Restaurant Association Seeks Federal Help To Stabilize Industry

The National Restaurant Association has issued a Blueprint for Restaurant Revival to help stabilize and stimulate the industry, including funding for restaurants and at-risk communities in need of help, according to a press release.

The plan is broken down into several main areas that Congress can focus on to help provide aid to the sector, which has been badly damaged by the pandemic as dining rooms were forced to close.

The plan recommends providing a short-term relief fund for the industry, which would create a targeted fund specifically to help restaurants recover; help them access more Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds; and help them address liability protections and aiding with any tax, insurance or loan problems, the release stated.

Also, the association recommends establishing a stable link for the country’s food supply chain from farm to table. To do that, Congress will have to ensure that food and agriculture employees get priority status in testing for COVID-19 and classify restaurant employees as essential employees, giving them payroll tax relief.

Finally, the association suggests that Congress should fund programs to feed at-risk, low-income communities across the country, allowing for greater access to restaurant meals.

Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of Public Affairs for the association, said in the release that the help is needed due to the widespread shutdowns of numerous restaurants across the country in the past few weeks as more virus-related closures begin to occur due to rising infection rates.

“Since the restaurant industry was first shuttered, the National Restaurant Association and our State Restaurant Association partners have led the call at the federal, state and local level for policies that will allow us not to profit, but simply to survive this pandemic,” he said, according to the release. “Despite losing more jobs and revenue than any other industry in this country, Congress has chosen not to advance a recovery package that is tailored for the unique challenges of a restaurant on the cusp of bankruptcy.”