(CNN)President Joe Biden on Wednesday promoted the newly launched Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which was established to help struggling restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Restaurants are more than a major driver of our economy, they’re woven into the fabric of our communities,” Biden said in a speech at the White House.
The President continued: “And so for many families, restaurants are the gateway to opportunity, a key part of the American story.”
Applications for the program opened on Monday. The $28.6 billion fund was established as part of the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill the President signed into law earlier this year.
The President will provide an update on his administration’s implementation of that law, which was Biden’s first and most pressing legislative priority since taking office, in the State Dining Room at the White House.
On Wednesday morning, Biden visited Taqueria Las Gemelas, a restaurant in Northeast Washington, DC, that he says was the first restaurant in the country to receive funds from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. He said the restaurant was awarded $677,000 from the program.
The President spoke with employees and picked up lunch, joking about how on the campaign trail his staff would sometimes eat tacos he was saving for himself.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the first awards as part of the pilot program will be receiving funds on Friday, and the businesses that started applying this week can expect up to 14 days, on average, from submission to finding.
“It will be a very rapid turnaround,” Psaki told reporters on Wednesday.
According to the White House, 186,200 restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and five US territories applied for relief through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund will provide restaurants with up to $10 million per business in funding to match their pandemic-related revenue losses, with no more than $5 million per physical location, according to the US Small Business Administration. The
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