Last call for Texas Travel Industry Recovery Grant Program includes a boost in awards

Good things come to those who wait? Maybe in the case of the Texas Travel Industry Recovery Grant Program. 

The program distributes $180 million in American Rescue Plan Act grants through the governor’s office to restaurants and other hospitality-related businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Previously, businesses could only receive up to $20,000, but that maximum has been raised to $250,000 for qualifying applicants. The program ends Sept. 15. The grants will be administered by the Texas Economic Development Office.

Eligible businesses must have opened prior to Jan. 20, 2020, suffered negative economic impact due to COVID-19, be privately owned for-profit or nonprofit businesses, and be open to the public or provide in-person services.

Businesses that previously applied for — and received — grants, can apply again to receive more funds if they qualify, minus the funds they received earlier. To qualify for the $250,000 reimbursement, a business must document at least that amount in expenses, which may include payroll, rent, utilities and maintenance.

“We reapplied,” said Dave Garner, owner of Wildwood Grill in Southlake and Maggie’s RnR at 1264 W. Magnolia Ave. in Fort Worth. “We received some funding, just received it in fact, but we’ve reapplied because we could qualify for more funding.” 

The Texas Travel Industry Recovery Grant Program began more than a year ago. There were five phases of the program aimed at a variety of businesses with the grants then capped at $20,000. This final grant cycle began on Sept. 1 and lasts through Sep. 15, or until the funds are depleted. 

Apparently the state of Texas did not receive as many applications as they anticipated, so there was a lot of unallocated money, said John Fletcher, of Arlington-based Fletcher Consulting

Fletcher has been working with businesses to assemble the information and apply for the grants. He did similar work for Tarrant County businesses that applied for funds through the  American Rescue Plan Act through the county. 

“It takes a full understanding of this grant program to apply, which is why clients have reached out to me,” he said. 

One of the most common problems he’s seen is that all IRS documents, from tax returns to Form 941, must be signed and dated by both the tax preparer and an official from the business, Fletcher said. 

“Something small like that can get an application kicked back, and now we’re running out of time,” he said. 

For Winewood’s Garner, he knows he and his restaurants are fortunate to have survived the pandemic. 

A lot of good restaurants did not make it, he said. 

“My father and grandfather always told me to ‘Buy your straw hats in the winter;’ in other words, prepare for the future,” he said. “It was good advice.” 

Who can apply? 

Applicants in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries who were negatively impacted by COVID-19 are able to apply. Other requirements of the businesses include:

  • In operation prior to Jan. 20, 2020
  • Operate in the state of Texas
  • Privately-owned for profit business or nonprofit organization
  • Open to the public or provide services for in-person events
  • Business or organization in the eligible North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes listed for the travel, tourism and hospitality industries (NAICS codes 71, 722, 7211, 7212, 5615, 561920, 312120, 312130, 312140, 532111, 487990, 487210, 487110, 485510, 483212, 483114, 483112, 481211, 481111, 512132, 512131)

Source: Texas Travel Industry Recovery Program

Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at [email protected]. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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