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.
ďThe coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten millions of jobs supported by Americaís small and independent restaurants,Ē Senator Roger Wicker, who was one of four congressmen to introduce the bill, said. ďThese 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.Ē
Currently, the restaurant industry is the second-largest employer in the United States, behind the government itself, employing around 11 million individuals.
ďThere are 500,000 independent restaurants. Youíve got 11 million people who work in those restaurants and another 5 million people in ancillary businessesólike farmers in the delta, like fishermen on the coast,Ē Mississippi restaurateur and author Robert St. John explained. ď16 million people that this bill will help.Ē
St. John went on to express how imperative the passage of the RESTAURANTS Act is for the future of independent restaurants.
ďItís the worst time in the history of the restaurant business to be in the restaurant business. Weíre dropping like flies out thereĒ he said. ďWhat this will do is save the industry.Ē