Eligible for ARPA dollars for COVID protection? Here’s how to use them

Novaerus air purifier

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is a massive piece of legislation. It lets many different businesses and organizations apply for grants related to the COVID-19 virus. It’s also a long and complex read.

We’ve created this American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 summary to make it easier for owners and administrators of restaurants, entertainment venues, and elementary and secondary schools to understand how they can and cannot use grant funding.

One of the top uses for funding for each of these industries is protective and preventative equipment. This means the purchase of sanitizing equipment, PPE and air purifiers for COVID-19 related reasons are generally covered.

Grants for restaurants (Sec. 5003)

Empty restaurant

Under Section 5003 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, grant details for restaurants are laid out. The act defines recipients of this funding as a:

[R]estaurant, food stand, food truck, food cart, caterer, saloon, inn, tavern, bar, lounge, brewpub, tasting room, taproom, licensed facility or premise of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample or purchase products, or other similar place of business in which the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink.” 

-American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Section 5003

The key details on funding amounts, uses and exceptions are as follows:

  • $5,000,000,000 has been allocated only for businesses with 2019 gross receipts of no more than $500,000.
  • $23,600,000,000 will be awarded in an equitable manner to restaurants of all sizes.
  • Grants CANNOT:
    • Exceed $10,000,000 in total.
    • Exceed $5,000,000 per physical location.
    • Be granted to operators with 20 or more physical locations.
    • Be granted to state or local government-operated businesses.
    • Be granted to publicly traded companies.
  • Restaurants that receive grants can use the money for a wide variety of costs, including:
    • Payroll
    • Mortgage and rent
    • Utilities
    • Maintenance, including:
      • Construction of outdoor seating
      • Walls, floors, deck surfaces, furniture, fixtures and equipment
    • Supplies, including:
    • Food and beverage expenses (must be within the scope of normal business practice prior to the covered period)
    • Certain supplier costs
    • Operational expenses
    • Paid sick leave
    • Other essential expenses
  • Recipients should be mindful of how they spend their grant. Funds not spent on allowable expenses by the end of the covered period must be returned to the Treasury.

Grants for entertainment venues (Sec. 5005)

Empty hockey rink

Entertainment venues are covered under Section 5005 of the American Rescue Plan act. The specific text in this act is brief. Mainly, it removes some of the restrictions placed on these grants during previous legislation and allocates additional money. For details, potential recipients can look to the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act.

The key details on funding amounts, uses and exceptions are as follows:

  • An additional $1,250,000,000 has been appropriated for the Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) grant program. SVO grants were initially provisioned in the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act.
  • The previous act had placed a restriction prohibiting venue operators from applying for both SVO and PPP loans. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 has lifted that restriction.
  • SVO grants may be used for:
    • Payroll costs
    • Rent and mortgage payments
    • Utility payments
    • Worker protection costs, such as:
    • Independent contractor payments (not to exceed $100,000 per contractor)
    • Necessary business and maintenance costs
    • Administrative costs
    • State and local taxes and fees
    • Operating leases in effect as of February 15, 2020
    • Insurance payments
    • Advertising, production transportation and capital expenditures related to producing a theatrical or live performing arts production

Grants for elementary and secondary schools (Sec. 2001)

Disinfecting a daycare

Section 2001 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is all about funding for elementary and secondary schools. This means, specifically, publicly funded local educational agencies and charter schools. The act will disburse funds first to state agencies, then to each school. Schools should not need to make any application to receive these funds. For more discussion of school funding, please check out our recent blog about safety and indoor air quality in schools, where we discuss Novaerus air purifiers.

The key details on funding amounts, uses and exceptions are as follows:

  • $122,774,800,000 has been appropriated to the department of education
  • Each state will allocate at least 90 percent of the awarded funding as grants to local educational agencies. Local educational agencies may use the funds for:
    • Addressing loss of learning.
    • Any activity authorized by:
      • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
      • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
      • The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.
      • The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006.
    • Coordination with State, local, Tribal and territorial agencies to improve response and preparedness for COVID-19.
    • Activities that address the unique needs of vulnerable populations.
    • Developing and implementing improvements to the preparedness and response efforts of local agencies.
    • Training staff on sanitation practices and minimizing spread of disease.
    • Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean facilities.
    • Planning and implementing activities during long-term closures.
    • Purchasing remote learning technology.
    • Providing mental health services.
    • Planning and implementing summer and afterschool learning programs that address the needs of vulnerable populations.
    • School facility repairs that reduce the risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards.
    • Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement and upgrades to systems improving air quality, including:
      • Non-mechanical heating
      • Ventilation
      • Air conditioning
      • Filtering
      • Purification
      • Fans
      • Control systems
      • Windows and doors
    • Planning and implementing public health protocols in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
    • Other activities necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services and employment of existing staff.

If you have any questions about how EnviroPro’s products fit within funding regulations for the American Relief Plan Act of 2021, please reach out to us at [email protected].com or by phone at (763) 296-4449.