SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Restaurants and Bars were some of the hardest hit businesses during the pandemic. Starting next month, those small business owners will be able to apply for a new federal covid relief program.
The Restaurant Revitalization program will provide $28.6 billion dollars in relief grants to qualifying applicants across the country.
“We are doing very good this year, people are excited to get back outside,” Phillips Avenue Diner General Manager Tyler Hernandez said.
Phillips Avenue Diner is one of many Sioux Falls restaurants seeing business pick back up after COVID’s initial impact last spring.
“A lot of people were laid off, just a few salaried managers and cooks were still here,” Hernandez said.
While the customers have returned, getting enough employees to come back is still a challenge.
“We are hiring right now and it is tough,” Hernandez said. “We can only seat so many tables if kitchen can only push out so much food per hour.”
“It takes people to provide the goods and services, the owners can’t do it on their own. If they’re not all in place, this is a challenge for small businesses,” Jaime wood, The U.S. Small Business Administration South Dakota district director said.
Wood said workforce issues can mean a limit to revenue in the state’s restaurant industry, one of many issues the restaurant revitalization program is designed to help.
“These funds can be used to meet the bills that they have, paying the rent and utilities, paying the supply chain,” Wood said.
Any small business that gets at least a third of their revenue from onsite food or beverage sales can apply for the program, even if their revenue has rebounded.
“Being in South Dakota we are very fortunate we stayed open for a lot of the pandemic so that definitely helped us,” Hernandez said.
“We really encourage people to apply, even if you’re in a good place right now, we’ve been in such a disastrous time over the past year and we want our small businesses to sustain but also flourish and come out of this very strong,” Wood said. “All taxpayers have paid for these programs and we want to make sure that South Dakota businesses get their share of these resources to keep our economy strong.”
The SBA expects there to be a lot of competition for the funds. The first 21 days of the program is specifically for women, minority and veteran owned businesses. After that, all restaurants and bar owners will be able to apply.