The new stimulus check train just keeps rolling along.
Just days after we noted that the IRS has now sent out the eighth batch of $1,400 stimulus checks — totaling 1.1 million new payments — as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that President Biden signed in March, the president on Monday announced that a whole new batch of stimulus checks has now started to go out to a very specific group of recipients. They are the restaurants that have been “hard-hit” by the coronavirus pandemic, with the administration confirming those new relief payments started going out on Monday. It’s money that is part of a $28.6 billion pool of financial aid called the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which itself was made possible by the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Also important to mention is that this money is a grant, not a loan — so, for example, it’s distinct from the Trump administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which facilitated emergency loans to businesses.
Certainly, the administration’s announcement that payments have started to go out to restaurants is welcome news for an industry that’s been disproportionately affected in a major way by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to CBS News, almost half of all restaurant industry workers lost their jobs in the first few months of the pandemic. And even though vaccines have helped the US make big strides in its recovery from the pandemic, the restaurant industry is still down 1.8 million jobs from February of 2020.
The White House on Monday released a fact sheet about this new restaurant industry program and the related funding, which notes that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund — intended to aid restaurants, bars, food trucks, and other food and drink establishments — will help restaurants and bars hire back workers “at good wages.” In the first two days of the program being live, the White House adds that some 186,200 restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses in all 50 states, as well as in Washington, DC, and five US territories, applied for relief.
“Today, the Administration is sending the first grants under the program to 16,000 hard-hit restaurants,” the White House’s announcement adds. “These include restaurants in states and territories throughout the country, and restaurants owned and controlled by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.”
Beyond this, let’s also not forget — this is not the only new stimulus money rolling out to Americans. Thanks to an expansion of the federal child tax credit, for example, yet another new round of stimulus checks distributed monthly will start rolling out in July. Here’s how eligibility for the federal child tax credit payments breaks down: If you’re part of a married couple earning $150,000 in total or less, or are an individual making $75,000 or less, you’ll get $250 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17 from July through December for a total of $1,500 (6 months x $250). You’ll get $300 for each child under the age of 6. The balance of the $3,600 will come as a tax credit next year.