Coronavirus: How the American Rescue Plan is helping Jacksonville restaurants

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The $1.9 trillion stimulus bill signed into law will do a lot more than give those who qualify $1,400 in their bank account.

$28.6 billion of that will be going towards the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

COVID-19 Vaccine: Pregnant women can get COVID-19 vaccines at certain Jacksonville vaccination sites

Restaurants have been among the hardest hit from the pandemic.

That’s why many believe this relief fund will be instrumental for the continued survival and recovery for local restaurants.

“It’s been a tough year for all restaurant owners across Florida,” explained Blue Bamboo Canton Bistro owner Dennis Chan.

Chan tells Action News Jax he feels lucky. He was able to keep all of his staff on board through this past year.

“We’ve just been able to build a restaurant that’s friendly for this environment,” says Chan.

There are more than 55,000 restaurants in the state, and roughly 10,000 of those have closed their doors since the pandemic began.

It’s an alarming number, but the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association says it is doing much better than many other states.

“Our numbers are better than almost any other state,” explains Carol Dover, CEO and President of FRLA.

Dover says, “We’re hoping to see some of those that sadly had to close the doors consider reopening.”

The money will be for restaurant owners with 20 or fewer locations, with tax-free grants of up to $5 million per location. The program also sets aside money for minority-owned businesses.

Local News: Fire Watch seeking ‘Watch Standers’ to help veterans in crisis, prevent veteran suicide

Chan adds, “Hopefully this stimulus will be a lifeline for those restaurants who had to put in so much money with the loss of sales.”

FRLA has a breakdown of the requirements the SBA will need for the grants at the following website: https://frla.org/