Pier 39 Sports Bar a textbook example of how the government screwed up COVID relief for restaurants

The federal government offered $ 28.6 billion in subsidies to struggling restaurants this summer. Then they ripped the carpets out of restaurants that had already received the money and instead gave it to chains like Panera.

Today’s New York Times business section has a profile and a vivid photo of Fisherman’s Wharf Players Sports Grill and Arcade bar, which is normally a reason for a business to celebrate. But this is no reason for this company to celebrate. The reason the players got a long article in The New York Times is because they were among the thousands of restaurants nationwide that were completely screwed up by the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a Biden government grant fund of $ 28.6 billion which took away grants from people who had already received money. , and rewarded last-minute contestants and huge chains versus independent operators who spent weeks arguing.

“Government aid shouldn’t be a lottery,” Players owner James Hutton told The Times. The Times recounts how Restaurant Hutton submitted a meticulously prepared application the minute the grant portal opened, but it was denied. Meanwhile, some lazy people who applied on the very last day got $ 1.8 million from the fund.

It’s not even the worst sci-fi restaurant horror story with the fund. Some restaurant owners were told the government was giving them a million dollars or more, only to get slapped six weeks later with an email from the government’s Small Business Association (SBA) completely rescinding their promise.

Screenshot: SBA Email

SFist obtained this rejection email from the SBA, seen above. “We regret to inform you that due to recent court decisions the SBA will not be able to disburse your Restaurant Revitalization Fund award,” the email read. “These lawsuits have led to three court decisions preventing us from paying you the award funds.”

The phrase “These lawsuits” refers to legal motions from a group of conservative trolls co-founded by Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows (who has problems these days), who managed to overthrow the Fund’s priority. restaurant revitalization on Women, POCs and Veterans. owned restaurants.

Broke-Ass Stuart reported in June that Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack had its grant canceled. Eater recounted how the veteran-owned Buena Vista Cafe was also made redundant thanks to a grant already awarded, while Eater SF reported that the group of women-owned restaurants behind Marlowe, Petit Marlowe and Leo’s Oyster Bar was denied nearly $ 10 million. the SBA had already promised them.

And most infuriatingly, the Chronicle reported in July that cheese chains Panera and Peet’s Coffee got $ 10 million each, which was not canceled.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed Congress would add more money to the program, but summer recess did come and it never happened. The executive director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition told The Times: “Congress has gone home and the restaurants and bars in their neighborhood are going bankrupt.

And now, with another wave of COVID looming, these restaurants are still on their own and hanging by a thread.

Related: San Francisco nonprofit raises $ 399,000 for queer nightlife workers, hits fundraising goals [SFist]

Image: William B. via Yelp

About Christopher Easley

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