The federal government’s main financial aid program for small businesses devastated by the pandemic ran out of funding on Tuesday, May 4 – four weeks before it was scheduled to end.
Congress allocated $292 billion to fund the most recent round of loans in the Paycheck Protection Program. The Small Business Administration, which manages the program, informed lenders, and their trade groups, that nearly all PPP funds had been tapped ahead of the application deadline of May 31.
In related news, the SBA began accepting applications this week for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants, which is authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act.
The National Automatic Merchandising Association, which has been fighting in Congress daily to expand small business aid programs, expects RRF funds to also run out soon.
“There’s still a lot of small businesses, including vending operators, that are hurting because of the pandemic,” observed NAMA senior director of external affairs Mike Goscinsk, who urges operators who provide catering and other food services to consider applying for RRF grants.
The RRF online application will remain open to any eligible establishment or food operation until the program's $28.6 billion is exhausted. NAMA has been working with the SBA to recognize vending and micro market operators who provide “blended” services that include food provisions.