The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was part of the American Rescue Plan that passed in March. It provided $26.8 billion to businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, over 362,000 businesses applied for $75 billion in assistance in less than a month.
The fund got 3 times as many requests as it actually had the money to support, so a group of lawmakers are calling for an extra $60 billion in Covid relief money.
According to Senator Kyrsten Sinema, getting this money will help to make a full economic recovery.
The lawmakers say the additional funding would not only cover existing applications but would also let the Small Business Administration keep reaching out to businesses affected by the pandemic.
”While it appears that our work to prioritize restaurants most in need was successful in the first round, the extraordinary demand for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund shows that many more businesses still desperately need help,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer.
While no Republicans voted for the original plan, GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania who is helping to lead the effort, called for a bipartisan effort in passing the bill.
“Our restaurants are now beginning to recover from a year of lost revenue, but many establishments are still hurting and have not been able to access aid for which they are eligible. Replenishing this fund would help restaurants, their staff, and the broader food supply chain as they continue to get back on their feet,” said GOP Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
Last month, restaurants and bars helped to increase employment by adding 189,000 jobs, but places are still employing 12% fewer people as they were prior to the pandemic. Without more funds, some restaurants may never be able to reopen and some of the ones that are open may have to close.