CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Restaurants that have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic have a chance to get some help.
Applications are now being accepted for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The program provides funding equal to that business’s pandemic-related revenue loss, which can amount up to $10 million per business.
“I still think it’s an amazing program for those other businesses that have suffered so terribly during this time."
Marlies Laaper is the owner of Cafe You- a coffee shop on Cape Coral. Similar to many local businesses, Laaper’s suffered a setback during the Covid-19 pandemic.
”Although in the first half of the year we took a huge hit revenue wise, in the second half of the year it really picked up a lot," she says. "Particularly when season started toward the end of the year we became extremely busy and we’ve had some of our best months since we opened the restaurant in the last six months.”
One factor that the fund does not take into consideration, however, are business costs. As Laaper points out, it only looks at business revenue.
“Really, we’re ahead of the game- we weren’t behind," says Laaper. "You have to have a deficit in the year of 2020 once you take into account your PPP loan and so we’re not able to take advantage of this program.”
It’s caused Laaper and her business to be unqualified for the program. Something other businesses might have in common. It also poses another problem- as many paying expenses have gone up.
“The price of gloves have gone up more than three times what they were pre-Covid," said Laaper. "A box of one thousand gloves would have been around $30 before the pandemic and they’re now close to $100 for a box. There’s a lot of things that have gone up in price, that’s just one small example. Take out containers- there’s such a huge demand for them that the prices have skyrocketed for those as well.”
While Laaper’s business will be alright, it’s an issue that may cause some businesses to take a step back and reassess.
“There’s a real squeeze on the revenues in the restaurant business and I think a lot of people are going to have to consider whether they’re still worthwhile continuing considering that situation," she says. "The fund is amazing but there are more issues that need to be addressed along the way, or considered at least.”
There are certain requirements in order for those businesses to apply for funding. You can find more information online right here.