COVID-19 Updates: California Continues Push to Boost Vaccinations; U.S. Small Business Agency Launches Restaurant Revitalization Program

This week, California continued the effort to vaccinate hard-to-reach communities against the coronavirus and the U.S. Small Business Administration opened applications for bars and restaurants to seek emergency assistance.

As part of the vaccination push, the Governor’s office released a PSA in which Governor Gavin Newsom and former Governors Edmund G. Brown Jr., Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gray Davis and Pete Wilson encourage all Californians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I got my shot,” the Governors say in the video. “Don’t miss your shot.”

As of May 6, more than 31 million vaccines have been administered statewide, according to the state website at

The website at includes links for visitors to check for available vaccination appointments and get answers to common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, such as how it works and what to expect after vaccination.

Restaurant Revitalization

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the $28.6 billion program created by the American Rescue Plan Act signed in March, aims to provide restaurants and other eligible businesses with funding to help them stay open.

Restaurants can receive funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as the funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.

Eligible businesses include: restaurants; food stands, food trucks, food carts; caterers; bars, saloons, lounges, taverns; snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars; bakeries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts); brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts); breweries and/or microbreweries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts); wineries and distilleries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts); inns (onsite sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts); licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products.

Funds may be used for: business payroll costs (including sick leave); payments on any business mortgage obligation; business rent payments (not including prepayment of rent); business debt service (both principal and interest, but not including any prepayment of principal or interest); business utility payments; business maintenance expenses; construction of outdoor seating; business supplies (including protective equipment and cleaning materials); business food and beverage expenses (including raw materials); covered supplier costs and business operating expenses.

The SBA is prioritizing review of applications from “priority groups” through May 24 (the 21st day after applications opened on May 3) and will open the process to other eligible applicants thereafter until the funds are exhausted.

Priority groups include small businesses that are at least 51% owned by one or more individuals who are women, veterans or socially and economically disadvantaged.

Socially disadvantaged individuals are “those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities.”

Economically disadvantaged individuals are “socially disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same business who are not socially disadvantaged.”

Program Information

The SBA has posted a five-minute overview of the application process on YouTube, along with recordings of the longer webinars explaining the application process.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund program guide and a sample application form, along with details on the documentation required, are available in the COVID-19 relief options section of the SBA website at