A coalition representing thousands of restaurateurs is asking Congress to set up a $120 billion stabilization fund to help more than half a million restaurants that are struggling to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Independent Restaurant Coalition wrote a letter to Congress on Wednesday asking for the creation of the relief fund, The Hill reports.
The letter said the restaurant industry has been the top contributor to the rising unemployment rates sweeping the country and a “majority of our restaurants stand on the very brink of survival.”
The IRC wrote that 40% of restaurants it represents are closed and the remaining 60%, that are open, are operating at severely depressed revenue levels.
“In order for us to serve your communities again and to assist in reigniting the economy, independent restaurants need critical support from the federal government,” the letter states. “Therefore, we respectfully request Congress establish the Independent Restaurant Stabilization Fund to ensure restaurants will receive the necessary capital to reopen and stay open.”
And while some restaurants will be able to reopen soon, social distancing rules will continue to pose financial challenges, the IRC said.
“With future requirements to modify dining rooms and reduce seating (effectively limiting revenue by upwards of 50%) and additional mandates for protective items and cleaning measures raising costs, restaurants will not be 'back to normal' anytime soon. Congress must provide stabilization for this industry through 2020 or we will be pushing millions back into unemployment,” the IRC wrote.
The IRC requested any fund go toward helping independently owned restaurants, not publicly traded restaurants or large restaurant chains or franchises.
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