The U.S. House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the COVID-19 relief package supported by the Biden Administration. The legislation will go to the president’s desk and is expected to be signed as soon as possible.
Breweries should take note of a few provisions in the legislation that could impact their business.
Creation of a Restaurant Revitalization Fund
Congress included $28.6 billion for the creation of a Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Modeled off the language of the RESTAURANTS Act (H.R. 793/S.255), the fund will provide grants to hospitality businesses, including breweries with less than 20 locations. The grant values would cover the difference between 2019 and 2020 revenues, with $10 million being the maximum amount a business can access. The grants are available to businesses that have received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans or grants, Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), but businesses should be aware that these programs will impact the amount of money a business can receive.
$5 billion of the $28.6 billion total is reserved for restaurants with less than $500,000 in gross receipts in 2019, for the first 60 days of the program. The first 21 days of funds will only be made available to restaurants that are women or veteran-owned, or socially and economically disadvantaged businesses.
Unlike some of the existing loan programs, businesses that opened in 2020 will also be able to apply for grants, to help cover the cost of eligible expenses incurred within that calendar year.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) will administer the program, but it will not go into effect immediately. The agency needs time to organize how they will implement the grants. The SBA is taking input from stakeholders and has been in contact with the Brewers Association. More information about requirements for the grants be found here.
The Brewers Association has been supportive of the RESTAURANTS Act, and advocated for language that allows brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, licensed facilities, or the premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products, all have access to the grants. We applaud the inclusion of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund in the American Rescue Plan and will keep working to pass the RESTAURANTS Act, which provides $120 billion in funding for grants. Breweries that want to contact their legislators can use the Brewers Association’s Contact Congress form. It is an easy-to-use form with a customizable letter that will let you easily contact your elected officials.
Extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit
The American Rescue Plan also extends the timeframe that employers can utilize the ERTC. Originally set to expire on June 30, 2021, it will now extend through December 31, 2021 for eligible employers. Information about the ERTC can be found in the Brewers Association’s breakdown of the 2020 year-end COVID-19 relief package.
The ERTC language also makes businesses that opened in 2020 and have less than $1 million in annual gross receipts eligible for the ERTC, with a maximum credit of $50,000/quarter. It also includes a new provision that expands the ERTC to allow certain “severely distressed businesses” to claim the credit for a greater share of employee wages.
Brewers Association members can learn more about the ERTC at the March 23 webinar The Advantages of the Employee Retention Credit.
Expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program
Expands PPP by providing an additional $7 billion in funding to the program and makes nonprofits such as 501(c)(5) labor and agricultural organizations eligible for funding through the program. As of now, applications for PPP loans close on March 31, 2021.
Once the legislation is signed into law, the Brewers Association will continue to provide our members with updates about the key part of the bill, including a webinar about how breweries can best access the grants available under the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
If you have any questions about the legislation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our federal affairs director Katie Marisic.