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February 1 – Independent Restaurant Coalition Praises $25 Billion Restaurant Relief in Schumer, Pelosi Budget



February 1, 2021


Jeff Solnet

Independent Restaurant Coalition Praises $25 Billion Restaurant Relief in Schumer, Pelosi Budget 

Over 2.4 Million People Who Work at Restaurants and Bars Remain Out of Work

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) released the following statement in response to the proposed COVID relief plan, which includes $25 billion in direct aid to independent restaurants and bars: 

"By proposing a grant program for the industry, Congress is doing everything they can to ensure independent restaurants and bars can continue to employ 11 million people," said the Independent Restaurant Coalition. "This has been a dark winter for restaurants and bars who are seeing more layoffs and closures than any other industry throughout the pandemic. Millions of people depend on neighborhood restaurants and bars for their livelihood, and a full economic recovery depends on putting them back to work. Funding an independent restaurant revitalization fund would be a ray of hope for so many neighborhood businesses that are on life support this winter. We are grateful to Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi for putting forward a plan that helps the restaurant community get back on their feet." 

Over 2.4 million people who work in restaurants and bars have lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic– far more than any other industry. December saw the greatest net loss of jobs for these businesses since April, when restrictions were at their tightest. Restaurant and bar sales also fell by at least $180 billion since the pandemic began.

The Independent Restaurant Coalition has advocated for the RESTAURANTS Act, a proposed $120 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, since April of last year. It has since become the center of a grassroots advocacy effort by neighborhood restaurants that led to the proposal’s introduction to Congress in June. The bill passed the House in October 2020 as part of the revised HEROES Act. The RESTAURANTS Act also secured the support of 53 senators from both parties, including Vice President Kamala Harris. Over 34,000 members of the independent restaurant and bar community signed a letter to Congress in December urging action on the bill. 

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The Independent Restaurant Coalition was formed by chefs and independent restaurant owners across the country who have built a grassroots movement to secure vital protections for the nation’s 500,000 independent restaurants and the more than 11 million restaurant workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Coalition’s leadership team includes Tyler Akin, José Andrés, Kevin Boehm, Sean Brock, Katie Button, Andrew Carmellini, Ashley Christensen, Jeanie Chunn, Amanda Cohen, Tom Colicchio, Nina Compton, Rosa Garcia, Suzanne Goin, Gregory Gourdet, Will Guidara, Mason Hereford, Sam Kass, Max Katzenberg, Mike Lata, Camilla Marcus, Ivy Mix, Kwame Onwuachi, Patrick Phelan, Erika Polmar, Naomi Pomeroy, Niki Russ Federman, Steven Satterfield, Michael Shemtov, Nancy Silverton, Frank Stitt, Bobby Stuckey, Robert St. John, Caroline Styne, Jill Tyler, and Andrew Zimmern. 

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