FILE PHOTO: Empty restaurant tables sit on a plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue in during the coronavirus outbreak in downtown WashingtonMore

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Family-owned restaurants fear they could be pitted against larger competitors, hotel chains and potentially investment funds in a race starting on Friday for a $349 billion pot of money the U.S. government will offer businesses hard-hit by coronavirus.

Enacted into law last week as part of a $2.3 trillion economic stimulus triggered by the outbreak, the program aims to keep small businesses on life support for at least the next two months.

The term “small business,” however, took on a new meaning when a 56-word provision was inserted into the 148,124-word bill that raced through Congress.

For certain small business loan purposes,