WASHINGTON, D.C. — The pandemic is hurting business all of the country, but local restaurants are among the hardest hit. Lawmakers, like Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Time Kaine, say those restaurants need a helping hand to keep their doors open for business.
“So many of our independent restaurants have seen revenues decline by 50,60,70 percent,” Senator Mark Warner says.
Both Virginia senators co-sponsored the bipartisan Restaurant Act of 2020, which creates a $120 billion revitalization fund to help restaurants survive the pandemic.
“It is a longer term program that will help them through the period until they are able to fully re-open,” Warner added.
Warner and Kaine say if congress does not intervene, more than $11 million restaurant workers are at risk of losing their jobs.
“I talked to so many businesses who would like to bring people back but they don’t yet have the demand to bring back workers,” Kaine says.
In towns like Roanoke and Lynchburg, Virginia, Restaurants are facing revenue loss because of the decrease in customers dining out, along with the rising costs of supplies and person protective equipment for employees.
“If we suddenly saw them all close down, it might be years before those downtowns would return,” Warner says.
Both Kaine and Warner want their bill included in the next coronavirus relief package.