On May 3, 2021, the application process for The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) opened to provide emergency funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the RRF was established to provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.
Both registration and the application for RRF are now open, and it is anticipated that funds may deplete quickly, so you are encouraged to learn more about your eligibility for the RRF as soon as possible and use care to ensure your application is correct.
There are a number of other important developments that owners of food and beverage establishments in New York State should be aware of. A few of the highlights are as follows:
- The 12:00 a.m. food and beverage service curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining areas beginning May 17th for outdoor dining areas, and on May 30th for indoor dining areas. Additionally, the 1:00 a.m. curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result will be lifted beginning May 17th, and curfews for all catered events are set to be lifted on May 31st. Owners are reminded that food and beverage service hours may be further limited by the county in which they operate or any stipulations on their alcoholic beverage license.
- The requirement that bars and restaurants must serve an item of food with purchase of the first alcoholic beverage is no longer in place. However, this guidance does not change the requirement that an item of food be purchased with any “to go” sale of alcoholic beverages at an on-premises retailer. Additionally, restaurants and bars holding a retail license are reminded that they are required to have food available for consumption in accordance with their license, irrespective of any COVID-19 restrictions in place.
- Beginning on May 19th, bars and restaurants will no longer be subject to any indoor capacity limits, but businesses must continue to adhere to other COVID-19 precautions, including mask-wearing and social distancing.
- Bar seating in New York City may now resume.