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Schumer Says Too Many Local Restaurants Across The City Are On The Brink Of Closure; Many Of New York’s Restaurants Might Not Survive The Next Six Months Without Dedicated Federal Relief

92% Of NYC Eateries Could NOT Afford December Rent—And That Is Just Tip Of ‘Iceberg’; City  Also Needs Larger COVID Relief On The Menu, Like Direct Checks, School Aid & More To Weather Rest Of Pandemic

Schumer: Putting A Fork In Pandemic MUST Include Plan To Help Our NYC Restaurants

Before heading back to Washington to continue the push for COVID relief, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer detailed the plight of NYC restaurants hit hard by the pandemic, and his plan to help get them—and the NYC economy—‘cooking’ again. Standing with the owner of the restaurant ‘Dirt Candy’ on the LES, as well as the NYC Hospitality Alliance, Schumer detailed plans for his restaurant relief fund, modeled on the widely supported, bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act, which will provide 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 explained what will happen this week in Washington as he made a specific case for New York City restaurants, that have only recently, been able to see patrons dine inside once again.

Schumer explained that the restaurant grant assistance he wants included in the next COVID relief bill would be administrated by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and provide much-needed relief to New York City restaurants. This plan would provide comprehensive support to local restaurants and 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.

“New York City restaurants, their employees and the city economy need immediate federal relief to weather COVID because too many of the places we know and love could close without the help, leaving a giant hole in our local economy,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “That is why this plan to get our restaurants ‘cooking’ again centers on getting them the dollars needed to absorb the huge losses and survive this pandemic. Including restaurant relief in the federal COVID relief plan not only makes sense, but it’s the recipe needed to keep small businesses like Dirt Candy going.”     

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.

“The restaurant industry is vital to the economic foundation and social fabric of New York City, and it has been decimated by COVID-19. Thousands of beloved restaurants and bars have permanently shuttered and countless more are teetering on the edge of survival. Our eating and drinking spots have shed over 140,000 jobs and many New Yorkers still working in the industry are underemployed. That’s why we’re proud and grateful to stand with New York’s own Senator Schumer, who is fighting hard with us to enact dedicated and structured financial support to save restaurants and jobs in the five boroughs, and around our country,” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director, NYC Hospitality Alliance.

Schumer also explained, pre-pandemic New York City’s 25,000 eating and drinking establishments employed 325,000 people. Over the past year, the industry’s lost more than 140,000 jobs. And a recent survey conducted by the New York City hospitality Alliance revealed 92% of more than 400 surveyed couldn’t afford to pay December rent, a number officials say is only increasing. In another report 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 thousands of restaurants in 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.