Congressman C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD) highlighted the impact of emergency federal funding for Maryland restaurants and arts and entertainment venues sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Rescue Plan’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) provided more than $40 million in grants to struggling eateries throughout Maryland’s 2nd District alone. Another $22.7 million aided museums, galleries, theaters, music festivals and more under the bill’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program.

The Congressman visited Myrie’s Island Kitchen in Randallstown, which received a grant that owner Christine Mattis-Myrie used to pay her rent and employees. He also visited the Chesapeake Arts Center, a nonprofit community arts center in Anne Arundel County’s Brooklyn Park that received a grant under the SVOG program.

“As the owners and executives of these nonprofits and small businesses can attest, the American Rescue Plan was an invaluable lifeline that literally kept the lights on and people fed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ruppersberger said. “As a lawmaker, nothing is more rewarding than seeing the positive impact of federal policy-making right here in our own backyards and knowing that these employers will now be able to support jobs and serve our communities for years to come.”

In all, 163 restaurants, food stands and trucks, bars and breweries in Maryland’s 2nd District received grants from the RRF. Another 20 venue operators, promoters, live-event producers, galleries and theaters in the district received funding under the SVOG program. Statewide, the RRF provided more than $561 million in restaurant grants and the SVOG provided $158 million in grants for arts and cultural venues.

Both programs were administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, which awarded grants based on 2019 revenues and pandemic-related losses. Funding could be spent on a wide range of expenses including mortgages or rent, utilities, supplies, food and beverage inventory, payroll, and operational expenses.