02.15.21

SCHUMER: CENTRAL NEW YORK’S RESTAURANTS, THE WORKERS THEY EMPLOY & LOCAL ECONOMY THEY SUPPORT NEED IMMEDIATE FED RELIEF TO WEATHER COVID FOR THE LONG HAUL; SENATOR DISHES OUT BIPARTISAN RELIEF FUND FOR GETTING LOCAL RESTUARNTS AND CAPITAL REGION ECONOMY COOKING AGAIN

In FIRST Visit To Upstate As Majority Leader, Schumer Says Too Many Local Restaurants Across Central New York Are On The Brink Of Closure; Over Half Of New York’s Restaurants Will Not Survive The Next Six Months Without Dedicated Federal Relief 

Onondaga County’s Restaurants Have Seen 27% Drop In Revenue During Pandemic—And That Is Just Tip Of ‘Iceberg’; Locals Also Need Larger COVID Relief On The Menu, Like Direct Checks, School Aid & More To Weather Rest Of Pandemics 

Schumer: CNY’s Economy Along With Its Beloved Restaurants Are On The Front Burner

Standing in front of Brasserie Bar and Bistro, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer unveiled a new restaurant relief fund, modeled on the widely support, bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act, which will provide a down-payment of $25 billion in flexible grants as a lifeline for New York’s restaurant industry, one of the hardest hit by the economic effects of the COVID pandemic. Schumer was joined by Michelle Roesch, owner of Brasserie Bar and Bistro and Bud Loura, owner of Restaurant QB.

The senator explained that the restaurant grant assistance he is including in the next COVID relief bill would be administrated by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and provide much-needed relief to Central New York’s restaurants. To provide comprehensive support to local restaurants, grants from the fund could be used alongside first and second Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit. Food service or drinking establishments, including caterers, brewpubs, taprooms, and tasting rooms, that are not part of an affiliated group with more than 20 locations would be eligible for the grants.

“Central New York’s economy has been hit hard by the pandemic, burning our beloved restaurant industry,” said Senator Schumer. “Restaurants and bars are the heartbeat of our Main Streets and sadly are on life support as the first to make sacrifices and close for the sake of public. It’s time for the federal government to whip up some federal dollars and finally serve the restaurants that have served our communities for years.”

Schumer added, “It’s one of my highest priorities to move Central New York’s restaurants to the front burner and dish out relief ASAP to keep both the restaurant industry and the Syracuse’s economy cooking.”

Schumer said the federal aid would aim to provide a lifeline to struggling restaurants and help recuperate some of the industry’s significant revenue losses. The new restaurants relief fund will be designed to provide flexible grants that can be used to cover payroll, mortgages or rent, setup for outdoor seating, PPE, paid leave, food and other supplies, or debt and other expenses. Food service or drinking establishments, including caterers, brewpubs, taprooms, and tasting rooms, that are not part of an affiliated group with more than 20 locations will be eligible.

Onondaga County’s restaurants have seen a 27% drop in revenue during the pandemic. People spent about $462 million during the spring, summer, and fall of 2020, compared to the $631 million they spent during the same time frame the year before. Some restaurants in the county chose to close temporarily during the pandemic and others – included 22 in Onondaga County alone – will never reopen.

According to the most recent survey released by the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA), 54% – over half – of New York restaurants said they likely would not survive the next six months without federal relief. This, compared to 37% of restaurants nationwide, indicates the dire situation of the restaurant industry in New York, Schumer said. NYSRA also estimated from the previously mentioned survey that approximately 3,833 restaurants in Upstate New York have already been forced to close due to the pandemic.

More details on Senator Schumer’s new restaurant relief fund appear below:

Grant Maximum – $10 million per restaurant group, $5 million per individual restaurant

Eligible Expenses – Payroll and benefits, mortgage, rent, utilities, maintenance, supplies including protective equipment and cleaning materials, food, operational expenses, covered supplier costs as defined by the SBA under the PPP program, sick leave, and any other expenses deemed essential by the Administrator.

Covered Period – Grants can be spent on eligible expenses from 2/15/20 through 12/31/21 and the Administrator may extend the period through two years from enactment if conditions warrant.

Set Asides – $5 billion of the $25 billion total is reserved for restaurants with less than $500,000 in gross receipts in 2019 for the first 60 days of the program. During the initial 21-day period, the administrator will prioritize awarding grants to eligible entities that are owned or controlled by women or Veterans or are socially and economically disadvantaged businesses.

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