It has now been 4 months since the Restaurant Revitalization Fund closed, and there has still been no indication that it will be replenished anytime soon. That is not to say that replenishment plans haven’t been proposed. Multiple versions of a refill have been introduced by Congress over this summer, but none have stuck; this includes the bipartisan legislation that proposed to inject $48 billion in emergency funding directly into the depleted fund, which was blocked from passing by unanimous consent by Senator Ran Paul last month.
Restaurant owners have been struggling to survive ever since the fund shut down – including applicants who had already been approved and were just waiting on the payment. More precisely, according to a recent Independent Restaurant Coalition survey that was conducted with 800 restaurant operators, 82% of restaurant and bar owners believe that they will have to close if the RRF is not refilled.
According to IRC executive director Erika Polmar, “hundreds of thousands of neighborhood restaurants and bars are now teetering on the brink of permanent closure.” Just looking at IRC members alone, 85% of operators did not receive an RRF grant due to the legal controversy surrounding the grant’s distribution earlier this summer. In her statement, she cited that “over 90,000 restaurants and bars have closed since the start of the pandemic. We do not want anymore to close their doors because Congress and the Biden Administration have not provided the relief they need to survive. The only thing that will save these small businesses that support 16 million jobs is refilling the RRF.”
The Coalition held a press conference yesterday calling for the House Small Business Committee to prioritize restaurant relief as part of the budget reconciliation package. Aside from individual organizations and businesses calling on lawmakers to take action, there is nothing to be done until Congress votes to replenish the RRF or introduces a new fund of the like.
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