COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on independent restaurants across the nation, but it seems as if the industry could be getting the help it needs soon.
Thanks to the Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive Act, or the RESTAURANTS Act, $120 billion could be going back to the 500,000 independent restaurants negatively affected by the pandemic.
“The coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten millions of jobs supported by America’s small and independent restaurants,” Senator Roger Wicker, who was one of four congressmen to introduce the bill, said. “These small businesses are hurting because of the costs of restocking perishable foods, retooling their operations, and they still cannot operate at full capacity even as the country reopens. The RESTAURANTS Act would save many of these businesses, benefitting their workers and the farmers, fishermen, distributors, and truckers that rely on them.”
Currently, the restaurant industry is the second-largest employer in the United States, behind the government itself, employing around 11 million individuals.
“There are 500,000 independent restaurants. You’ve got 11 million people who work in those restaurants and another 5 million people in ancillary businesses—like farmers in the delta, like fishermen on the coast,” Mississippi restaurateur and author Robert St. John explained. “16 million people that this bill will help.”
St. John went on to express how imperative the passage of the RESTAURANTS Act is for the future of independent restaurants.
“It’s the worst time in the history of the restaurant business to be in the restaurant business. We’re dropping like flies out there” he said. “What this will do is save the industry.”