House Passes COVID Bill, Restaurants to Receive $28.6 Billion

The House of Representatives passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill Wednesday, which will now head to the president’s desk for signature.

The passage comes almost two months after Biden first announced the plan. The legislation, otherwise known as the American Rescue Plan, includes the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, or $28.6 billion in direct grants for small and independent restaurants.

“This is a story about people who came together that decided that we’re going to  help each other and the entire industry,” said Tom Colicchio, owner of Craft Hospitality and co-founder of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, in a statement. “The Independent Restaurant Coalition did not exist a year ago…when you think about doing what we did in a year, [This bill] is unprecedented. Every single person on this call. Every single member of the IRC. I love these people. I would go to war with them.”

Food and drink entities with 20 locations or fewer will qualify for grants up to $10 million per company and $5 million per physical location. The grants may cover such items as payroll (excluding employee compensation exceeding $100,000 per year), employee benefits and paid sick leave; mortgage, rent, and utilities; outdoor seating construction; supplies, PPE, and cleaning materials; food; operational expenses; and debt obligation to suppliers.