August 2 — Senate Small Business Committee Hosts Hearing, Urges Small Business Administration to Distribute All Available EIDL Funds

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Senate Small Business Committee Hosts Hearing, Urges Small Business Administration to Distribute All Available EIDL Funds

Independent Restaurant Coalition Supports SBC and Letter Signed by 48 Senators, Reiterates Urgency of Helping Struggling Businesses

177,300 Restaurants Applied for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant Spring 2021 and Are Still Waiting for Help; 80% Risk Closing Permanently Without Assistance

WASHINGTON D.C. (August 2, 2022) – Today, the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) commended the Senate Small Business Committee (SBC) for conducting a hearing, urging the Small Business Administration (SBA) to immediately utilize the $800 million in COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) subsidy that remains available and would allow the SBA to provide more than $7 billion in additional loans. 

“The SBA has the opportunity to provide a desperately needed lifeline for tens of thousands of the independently owned restaurants and bars that have been waiting for relief. We demand the SBA do what is right and quickly distribute all available EIDL funds. The IRC is grateful for the support of the SBC and the 48 Senators for taking action and holding the SBA accountable,” says Erika Polmar, Executive Director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition. 

EIDL was created by Congress in March 2020 to provide fixed-rate, low-interest, long-term capital to small businesses struggling due to the pandemic. The program has been especially useful to small businesses that do not have strong banking relationships. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the program has provided loans to four million small businesses, totaling nearly $380 billion.

On July 15, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), along with 44 Senators sent a letter to SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman urging the SBA to process COVID EIDL applications that were received prior to the agency’s May 6, 2022 deadline.

“We’ve been fighting for over 29 months to secure long-term relief for the hundreds of thousands of small, independently owned restaurants and bars that are waiting for help. The SBA has the opportunity to help save millions of jobs and small businesses by swiftly taking action and distributing the remaining EIDL and RRF funds. There is no time to waste,” says Polmar.

While the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) helped over 100,000 restaurants recover from the pandemic, there are still hundreds of thousands of restaurants who didn’t receive a grant and continue to struggle to stay open. Over 80% of restaurants that did not receive an RRF grant reported they are on the verge of permanent closure. At least 90,000 restaurants and bars have closed since the beginning of the pandemic. Distributing all remaining EIDL funds will provide these small businesses with a much-needed lifeline. 

This spring, the IRC released data collected from a survey of nearly 1,200 members of the independent restaurant and bar community in all 50 states that demonstrates the dire situation the pandemic has created for businesses, especially those that did not receive federal RRF grants. Other stats include:

·   42% of businesses that did not receive RRF grants are in danger of filing for or have filed for bankruptcy, compared to just 20% that received RRF grants.

·   28% of businesses that did not receive RRF grants have received or are anticipating receiving an eviction notice compared to just 10% that received RRF grants.

·   Restaurant and bar owners who did not receive an RRF grant are taking on more personal debt. 41% of people that did not receive RRF reported taking out new personal loans to support their businesses since February of 2020. This is only true for 19% of businesses that received an RRF grant.



Founded in March 2020 by the restaurant and bar community, the IRC began with a singular mission — to save independent restaurants and bars impacted by COVID-19. The IRC represents the unique needs of the independent restaurant and bar community across the country, and has grown into a grassroots movement empowering more than 150,000 independent restaurant and bar owners, suppliers, workers and diners to take action and advocate for the policies that will create a sustainable future for independent restaurateurs, their employees, and the communities they support. For more information, please visit

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PRESS CONTACT:  Sarah Abell, [email protected]