WASHINGTON – New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand is teaming up with those in the restaurant industry to create a bill that would give $60 billion to independent restaurants affected by the pandemic.
Dubbed the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021, the Senator is joining restaurateur Tom Colicchio to create the legislation that gives funds to the Small Business Administration, who then would award relief money to approved applicants.
So far, there have been approximately 362,000 applicants. Less than one-third of them have received funding to help keep their restaurant doors open.
“We’re actually talking people off the ledge right now. This is serious. People’s life work, they’re watching, they’re hanging on as desperately as they can, and they’re looking at these bills that they have to pay, and they have no way out,” said Colicchio.
The restaurant industry employs roughly ten percent of New Yorkers, and is valued at $51.6 billion. On top of that, the majority of those working in the industry are people of color, formerly incarcerated people, and immigrants.
“All the applications that are currently in, the $60 billion will cover everybody,” announced Colicchio.
Further showing the importance of the legislation, the bill is both bipartisan and bicameral.
“There’s 12 bipartisan Senators on the bill and then in the House, there’s 188 in the House,” noted Gillibrand. “I believe that if this can be voted on in any of the ‘must pass’ bills, it will pass.”
Restaurants that have closed in the past year can also get funding from this legislation in an effort to reopen.
“Independent restaurants are critical to our economy and this additional $60 billion funding boost will provide direct aid to the restaurant owners Congress initially intended to assist and help these vital businesses keep their doors open,” said Gillibrand.