Iowa Restaurant and Bar Relief Grant Program
COVID-19 Funding Program
Iowa Restaurant and Bar Relief Grant ProgramGovernor Reynolds allocated $40 million in federal CARES Act funds to provide financial relief for eligible restaurants and bars impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic due to closures and other mitigation efforts.
The Iowa Restaurant and Bar Relief Program may assist eligible businesses that experienced a decrease in gross sales of at least 15% during the second and third quarters of 2020, (April 1- September 30), compared to the same time the previous year, as evidenced by the Iowa Sales/Retailer’s Use Tax and Surcharge Return. Grant award amounts will be determined using a tiered system based on the percent of gross sales loss. Award tiers will be used with a maximum award amount of $25,000.
Applicants are encouraged to review the full list of frequently asked questions at the bottom of this page for guidance and information.
List of Awards [PDF]
To be eligible for a grant, the applicant must demonstrate it:
- Experienced a decrease in gross sales of at least 15% during the second and third quarters of 2020, (April 1 - September 30), compared to the same time the previous year, as evidenced by the Iowa Sales/Retailer's Use Tax and Surcharge Return
How Do I Apply?
The program application period has closed, and a list of awards is posted in the content area near the top of this page.Track submitted applicationNote: changes in status should not be anticipated until later this month.
855.454.8078 or 515.348.8984Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Frequently Asked Questions
- When is the application period?
Applications will be accepted at iowabusinessrecovery.com beginning Monday, Feb. 1 at 12:00 p.m. through Monday, Feb. 15 at 5:00 p.m. All applications submitted within the application period will be considered for an award, the program is not first come, first served.
- I own multiple businesses; how should I apply for assistance for each of them?
Ownership entities must submit one application per business location, and each location must have a unique sales tax permit number.
- How will award amounts be determined?
The grant award amounts will be determined based on the percentage decrease in gross sales from April 1-Sept. 2020, compared to April 1-Sept. 20, 2019, as evidenced by the Iowa Sales/Retailer’s Use Tax and Surcharge Return. Grant award amounts will be determined using a tiered system based on the percent of gross sales loss. Award tiers will be used with a maximum award amount of $25,000.
- What businesses are eligible to apply?
Businesses must be one of the following business types:
- Full-Service Restaurant
- What is a full-service restaurant?
A full-service restaurant must be categorized as one of the following restaurant types, per standard industry definition:
- Buffet LSR Restaurant
- Fine Dining Restaurant
- Restaurant, Family-Style, Diner
- Traditional Restaurant, Casual Dining
- Upscale Casual Dining Restaurant
- What businesses are ineligible?
- Businesses that do not meet the eligibility criteria above.
- Businesses that are part of a national chain or franchise that has a total of 20 or more locations doing business under the same name, regardless of the type of ownership.
- Iowa franchise locations of Iowa-based chains are eligible to apply.
- Businesses that received a notice for not abiding by a Governor’s COVID-19 public health proclamation.
- Establishments providing adult entertainment, per Iowa Code 239B.5, subsection 4, paragraph “a”.
- What other eligibility criteria is considered?
Additional eligibility threshold criteria are below. Please note this list is not comprehensive, and applicants should complete the pre-application questions. Applicants that meet the initial eligibility considerations will then be granted access to the full application. Please also note that an application does not guarantee an award.
- The business must be an Iowa-based bricks and mortar establishment in which the primary purpose is serving food or drink.
- The business must have been established and open for business on or before April 1, 2020.
- Eligible businesses must be in good standing with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and the Iowa Department of Revenue.
- My business pivoted our business model to primarily take out as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Does this disqualify the business from receiving assistance through the program?
Businesses that had to adapt their business model due to COVID-19 should consider their pre-COVID-19 business model when applying.
- What are the award tiers?
The tiers will be dependent on program demand and will be announced following the close of the application and review period.
- What information is needed to apply?
Applicants must have all required, applicable information available and prepared prior to starting the application.
Gross sales for the periods below as evidenced on Line 1 of your tax filings. (Iowa Sales/Retailer’s Use Tax and Surcharge Return):
- April-June 2019
- July-Sept. 2019
- April-June 2020
- July-Sept. 2020
- Liquor/Beer/Wine License or Permit
- Food Service Establishment License Number
- Iowa Sales Tax Permit Number
- Iowa Withholding Tax Permit Number
- Tax Identification Number (TIN)
- My business was established and opened for business between June 30, 2019 and April 1, 2020, therefore all required gross sales data is not available, can I still apply?
Yes, newly established businesses may still apply for assistance and will be considered using a modified formula, pending funding availability.
- What if my business first opened in 2020?
All eligible businesses must have been established and open on or before April 1, 2020. Newly established businesses may still apply for assistance and will be considered using a modified formula, pending funding availability.
- My business received state or federal assistance through one or more relief programs, am I still eligible to apply?
Yes, past assistance through various programs including the Paycheck Protection Program, Iowa Small Business Relief Grant and the Iowa Business Disruption Relief Grant program are not eligibility considerations for the Iowa Restaurant and Bar Relief Program.
- My business had significant financial loss due to COVID-19 but is an ineligible business type through the program. How was the decision made on which business types would be eligible?
The goal of the Iowa Restaurant and Bar Relief program is to assist establishments with business models that rely on in-person experiences and therefore were significantly impacted by closures and other mitigation efforts. The program seeks to provide these eligible establishments with grants in amounts that will be impactful in their efforts to remain open and grow their businesses.
While there are additional business types and structures that have also been significantly impacted, funding is limited and that factor, combined with the need to provide meaningful amounts of assistance, required further eligibility refinement. Due to this, businesses not categorized as one of the eligible business types are ineligible for assistance through this program.
- What if my corporate headquarters is out of state, but I own businesses in Iowa?
If the business is physically located in the state of Iowa and meets all other criteria, the business may be eligible for the grant. (ex. Owner's holding company is located in Moline, Illinois, and owns a location in Davenport, Iowa, the Davenport location is eligible for grant)
- What if my corporate headquarters is in Iowa, but I have businesses out of state?
Only Iowa-based bricks and mortar establishments which primarily serve food and drink are eligible for the grant. (ex. Owner's holding company is located in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and owns a location in Omaha, Nebraska, the Omaha location is ineligible)
- Is there a maximum revenue amount that would make a business ineligible?
There are no revenue ceilings that would disqualify a business from applying for the grant as long as the business meets all other eligibility criteria.
- What if the business operates a bar or restaurant but also generates large income from other sources? (i.e. bowling alley, casino, golf courses, hotel, etc.)
Eligible establishments (restaurants, bars, breweries, brewpubs, distilleries and wineries) that are embedded in another business are not eligible to apply, unless the establishment has a unique and separate Tax Identification Number, files taxes separately from the overarching business and meets all other program eligibility requirements.
- What does “must be in good standing” with various agencies, including Alcoholic Beverages Division, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and Iowa Department of Revenue mean?
The goal of the program is to assist as many eligible establishments as possible. These agencies will primarily be reviewing applications to identify establishments with outstanding and/or habitual offenses of requirements under their purview.
- I’m on a payment plan with the Iowa Department of Revenue (IDR), is my business eligible to apply?
Businesses on payment plans with IDR are eligible to apply, so long as they are making payments per the plan.
- My business owes back taxes to the State of Iowa, does this make it ineligible for assistance?
If the business owes the State of Iowa taxes, it will not be eligible to receive a grant through the Iowa Restaurant and Bar Relief Program.
- Can I track my application?
Yes. You will receive a link to track your application in your confirmation email. The application tracker tool is also available at iowabusinessrecovery.com.
- I made a mistake on my application; how can I correct it?
Please note that applicants are responsible for ensuring that a complete and error-free application is submitted. If you made an error, you may submit another application with the correct information. The most recently submitted application will be considered for assistance.
- What is the timeline for application approval and payment?
Applications will undergo review following the close of the application period on Feb. 15. We ask applicants to please exercise patience as this process takes place. All applicants will receive an approval or denial email notification once their application has been reviewed. If approved, a check will be mailed to the physical business location provided on the application. Please allow approximately 14 days for processing.
- Who can I call if I still have questions?
Questions regarding the Iowa Restaurant and Bar Relief Program may be directed to 855.454.8078 or 515.348.8984, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
- My establishment has two food license numbers, a food service establishment license and a retail food establishment license, which should I use?
The business should use the food service establishment license.