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SBA's 'Restaurant Revitalization Fund' aims to keep restaurants open, serving

The new funding is the first federal pandemic help exclusively for restaurants.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Restaurant owners trying to bounce back after a year operating during the COVID-19 pandemic have a new place to look to for help starting today.

Restaurants can now begin applying for funds from the Small Business Administration's "Restaurant Revitalization Fund.”

A year into the pandemic many restaurants are still recovering and business owners hope this grant money will give them much-needed relief.

What started as a vision for Maraja Jones has turned into a reality that she doesn't take for granted.

Jones opened her small restaurant, Sha Be' Be' Cajun Café, early in 2020 and, like so many businesses, she's feeling the impact operating for the past year during the pandemic.

The new relief fund is aimed at helping smaller, "mom and pop" places like Jones’ small place in the north end of Beaumont.

"It fluctuated a lot, tremendously, in the beginning. As we got used to living with corona we was able to service more people, especially, with the drive-thru,” Jones said of opening her restaurant at the start of the pandemic.

She says she plans on taking advantage of the SBA’s revitalization fund which offers $28.6 billion in grants as part of the "American Rescue Plan."

"Anything would help as far as like boosting the business, boosting the pay roll, boosting like as far as expenses it will be a help to the business more than anything,” she told 12News.

The new funding is the first federal pandemic help exclusively for restaurants.

While the SBA started accepting applications on Monday, for the first three weeks they will only be processing applicants from businesses run by women, veterans or those who come from an economically and social disadvantaged group.

"It can help you in your dreams, let's say you want some equipment anything it can help the business,” Jones said.

The fund’s minimum payments start at $1,000 and could go as high as $10 million.

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