Here’s what happened this week in the fight to save independent restaurants.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly report on job losses today, showing that the food and beverage industry suffered more layoffs than any other industry for the second consecutive month. Food and beverage establishments lost 5.5 million jobs, or about 27% of total job losses for April. You can read our statement here.
April was the worst case scenario for America’s 500,000 independent restaurants. Restaurants were among the first businesses to close and will be the last to fully reopen. A quarter of the people who lost their jobs last month worked in restaurants, yet we’ve seen nothing from Congress that will help ensure our workers will have jobs to return to when this crisis ends or will save our businesses that contribute to a $1 trillion restaurant industry.
This reality is severely disheartening, the road to recovery is long, and we don’t know exactly what will happen. But, what we can tell you is that our coalition continues to fight every single day to save independent restaurants.
Although we aren’t sure when the House will return, there is a great deal of activity on a CARES 2.0 bill. As part of that bill, a number of members on both sides of the aisle are working to address the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) concerns, and we believe that when Speaker Pelosi introduces a bill in the coming days, there will be some additional flexibility given to the PPP. The Senate is back in session, and two Finance Committee members — Senator Todd Young (R-IN) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) — will be introducing a bill that not only extends PPP, but also establishes a longer-term RESTART program.
Above all, though, IRC members are pushing offices to consider the Independent Restaurant Stabilization Fund. We are working closely with several offices and are in dialogue about what a legislative fix could look like. Without question, our efforts to connect with legislators are pushing these offices to consider the Fund.
As always, we’ll keep you updated on what we’re hearing and how you can help. Stay tuned to our Twitter and Instagram pages for the latest. Thank you for fighting with us — we’re in this together and we’re stronger because of it.