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*Click HERE for more information on COVID-19 business relief programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program, Employee Retention Tax Credit, and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

**The information below should not be taken or misconstrued as financial or legal advice. We strongly encourage you to speak with an accountant, tax professional, or attorney before making any decisions that may have a financial impact on your business. 

The information below includes only programs created by or changed by the American Rescue Plan Act. We will continue to update this information as it becomes available. The North Country Chamber of Commerce will also be planning a webinar in the near feature on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant program - stay tuned. 

American Rescue Plan Act 2021

On March 11th, 2021, the president signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act - a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill that:

  • Creates the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), a new grant program for restaurants and other food/drinking establishments
  • Includes additional funding and expanded eligibility for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program
  • Includes additional funding and expanded eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
  • Includes additional funding for the Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance program
  • And much more

A summary of the key provisions of the bill and other resources can be found below. 

Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grants

The American Rescue Plan Act created the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) a new $28.6 billion grant program, to be administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  An eligible business may receive a tax-free federal grant equal to the amount of its pandemic-related revenue loss.

Of the $28.6 billion, $5 billion is set aside for restaurants and food/drinking establishments that had less than $500,000 of revenue in 2019.

Grant Size

For most eligible entities, it will be calculated by subtracting 2020 gross receipts from 2019 gross receipts.

If the business was not in operation for the entirety of 2019, the total is the difference between 12 times the average monthly gross receipts for 2019 and the average monthly gross receipts in 2020 (or another yet to be determined formula from the SBA).

Grants for the restaurant relief fund will be up to $10 million per entity, with a limitation of $5 million per physical location, up to 20 locations.


Most restaurants and bars that lost revenue in 2020 compared to 2019 will be eligible to apply for RRF grants.

  • Eligible: Restaurant, food stand, food truck, food cart, caterer, saloon, inn, tavern, bar, lounge, brewpub, tasting room, taproom, licensed facility or premise of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products, or other similar place of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink.
  • Ineligible: Publicly traded companies; owners that operate more than 20 restaurants/bars; restaurants/bars owned by a state or local government.

Note: Franchise owners who operate less 20 locations may be eligible to apply but more information from the SBA is required to make a firm determination.

Eligible Expenses

The RRF grants are only able to be used on specific, allowable expenses. These expenses include:

  • Payroll costs
  • Payments of principal or interest on any mortgage obligation
  • Rent payments, including rent under a lease agreement
  • Utilities
  • Maintenance, including construction to accommodate outdoor seating/dining
  • Supplies, including PPE and cleaning materials
  • Certain covered supplier costs
  • Operational expenses
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • Normal food and beverage inventory
  • Other expenses that the SBA determines to be essential to maintaining operations

Interaction with PPP and Other Relief Programs

Restaurants and other food/drinking establishments who have received or will receive a first draw and/or second draw PPP loan will still be eligible to apply for this grant program. Funds must be used to cover losses above and beyond what the PPP loan(s) covered. 

Entities can not have applied for nor received a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG).

Prepare to Apply

The SBA has not yet released program guidelines, nor has a launch date for the program been set. However, eligible applicants can do a few things now to get read for the application process.

  • Receive a DUNS number (if you do not already have one)
  • Register for the System of Award Management (SAM)
  • Begin working with your accountant to prepare paperwork that clearly shows loss in gross receipts in 2020 compared to 201.

More information is forthcoming.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program
A Grant Program for Live Venue Operators, Talent Representatives, Independent Movie Theaters, Museums, and Other Cultural Institutions

The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) grant program will provide eligible applicants with grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, capped at $10 million. $2 billion in this program is reserved for eligible applicants with 50 or fewer full-time employees. 

Changes and updates to the SVOG program include:

Expanded Eligibility

  • Eligible applicants can now apply for both a SVO grant and a PPP loan. Previously, businesses who had applied for or received a PPP loan after December 27th, 2020, were not eligible to receive an SVO grant.

Additional Funding

  • An additional $1.25 billion has been allocated to the program

For more information on the SVOG, click here.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The CARES Act created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides funds necessary to sustain their operations and keep their workers employed. In general, borrowers can receive a loan amount of up to 2.5x (or 3.5x if NAICS 72) the average monthly payroll costs in the one year prior to the loan or the calendar year.

As of March 30th, 2021, the deadline to apply for a PPP loan has been extended until May 31st, 2021.

Changes and updates to the program include:

Additional Funding

  • An additional $7.25 billion have been allocated for PPP loans to qualifying businesses

Expanded Eligibility

  • Larger non-profit organizations
  • Certain nonprofits that engage in limited lobbying and advocacy efforts
  • Online only news-outlets

For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program, click here.

Targeted Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance Grants

The EIDL program is designed to provide economic relief via low-interest loans to small businesses, agricultural businesses, and private nonprofits that are experiencing a loss in revenue due to the COVID pandemic.

The American Rescue Plan Act allocates an additional $15 billion for the Targeted EIDL Advance program which provides up to $10,000 grants to businesses that applied for the original EIDL advance grant in 2020 and received less than they were eligible for. The U.S. Small Business Administration will contact these businesses directly to notify them of their eligibility.

The SBA is still currently accepting applications for the loan only component of the EIDL program. Applications are completed online and submitted directly to the SBA. For more information or to apply, click here.

Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC)

This bill extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) program through the end of 2021, allowing eligible employers to claim the credit for all four (4) quarter this year; previously employers could only claim quarters 1 &2. This means that employers could, in theory, claim up to $7,000 per employee per quarter – for a maximum credit of $28,000 per employee in 2021. 

The act also removes the 500-employee limitation on qualifying wages to severely distressed employers (those who experienced a 90% or greater reduction in gross receipts when compared to the same quarter in 2019). This change only applies to quarters 3 and 4 in 2021.

Start-up businesses (those started after February 15, 2020) that had $1 million or less in average gross receipts for a specified period of time can now claim the credit but the credit is limited to $50,000 per quarter. This change only applies to quarters 3 and 4 in 2021.

More information is forthcoming, check the ERTC page on the IRS website frequently.

Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Grant Program

This bill establishes a new $3 billion payroll support grant program to ensure the continued retention, rehiring, and/or recall of employees in the aviation manufacturing industry. This grant program will be administered by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

This 6-month grant program will cover 50% of employees’ total compensation level (including health care benefits) while employers will be responsible for the other 50% - it specifically excludes employees with a total compensation level of $200,000 or more per year.

Eligible Employers

  • An employer must demonstrate that there is a need based upon (1) having involuntarily furloughed or laid off 10 percent of its workforce or (2) having experienced at least a 15 percent in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019
  • Eligible employers are aviation manufacturing companies that: (1) are actively manufacturing an aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, or a component, part, or systems of an aircraft or aircraft engine under a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) production approval; (2) hold an FAA certificate for maintenance, repair, and overhaul of aircraft, aircraft engines, components, or propellers; or (3) operates a process certified to SAE AS 9100 related to the design, development or provision of aviation products and services.
  • Eligible companies are those that have significant operations and a majority of its employees engaged in aviation manufacturing activities based in the United States.

More information is forthcoming.

Community Navigator Grants

This bill allocated $100 million for community navigator grants to organizations that help small businesses navigate the COVID assistance programs and take advantage of the relief programs available. It also includes $75 million for outreach and education programs.

Through the Community Navigator Pilot Program, the SBA will engage with states, local governments, SBA resource partners, and other organizations in targeted outreach for small businesses in underserved communities.

The SBA is implementing this initiative by building upon its extensive network of resource partners across the country. To ensure the Community Navigator Pilot Program reaches communities across the country in the coming months, SBA will soon be announcing a new grant funding opportunity that will be open to proposals from SBA resource partners, states, tribes, units of local governments, and other nonprofit organizations.

For more information, click here.

Extension of Federal Unemployment Provisions

  • Extends the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program
    • Extends the additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits through September 6th, 2021
    • For households with income under $150,000, the first $10,200 in unemployment benefit payments will be nontaxable

For more information on unemployment insurance in NYS, or to apply, click here.

Direct Payments

The American Rescue Plan Act provides funds for a third economic impact payment to qualifying individuals.

Individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000 will receive the full direct payment totaling $1,400 per person and an additional $1,400 payment for each dependent claimed on their taxes.

Payments will phase out for individuals making more than $80,000 and couples making more than $160,000.

For more information, check the IRS website frequently.


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