The beginning of the second quarter of 2021 marks the end of the first full year of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and offers some real hope for the immediate future as we look ahead to the rest of the year.
The national focus on vaccinations remains paramount as we seek a return to normalcy in the United States. In March, President Biden was able to move up the timeline for vaccinations to May 1 as the date when any American more than 16 years old seeking a COVID-19 vaccine is eligible to sign up for one. This timeline eclipses the original stated goal of 100 million shots in the first 100 days of his administration and would bring the prospect of herd immunity against the virus in 2021 into sharper focus.
In addition, President Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on March 11, which includes a provision called the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. This fund includes $28.6 billion in grant money directly paid out to beleaguered restaurants and bars struggling due to the pandemic. Unlike the two previous rounds of Paycheck Protection Program loans, the funds in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund is tailored to meet the needs of smaller independent operators — chains of 20 units and less, and franchisees with 20 units or less.
Eligibility requirements and program guidelines can be found at SBA.gov.
All this good news has us looking forward, too, specifically to The NAFEM Show on Aug. 26 - 28 in Orlando. We will host the FE&S Dealer of the Year and All Industry Awards Gala on the evening of Thurs. Aug. 26 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando.
It will be a special night celebrating two years’ worth of exceptional award winners in a lively and fun event made possible by the steady support of our ongoing Platinum Sponsors, Ali Group and Welbilt, as well as our newest Platinum Sponsor, Alto-Shaam. We would also like to thank all of our Gold Sponsors and we will reveal those companies in our May issue and, naturally, online at FESmag.com.