Food and Beverage Employment Drops for First Time Since April

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Food and Beverage Employment Drops for First Time Since April; One in Five Jobs Lost During the Coronavirus Pandemic Come from Restaurant Industry

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Restaurants and Bars Forced to Lay Off 17,400 Workers in November and Lead Overall Pandemic Job Losses for Tenth Consecutive Month with Over 2.1 Million Jobs Still Lost From COVID-19

Devastating Jobs Report Comes as Bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act Gains 50th Senate Co-sponsor and President-elect Biden Calls for Industry Grants 

Employment In The Food And Beverage Industry Drops

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) released the following statement in response to Bureau of Labor Statistics’ November jobs report, which showed food and beverage establishments shedding over 17,000 jobs:

“We have warned Congress for months that winter will bring another wave of closures and layoffs – they’re here,” said the Independent Restaurant Coalition. “Outdoor dining is a distant memory while indoor dining has been restricted in many states across the country, and – unlike in March – restaurants have already endured ten months of diminished revenue. We’re out of time and out of funds. PPP didn’t stop our industry from sustaining massive job losses before and it won’t save our industry and our 11 million workers now. We need our lawmakers to pass the RESTAURANTS Act to get neighborhood restaurants and their workers through the remainder of this crisis.”

Today’s employment report showed that food and beverage places lost 17,400 jobs in November, and are still down over 2.1 million jobs since the start of the pandemic -- far more than any other industry. This is the first net loss of jobs for the industry since April, when restrictions were at their tightest. Unemployment in Leisure and Hospitality is 134% higher than the national average. Neighborhood restaurants and bars around the country have been pleading with Congress to pass the RESTAURANTS Act, a bipartisan bill that would establish a $120 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund for businesses hurt during the pandemic.

Direct Relief For Restaurants Is Needed

President-elect Joe Biden agreed that direct relief for restaurants was needed during an economic roundtable this week, remarking on aid to restaurants: “It should not be a loan, it should be a guarantee.” IRC member and Milwaukee restaurant owner, Dan Jacobs was one of the business owners who participated in the conversation.

This past week, the RESTAURANTS Act gained major momentum, and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) became the fiftieth senator to support the bill. As of today, the bill is co-sponsored by 215 House members and 50 Senators, including Republicans like Sens. Wicker, Ernst, Graham, Cornyn, Murkowski, and Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, Senator and Vice President Elect Harris, and Sens. Manchin, Warren, Sinema, Durbin and many others. In October, the House passed the RESTAURANTS Act as part of the HEROES Act 2.0.

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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.