LAFAYETTE, La. — Restaurants who've struggled during the pandemic could soon see a step towards economic recovery. The Small Business Association launched their Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
They've set aside billions of dollars for food related businesses impacted by the pandemic. It's part of the American Rescue Plan Act that includes $28.6 billion to help restaurants and other eligible businesses remain open.
It's giving hope to some restaurants like Mama Reta's Kitchen in Lafayette. it's a business that's faced a financial hit from two disasters at once.
"My business was closed down for almost 3 months," Reta Durgan said. The first few months in the pandemic the restaurant had to close. "That affected my business, revenue, everything that I do. We came back again and was doing great, but then the Hurricane came and wiped everything out."
While managing through the pandemic, Hurricane Laura hit and destroyed the restaurant's original home in Lake Charles. That's when owner Reta Durgan decided to move her business to Lafayette.
While she's faced hardships over the past year, she's found a glimmer of hope that's being offered through a grant.
"It was very uplifting to me and gave me another push to do what I'm doing here, " Durgan said. "It'll help out with pay role, supplies and utility bills."
The new federal program will reportedly provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and up to $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding if the money is applied to eligible uses by March 11, 2023.
"We were at a time where we were going to lose a good bit of restaurants," Randy Daniel with the Louisiana Restaurant Association said.
He's referring to how the pandemic has impacted Acadiana restaurant. He says the grant is a step forward for restaurants who've been struggling.
"Really the timing is perfect. These restaurant need it. Our industry needs it to stay alive. In Acadiana we saw probably a 25 to 50 percent decrease in sales. We've had numerous restaurants close."
Certain groups are getting priority when it comes to applications. Restaurant owners who are women are included.
After the first 21 days of accepting applications, other restaurants can apply for the funding that's on a first come, first serve basis.
Registration and applications began on Monday, May 3. To register click here.