August 2 — Independent Restaurants and Bars Urge Senator Sinema work with Senate Leadership to include the replenishment of the RRF in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022
August 2, 2022
The Honorable Kyrsten Sinema
United States Senate
317 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Sinema:
Independent restaurants and bars nationwide are grateful for your leadership and your support of our industry. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund supported thousands of restaurants as they’ve struggled to navigate and survive the ongoing devastation wrought by the COVID-19 Pandemic; but tens of thousands of neighborhood restaurants in Arizona and across the country still need help — and we can’t wait any longer.
Our small businesses are struggling to survive: food and supply costs have skyrocketed; diners are more apprehensive with each new COVID variant; winter weather and extreme heat makes outdoor dining impossible; and we have crippling debt after more than two years of business disruption. Absent a Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grant, many businesses that have managed to scrape by anticipate closing forever.
More than 100,000 restaurants and bars received vital protections from the $28.6 billion RRF included in the American Rescue Plan, but 177,000 applicants are still waiting for funding. More than 86% of independent restaurants and bars who didn’t receive grants risk closing permanently without relief. It’s not fair to help only some businesses navigate the rising cost of staying in business by helping pay down debts, make necessary repairs, and hire workers at competitive rates. Simply put, the government should not pick winners and losers — this pandemic impacted all of us, and we all deserve a fair shot.
That’s why we’re writing to ask that you work with Senate Leadership to include the replenishment of the RRF in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The difficulty facing restaurants nationwide is being acutely felt in Arizona. The state is home to 10,281 restaurants, which employ nearly 338,200 leisure and hospitality workers. While 1,325 received an RRF grant and now have the financial flexibility to survive the pandemic, 2,667 restaurants were left behind in the first round of funding and are in danger of permanent closure unless Congress refills the RRF.
We are at a critical crossroads. Time is up for our nation's 500,000 local, independent restaurants and bars, as well as the 16 million people we employ and the millions of farmers, fishermen, beverage distributors, and others up and down the supply chain. Restaurants serve our communities, employ families, and feed our economy. We need your help so we can continue serving our communities for years to come.
As the Senate debates the Inflation Reduction Act, we hope you will work with Leader Schumer for this investment toward ensuring the sustainability of neighborhoods and communities across Arizona and the country.
Independent Restaurant Coalition