hiring workers and COVID-19 vaccinations are two priorities for restaurants, Armstrong said.
“I think most restaurants will rebound in sales as the economy improves and more people get out and about in places where COVID 19 cases remain low,” she said. “We know that vaccinations have been critical to getting restaurants back open and Americans back to work. The overall reach and success of this program directly translates into sustained jobs and opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Americans and numerous Iowans as they return to the workforce.”
Businesses can claim tax credits through Sept. 30 to provide paid sick and family leave to their employees due to COVID-19 and for their employees to receive or recover from COVID-19 vaccines.
Restaurants and other small businesses may be eligible for the administration’s other COVID-19 economic relief programs, which include the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, the Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loans Advance, the Supplemental Targeted Advance, the Shuttered Venues Operator Grant, and the Community Navigators Pilot program.