‘Running on Faith’: Local Restaurants Seek Hope by Returning Restaurant Revitalization Fund
SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington restaurants got a glimmer of hope on Thursday with newly proposed funding.
Senator Patty Murray is pushing for a package of laws to change the US bailout. If passed, it would add $48 billion to the depleted Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). RRF is an equal amount of money lost by restaurants during the pandemic up to $10 million per business.
“Because [the pandemic] went on so long there wasn’t enough money and people just not because they didn’t qualify but because there wasn’t enough money people got been deprived,” Murray said.
Half of eligible restaurants were unable to receive the first $28 billion in RRF, including restaurant Spokane Wild Sage Bistro. They took out two PPP loans and several grants during the pandemic. For owner Tom Sciortino, FRR funding would be exactly what they need to start over.
“The revitalization funds are going to kind of pay off those loans and get us back to where we were before and kind of start with a clean slate,” Sciortino said.
He reiterated that today directly to the senator in a virtual panel discussion hosted by Senator Murray.
“It would be very welcome to see that and have that little edge, and take that stress off knowing you have a bit of that backup,” he told Murray.
Since early January, Wild Sage Bistro has been losing profits. One of Sciortino’s biggest fears is that they will one day shut down due to new variants and lose due to the pandemic.
“I mean it’s important, it’s a dialogue — everyone is so ready to end COVID and we’re just not,” he said. “The impact is still there for businesses.”
He hopes the law will be passed.
“At this point we are running on faith,” Sciortino said. “This revitalization fund is important because it supports us and lets us know we can carry on.”
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