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Press Release

Rep. Castor Votes for New Aid for Tampa Restaurants and Small Businesses Previously Left Out

Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) voted to secure urgently needed relief for small businesses in the Tampa Bay area. The Relief for Restaurants & Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act will deliver $55 billion to replenish funding for Florida restaurants and establish a new program supporting other small businesses impacted by the pandemic. To date, Castor has secured historic support for small businesses and employees through Paycheck Protection Program loans, Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) Awards and Shuttered Venue Operators Grants in Florida’s 14th Congressional District.

“Our small businesses, restaurants and their employees are the lifeblood of Tampa’s economy and are helping power our historic economic recovery from Covid19,” said Castor. “In our American Rescue Plan, Democrats created the Restaurant Revitalization Fund: a lifeline for businesses to help them reopen, recover and rehire. To continue in our local recovery, I proudly voted for legislation that will build on that success: enabling restaurants that weren’t able to take advantage of this program the first time to access essential relief in the wake of the omicron wave, keep their lights on and employees on the payroll as we head into a busy summer season. I have heard from restaurant owners on how the first tranche of these funds supported them in the uncertainty of the pandemic, and the replenishment of the RRF will provide a leg up for even more local restaurants in the Tampa Bay area.

“This bill also will establish a new program to support Florida’s hardest-hit small businesses, our mom and pop shops – delivering assistance to businesses that have suffered revenue losses of at least 40 percent during the pandemic. I remain laser-focused on Building a Better America, and I will continue fighting to support the businesses and jobs that make our community so special. I urge the Senate to act with urgency and pass this legislation for all the small businesses counting on Congress to take action.”

Established through Democrats’ American Rescue Plan, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund distributed $28.6 billion to restaurants across the country – including $1.3B across the State of Florida. Due to its popularity, the program quickly exhausted its funding before more than 170,000 eligible businesses could access relief. The Relief for Restaurants & Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act will provide $42 billion to replenish the RRF so that these restaurants can apply for this assistance.

This legislation also takes action to support other struggling small businesses:

  • Providing $13 billion to establish the Hard Hit Industries Award Program, which will assist small businesses with 200 or fewer employees that have experienced 40 percent or more in lost revenue.
  • Updating the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program to provide Tampa entertainment venues with more time and flexibility to use federal relief funds.