The U.S. House of Representatives has approved the Relief for Restaurants & Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act, which will deliver $55 billion to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and establish a new program supporting other small businesses impacted most by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives in a 223-203 vote and heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was created under the American Rescue Plan, which passed Congress last March and provided $28.6 billion to help restaurants across the country during the pandemic, including more than $561 million for 2,024 bars and eateries in Maryland. The new legislation will provide another $42 billion for restaurants that did not receive assistance during the program’s first round.

This legislation also provides $13 billion to establish the Hard Hit Industries Award Program, which will assist Maryland small businesses with 200 or fewer employees that have experienced 40 percent or more in lost revenue. It also updates the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program – also created under the American Rescue Plan – to provide Maryland entertainment venues with more time and flexibility to use federal relief funds already allocated.