Restaurants lobby Congress for $ 120 billion “lifeline” because thousands have permanent closure

Of the 23 million people who lost their jobs early in the pandemic, more than 6 million worked in the food and beverage sector. A recent report predicts up to 230,000 restaurants may be permanently shaken by the end of 2020.

Now restaurant owners have banded together to form the Independent Restaurant Coalition, which has the backing of some of the top names in the American culinary industry and is lobbying Congress for a $ 120 billion fine for small and medium-sized restaurants. to give.

“This is all that will give us the necessary lifeline to get through this period, but also to get a little past here and open up,” chef and TV host Tom Colicchio told CBS News’ Errol Barnett. “And so, when we finally have a fax machine and when the country finally opens up and people feel comfortable coming back, we’ll have restaurants to come back to.”

The group launched a new TV ad featuring Morgan Freeman, with the goal of urging Congress to help these restaurants survive the coronavirus pandemic.

“Sixteen million people risk losing their jobs, and disproportionately affecting people of color and single mothers,” the actor’s voice can be said. “Without your help, our favorite places to eat will be gone, forever.”

Lockdowns imposed by state and local governments have prevented bars and restaurants from occurring operated as normal and forced them to get creative in order to keep customers. Despite their efforts, most owners barely keep the lights on.

“Downtown is like a ghost town, you know. I think the buildings occupy less than 50%,” said restaurant restaurateur Carolina Guttierez, Ohio. “We depend on the business people, especially here in the city center.”

Even after laying off staff and raising revenue at their two locations in Ohio, Guttierez and her husband worry that they will not be able to pay their $ 8,000-a-month household for Arepazo in downtown Columbus soon.

“The landlord must get his money. But if I’m 50%, 60% down, how’ll I get the money, you know?” she asked.

New Chef-based chef Nina Compton shares her stress after she had to lay off nearly 100 people at her two restaurants to stay afloat. She said de economic impact feels far outside the doors of their establishments.

“This is about the farmer who supplies me with wonderful products, this is about the fisherman who gives me wonderful shrimp. I keep their job alive,” Compton said. “I fight for a lot of people who do not have a voice that you, you know, are just trying to make things work in their kitchen.”

And without government support for the bailout of the Restaurants Act, she said she “just can’t stay afloat.”

“Everyone is looking for a little hope,” she said.

The Restaurant Coalition says its effort has already called thousands to Congress and nearly 200 co-sponsors have called for legislation in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Lawmakers are still negotiating a new round of incentive financing, and do not appear close to a deal.

“One of the best places to push incentives is the restaurant industry, because every dollar we typically deposit goes $ 0.95 to $ 0.90 out the door. Our margins are so slim,” Colicchio said. . “We will not take this money and put it in the bag. We will not pay bonuses to drivers. We will not buy supplies. This money will come out in the community.”