The U.S. Small Business Administration has reportedly paused more than 2,900 approved applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. According to Nations Restaurant News and other news outlets, approved applicants received emails over the weekend from the SBA stating that the agency is “unable to pay [these] priority applicants” as a result of multiple lawsuits.
The rescinded RRF payments were earmarked for women and minority-owned businesses. Lawsuits filed by white business owners challenging the RRF policy’s prioritizing applicants for COVID-19 relief grants based on gender and race have created havoc for the federal program. Federal court rulings in Texas and Tennessee are responsible for halting the RRF payments.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was created in March when lawmakers directed the SBA, which manages the program, to include a 21-day exclusivity period for “socially and economically disadvantaged” business owners. During that time, only applications from women, military veterans were processed.