Mayor Bill de Blasio, the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Jonnel Doris, and NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) Commissioner Anne del Castillo today launched Fair Share NYC: Restaurants, a program to connect restaurants to federal relief funds.

The federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) provides non-taxable grants to restaurants hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis. Individual restaurants may qualify for up to $5 million and restaurant groups may be eligible for up to $10 million in grant funding. MOME and the Office of Nightlife will support the program by conducting targeted outreach to restaurants in the coming weeks through email lists, social media, and third-party industry groups.

“New York City’s restaurants have worked tirelessly to keep the lights on, keep their workers employed, and keep their neighborhoods vibrant. Now, it’s time to connect them to the support they deserve,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We can’t afford to let local restaurants fall through the cracks, and I’m proud to give every establishment the resources to access federal assistance.”

Fair Share NYC: Restaurants will help eligible applicants secure these critical funds through:

  • Weekly webinars to review the RRF grant program and prepare their application
  • Virtual one-on-one sessions with trained counselors
  • Information about additional programs and services that can help your business

Fair Share NYC: Restaurants builds on the City’s larger initiative to help businesses affected by the pandemic to connect to federal funding, including Fair Share NYC: PPP which launched in January to connect businesses to PPP funds, and Curtains UP NYC which launched in February to provide free application assistance for NYC live performance businesses and nonprofits applying for the federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program. Since the beginning of the pandemic, SBS has assisted more than 4,000 businesses with over $294M in PPP applications and connected over 5,000 businesses with $142M in loans and grants.

“Restaurants are a driving force in New York City’s economy, providing jobs and building careers for thousands of New Yorkers,” said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Co-Chair of the Racial Inclusion and Equity Taskforce. “We are grateful to our federal partners for bringing these critical dollars to the City’s restaurant community, helping them recover from this pandemic.”

“The restaurant industry is essential to New York City’s social and economic fabric but has faced unprecedented financial challenges as we navigated the health crisis,” said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “SBS will continue to serve on the frontline of recovery by helping connect our City’s restaurants to this federal grant.”

“New York City can’t be the creative capital of the world without our restaurants,” said Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Anne del Castillo. “Restaurants are vital to our creative economy, serving as the pre-theater warm up, after show encore, or the main attraction that draws visitors from around the world to experience our unparalleled intersection of creativity and cuisine.”

“We know how essential our restaurant and hospitality industry is to New York City’s recovery and how difficult this past year has been for the industry,” said Executive Director of the Office of Nightlife at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Ariel Palitz. “We will continue to make sure our restaurants have the support, resources and guidance they need to get back on their feet.”

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund registrations will open on Friday, April 30. Applications will open on Monday, May 3. Anyone considering applying is urged to start organizing their application.

The federal government will prioritize veteran-, women-, and minority-owned businesses in the first 21 days of the RRF grant program. SBS will offer language line assistance in dozens of languages during one-on-one consultations. Small businesses should visit www.nyc.gov/restaurantfund or call 888-SBS-4NYC for more information.

“Our small businesses were hit very hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. While we promoted small businesses and restaurants extensively and encouraged people to take out and get food delivered throughout, the capacity restrictions have made it extremely difficult for restaurants to make themselves whole again. This program seeks to help restauranteurs access additional federal funds and I encourage business owners to participate,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.

“Our restaurants and small businesses define our city and have faced ultimate uncertainty through COVID-19. Many of us of have worked to ensure they stay afloat over the past several months. With federal relief on its way, it is critical that restaurants get the support they need. Thanks to the Mayor, MOME, and SBS helping these funds get to our cherished establishments,” said Council Member Keith Powers.

“The restaurant industry was one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic and I am truly excited that our City is working to facilitate connecting businesses to much-needed federal aid” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “Our restaurants have been crying out for relief and now that it’s been secured, it is critical that we funnel it to businesses as quickly as possible, but with an eye toward equity, prioritizing veteran, women, and minority owned businesses first. I look forward to working with the Mayor’s office, my colleagues at the federal level, and our local businesses to ensure this program’s success.”

“The Biden Administration is finally delivering on economic relief that we and our small business owners have been pleading for since the start of the pandemic. It is now up to the City to ensure success locally by connecting our struggling mom-and-pops to all available resources in culturally-competent ways. Building on our work to connect New York businesses to PPP loans and shuttered venue grants, Fair Share NYC: Restaurants can help ensure the widest applicant pool for this desperately-needed assistance,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.

“As a small business owner, I am elated that Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Jonnel Doris have created Fair Share NYC: Restaurants. The program will connect restaurants, especially those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, with federal relief funds,” said Melba Wilson, Owner, Melba’s Restaurant and President of the NYC Hospitality Alliance Board of Directors. “This will provide much needed support to the food and beverage sector, who are the second-largest employer in this country. As an industry that takes care of and supports so many others, it is great to know that the City is providing key ingredients to help the hospitality community revitalize.”

“New York City’s restaurant industry has been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the recently enacted Restaurant Revitalization Fund provides the sector with incredible support to help them survive, but that’s only if they can access the grant funding,” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director, NYC Hospitality Alliance. “That’s why, we commend Mayor the Blasio and the Department of Small Business Services for creating the Fair Share NYC program, which will provide our local restaurants with the information, guidance and support they need to apply and receive this critical funding, so they can keep on cooking and ensure New York City remains the restaurant capital of the world.”

“Fair Share NYC: Restaurants is such a smart initiative as so many people either aren’t aware or don’t understand what funding is available and how to access it,” said Jeremy S. Wladis, President, The Restaurant Group. “Love what the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services is doing to help small food service businesses in NYC!”

“We are thrilled to see the launching of Fair Share NYC: Restaurants. We want to thank Commissioner Doris for continuing to recognize and prioritize the needs of small businesses,” said Jeffrey Garcia, President & Co-Founder, NYS LRBLA. “This program will ensure that restaurants have resources to connect them with critical funding they need to continue to survive.”

Photo by Ilya Ilford on Unsplash