Close to 1,000 Oregon restaurants, bars and other food and beverage establishments are receiving relief funds through a federal program spearheaded by Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer. On May 17, Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR3) and Small Business Administration Administer Isabella Casillas Guzman announced that 960 Oregon businesses received grants through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a $28.6-billion program that has so far issued $6 billion in relief to food and beverage businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus far, 38,000 U.S. businesses owned by women, veterans and people of color have received funds through the program, with an average award amount of $143,000. In Oregon, grant funds of $138 million are being distributed.
Blumenauer was the author of the legislation that created the restaurant relief program, which was signed into law as part of the American Rescue Plan. After seeing high demand for the program's first round of funding—which prioritized businesses owned by women, veterans and POC—Blumenauer and a bipartisan group of senators and representatives announced May 12 that they'd work to replenish the fund to allow more food and beverage business to apply and receive relief. Businesses can use funds to cover payroll, business mortgages or rent, utilities or other operating expenses.The application window runs through May 24th.