A federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order barring the disbursement of coronavirus relief grants awarded to priority groups on the basis of race and gender. 

The money for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund is meant to help restaurants and other eligible businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But there is an initial three-week period during which the Small Business Administration “will accept applications from all eligible applicants, but only process and fund priority group applications,” according to the agency. “During this period, SBA will fund applications where the applicant has self-certified that it meets the eligibility requirements for a small business owned by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals,” the agency explains.

The order, signed by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, declares that “the Court concludes that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that Defendants’ use of race-based and sex-based preferences in the administration of the RRF violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.”

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