FILE - Restaurant worker waiter waitress

(The Center Square) – The U.S. Small Business Administration has begun releasing more financial aid to restaurants nationwide.

The money will come from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which will use its remaining $83 million of COVID-19 relief money to help small restaurants with under 20 locations.

"It is $83 million. That is what the department ... said they would release, we were pushing for $180 million," said Sam Toia of the Illinois Restaurant Association. "But every little bit helps right now."

Over 160 restaurants nationwide will be eligible for the funding through the RRF, and Toia believes Illinois will get some of that funding.

"This is good for the 169 RRF applicants at the front of the queue," Toia said. "I do not know exactly how many out of the 169 are from Illinois, but I can guarantee some are from Illinois."

Toia said the funding could fill many holes Illinois restaurants see in their everyday operations.

"They can use it for operating costs and all of that. It is not like you can use this money for personal use," Toia told The Center Square. "It has got to be for the business, rent, fixed costs, labor cost, all of that can be addressed with this funding."

Illinois restaurants that are selected to receive funding will receive the funds within a couple of days, and the money must be spent by the end of the program in March 2023.

Staff Reporter

Andrew Hensel reports on issues in Chicago and Statewide. He has been with The Center Square News since April of 2021 and was previously with The Joliet Slammers.