Paycheck Protection Program: Not Enough To Help Restaurant Industry

Below is a statement from the Independent Restaurant Coalition on the start of the Paycheck Protection Program, which comes a day after the Department of Labor announced a historic surge in unemployment claims. In the last week, over 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment bringing the total people out of work to over 10 million.

The short-term relief made available through the Paycheck Protection Program in the CARES Act will be insufficient to ensure independent restaurants can stay open and continue to employ over 11 million workers.  The unprecedented rise in unemployment is shocking, but those of us who work in restaurants are not surprised. Unemployment claims will continue to increase the longer restaurants are unable to open. There are over two million waiters and waitresses, 261,000 dishwashers, and 296,000 hosts and hostesses in America, and every restaurant that shuts its doors leaves them out of a job.  Not to mention, we employ tens of millions more Americans through a vast supply chain of other local businesses, including farmers, fishermen, beverage distributors, linen services, and so many others.

Paycheck Protection Program And The Economy

“In the last Department of Labor report, 20 states specifically noted an increase in claims in the food service industry, and four of the five states with the greatest increase in unemployment claims are among the top six employers of restaurant employees in the country.  Restaurants are the lifeblood of our communities and our economy, and more must be done to ensure millions of claimants have jobs to return to when the crisis is over. Restaurant owners should visit www.SaveRestaurants.com for more information on how to apply for relief.”

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The Independent Restaurant Coalition includes nearly 11,000 members, including chefs and independent restaurant owners from across the country, who have built a grassroots movement in just days to secure vital protections for over 11 million restaurant workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.