It is anticipated that the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the $1.9 Trillion stimulus package titled the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 as soon as Friday evening, February 26.
The bill includes provisions extending the enhanced Federal unemployment benefits under the current stimulus acts until August 2021, providing for $1,400 stimulus payments to families, and enhancing funding available for vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing. Approximately $350 billion of funds would be provided to states, cities, U.S. territories and tribal governments. The bill has additional amendments to the Paycheck Protection Program which expand eligibility criteria, which if passed, will no doubt be beneficial for Vermont small businesses, as well as some other programs for small businesses, summarized here. One key program for our food and beverage clients, including our hard hit restaurants, is the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, set forth in Section 6003 of the bill. If passed, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will provide $25 billion for assistance to restaurants, in the form of grants of up to $10 million per entity. $5 billion of the fund is set aside for restaurants with less than $500,000 in annual revenue. As proposed, the grants may be used to pay mortgages/rent, payroll and costs for supplies, utilities, food and beverages and other operational expenses.