National Restaurant Association to Congress: foodservice businesses need financial relief now

Unsplash / Kelly Sikkema
Pointing out that one in five U.S. restaurants has closed amid the pandemic, the National Restaurant Association is urging Congress to pass relief for foodservice businesses before it breaks for the holidays.

In a letter to Congressional leaders, the association shared new survey data it says shows an “economic free fall” has harmed 500,000 restaurants of every type — franchise, chain and independent. According to the association, 17% of restaurants nationwide — more than 110,000 — have closed this year, either permanently or for the long term.

"In short, the restaurant industry simply cannot wait for relief any longer," Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of the Association’s Public Affairs, said in a release. "And for every month that passes without a solution from Congress, thousands more restaurants will close their doors for good."

A group of moderate Democrats and Republicans last week unveiled a compromise plan that calls for a $909 billion in relief, including a second round of Paycheck Protection Program grants.

That plan proposes a “downpayment” for a larger relief package in early 2021, providing restaurants enough immediate relief to survive the holiday season, the association said.

“Efforts in Washington to find the ‘perfect’ solution are laudable, but the lack of progress in the meantime has led too many operators to give up on the government and close down for good,” the letter reads. “Since our last update to you, less than three months ago, an additional 10,000 restaurants have closed nationwide.”

The National Restaurant Association has activated an online petition to encourage supporters to reach out to lawmakers.

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