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December 1 – Bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act Secures Support of 50 Senators Amid Devastating New Restrictions for Restaurants and Bars Across the Country

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 December 1, 2020

 Jeff Solnet

 Bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act Secures Support of 50 Senators Amid Devastating New Restrictions for Restaurants and Bars Across the Country

 Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) Cosponsors Sen. Wicker’s $120 Billion Relief Proposal  

 After Paycheck Protection Program, Over 2.1 Million Restaurant Workers Remain Unemployed; One in Six Restaurants Permanently Closed  

 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) released the following statement in response to the bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act gaining its 50th Senate co-signer:

 "The RESTAURANTS Act continues to gain bipartisan support because so many in the Senate realize that the Paycheck Protection Program is not a long term solution to the crisis facing restaurants and bars,” said the Independent Restaurant Coalition. “Neighborhood restaurants  and bars are out of money and time: winter is here, the virus is surging, and a widely available vaccine is months away. After months of reduced revenue and fewer customers, businesses have no choice but to close their doors permanently and leave millions of restaurant workers wondering whether they will spend their holidays on unemployment lines. Any Senator who wants to protect America’s second largest private sector employer should support the RESTAURANTS Act today."

 “The RESTAURANTS Act has cleared an important milestone – half of the Senate has gone on the record in support,” Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss) said. “This legislation would be a lifeline for 500,000 small and independent restaurants, their suppliers, and the 16 million people they support as they struggle to survive the coronavirus pandemic. I urge the rest of the Senate to join this effort and pass the RESTAURANTS Act without further delay.”

 The legislation has the support of both Republicans and Democrats, including the authors Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, Cory Gardner, Thom Tillis, Chuck Schumer, Joe Manchin, Elizabeth Warren, Dick Durbin and Kamala Harris.

 The Senate milestone comes as new restrictions have devastated an already-beleaguered independent restaurant industry. The below states and cities have enacted new regulations on indoor dining and curfews in response to the latest uptick in COVID-19 cases:

  • Arizona -- 50% occupancy
  • Colorado -- 10 - 15 counties moving to close indoor dining
  • Connecticut -- Dining curfew at 9:30 pm
  • Delaware -- 30% indoor capacity
  • Illinois -- Indoor dining banned
  • Kentucky -- No indoor food or beverage consumption
  • Maryland -- 10 PM closure of bars and restaurants .
  • Massachusetts -- Restaurants must close to the public by 9:30 pm
  • Michigan -- Indoor dining banned for three weeks
  • Minnesota -- All onsite dining banned
  • Montana -- 50% capacity and close at 10 pm
  • Nevada -- Indoor dining 25% capacity
  • New Jersey -- 10pm curfew on indoor dining
  • New Mexico -- Indoor and patio dining banned for two weeks
  • New York -- Dining curfew at 10 pm
  • North Carolina -- 50% capacity for dine-in
  • Ohio -- Any in-person food service ends at 10 pm
  • Oregon -- To-go only, at least two week pause
  • Vermont -- Dining curfew at 10 pm
  • Washington -- Indoor dining banned, outdoor dining limited to parties of five
  • West Virginia -- 50% indoor dining capacity
  • Wisconsin -- Indoor dining 25% capacity
  • Baltimore, MD -- 10pm curfew on indoor dining, bars not licensed to sell food shut down
  • Philadelphia, PA -- Indoor dining banned
  • Sacramento, CA -- Indoor dining banned
  • San Francisco, CA -- Indoor dining banned
  • San Jose, CA -- Indoor dining shut down starting Tuesday 11/17
  • St. Louis, MO -- Indoor dining shut down for at least four weeks starting Tuesday 11/17

October’s jobs report showed the food and beverage places have lost 2.1 million jobs since the outset of the pandemic – far more than any other industry. As a result, the Independent Restaurant Coalition has rallied around the RESTAURANTS Act, a $120 billion grant program for neighborhood restaurants, which has emerged as the only comprehensive, bipartisan solution to ensure 500,000 independent restaurants and bars and their 11 million workers are not wiped out by the pandemic. Last month, the House passed the RESTAURANTS Act as part of the larger revised HEROES Act.
 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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