NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Another lifeline is now available for restaurants struggling during the pandemic. It’s called the Restaurant Revitalization Fund from the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

The application portal opened on Monday. More than $28 billion has been set aside for the SBA program.

For the last two and a half years, Angela Sauer has built her business from the ground up. Since the pandemic hit, the Goodlettsville bakery has slowly recovered. 

"We are starting to be able to breathe. We are not holding our breath anymore,” Angela Sauer, Owner of Healthy Body Bakery said.

To stay afloat, Sauer used the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP. 

Along with keeping workers on the payroll, the program covered expenses like rent, utilities, and the mortgage for a business. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration now has another program. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund covers operating expenses, construction of outdoor seating, and business debt. 

"This is a way for them to hang on and get the support that they need so they can continue operations,” LaTanya Channel with the U.S. Small Business Administration said. 

The SBA said the money provided is not a loan. The agency pointed out other differences between the PPP and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. 

“Your expenses can go back to 2020 and all the way into 2023. So, you can plan for expenses,” Channel said. 

Businesses owned by women, veterans, and minorities will be given priority. For Sauer, she plans to apply. 

"I hope it maybe puts us back in a position where we were to open a second store,” Sauer said. 

Until then, she's taking it week by week. 

"You have a great week and you think, ok, we're back. Then you have one that's not so much. Ok, well maybe. So, we're pacing ourselves and just loving on people and doing what we do,” Sauer said. 

After completing the application, the SBA says you can expect the money within 14 days. Businesses must use the money by March of 2023.

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