According to The Hill, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced legislation to establish a $120 billion fund for independent foodservice or drinking establishments devastated from the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill, dubbed the “Real Economic Support that Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive Act” or “Restaurant Act,” would provide grants to restaurants that are not publicly traded and have $1.5 million or less in revenue under normal circumstances. It also allows for franchisees with 20 locations or fewer to access these grants.
The grant can be used to cover payroll, benefits, mortgage, rent, protective equipment, food, or other costs. It provides an addition or substitute to loans offered through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which Congress passed in the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package in March, for restaurants to spend more on overhead costs, as well as payroll.
“The introduction of this bill provides hope of survival for small business restaurant owners from the smallest towns to the broadest urban streets,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs at the National Restaurant Association, in a press release. “It will help these struggling businesses, regardless of the sign on the door, who are still facing a difficult and uncertain future.