Independent Restaurants Praise Passage of $120 Billion Revitalization Fund, Urge Senate to Take Action and Save Their Industry
Independent Restaurant Coalition: "The Senate Cannot Go Home Without Providing Relief for America's 500,000 Independent Restaurants and Bars"
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Statement On The Passage Of $120 Billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC), released the following statement regarding the House passage of the HEROES Act:
"The Senate cannot go home without providing relief for America's 500,000 independent restaurants and bars and protecting the 11 million people they employ," said the Independent Restaurant Coalition. "A mass restaurant extinction does not have to be 2020's next crisis. While debt is piling up and outdoor dining is growing more scarce, independent restaurants and bars across the country are making decisions about closing forever or trying to survive the winter months. Many more will have no choice but to close without a plan from Congress.
"Restaurants are America's favorite first job, a top employer of single mothers, and employ more non-white managers than any other industry. These are the economic engines our communities need now more than ever as we face a potential recession. We are grateful for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick who led the effort to pass a restaurant revitalization fund in the House. Sens. Roger Wicker and Kyrsten Sinema have also fought tirelessly on behalf of our industry and built strong bipartisan support for direct restaurant relief in the Senate. But without a relief plan for neighborhood restaurants, voters will remember the politicians who left our industry hanging at this critical moment."
If signed into law, Division O Section 607 of the new COVID-19 relief plan would establish a $120 billion grant program for independent restaurants and bars to cover costs such as payroll, rent, supplies, and PPE. The program would be run by the U.S. Treasury. Eligible establishments include restaurants, food stands, food trucks, food carts, caterers, saloons, inns, taverns, and bars. In its first two weeks of operation, grants would be prioritized for establishments owned by members of marginalized and underrepresented communities, with a focus on women and minority-owned and operated entities. Priority would also be given to establishments with annual revenues of less than $1,500,000.
The RESTAURANTS Act Has Secured Over 200 House Cosponsors
As of today, the RESTAURANTS Act – the basis of the HEROES Act's Restaurant Revitalization Fund – has secured over 200 House cosponsors, and continues to grow support in the Senate, with 13 senators signing on in the past month alone. Originally introduced in June by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), alongside Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR 3) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA 1), the RESTAURANTS Act now has a total of 203 cosponsors in the House and 40 cosponsors in the Senate.
Last week, Christine Hà, owner and chef at The Blind Goat in Houston, testified before the House Ways and Means Committee and said “we need things like the RESTAURANTS Act to really continue to help [the workers] survive and help the business survive.” Secretary Mnuchin also recently told a Senate panel that Congress must consider “additional funds that are highly targeted” for “the restaurant and broader hospitality industries.”
Formed in March, the IRC quickly mobilized and sent a letter to Congress on April 29 calling for the passage of a revitalization fund for the industry. The letter was cosigned by thousands of restaurateurs and prominent chefs, including José Andrés, Nina Compton, Rosa Garcia, Naomi Pomeroy, Andrew Zimmern.
About the IRC
The Independent Restaurant Coalition was formed by chefs and independent restaurant owners across the country who have built a grassroots movement to secure vital protections for the nation’s 500,000 independent restaurants and the more than 11 million restaurant workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.