Restaurant survival hopes pick up; Biden, Prince Harry, JLo pitch vaccines; US air travel taking off

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NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of restaurants and bars decimated by the COVID-19 outbreak have a better chance at survival as the government begins handing out $28.6 billion in grants — money to help these small businesses stay afloat while they wait for customers to return.

The Small Business Administration is accepting applications for grants from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund as of Monday. For the first three weeks only applications from restaurants that are majority-owned by women, veterans and “socially and economically disadvantaged” applicants will be processed and paid out, although any restaurant can apply. After that, grants will be funded in the order that they’ve been approved by the SBA.

The grants, up to a maximum of $10 million, are aimed at replacing lost revenue at restaurant companies with up to 20 locations. Businesses with more than one restaurant can get up to $5 million per location, but each applicant is limited to a total of $10 million in funds.  Read more:

Here’s an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.

  • President Joe Biden spoke about the COVID-19 vaccination being safe, Prince Harry urged for the vaccine distribution everywhere and Jennifer Lopez embraced her fully-vaccinated mother on stage during one of the largest concert gatherings in Southern California since the pandemic rocked the world more than a year ago.
  • The United States set another record for the number of air travelers since the pandemic set in, although passenger numbers remain far below 2019 levels.
  • As a catastrophic surge of the coronavirus sweeps through India, the leaders of 13 opposition parties urged the government to launch a free vaccination drive and ensure an uninterrupted flow of oxygen to all hospitals.
  • In an announcement sure to be welcomed by travelers worldwide, EU officials on Monday proposed easing restrictions on visiting the 27-nation bloc as vaccination campaigns across the continent gather speed.
  • Bavarian officials on Monday canceled Oktoberfest festivities for a second year in a row due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, saying there are too many risks in hosting the celebrations — which bring in visitors from around the world — during a global pandemic.
  • The European Union’s drug regulator said Monday it has begun evaluating a request by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech to extend approval of their coronavirus vaccine to include children ranging in age from 12 to 15.
  • U.S. biotech company Moderna will provide up to 500 million doses for the U.N.-backed program to ship coronavirus vaccines to needy people in low- and middle-income countries, but shipments won’t begin until the fourth quarter, the company and program leaders said Monday.
  • Russia is turning to multiple Chinese firms to manufacture the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in an effort to speed up production as demand soars for its shot.

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for the latest virus numbers.