US restaurant funding looks unlikely, despite new support
United States mayors and legislators are urging the government to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), but it is looking increasingly unlikely.
A senior official with President Joe Biden’s administration said there will likely not be additional economic stimulus packages this year, but there may be some relief for restaurants, per The Washington Post.
“There might be something small for restaurants. But the economy is booming, there are millions of open jobs, and we do not believe people should be sitting at home if they are vaccinated and boosted, as most adults are," the senior official said.
“So, we are not going to write checks to incentivize people to sit at home, and we are not going to bail out businesses if the economy seems strong,” the official said, while leaving the possibility open "if something changes.”
The leisure and hospitality category added 53,000 jobs in December, according to United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, and added 2.6 million jobs overall in 2021, per The Food Institute.
However, BLS noted employment in the industry was still down 1.2 million jobs compared to February 2020.
Employment at foodservice and drinking establishments rose by 43,000 in December, but remained down 653,000 jobs versus pre-pandemic levels.
Meanwhile, Democratic and Republican lawmakers have held early discussions about another round of coronavirus stimulus spending due to concerns over the fast-spreading omicron variant.
“The efforts have focused primarily on authorizing billions of dollars to help an array of businesses — including restaurants, performance venues, gyms and even minor league sports teams — that face another potential blow to their already-battered balance sheets as a result of the evolving pandemic,” The Washington Post said.
In addition, current and former mayors from 28 cities called on members of Congress to replenish the RRF.
Not giving restaurants relief would be “catastrophic,” the mayors wrote. “The Omicron variant is causing more strife for restaurants and bars in such peril that they might not survive the winter.”
The omicron variant is affecting restaurant reservations in cities around the country, IRC noted. Reservations in Brooklyn, New York; Chicago, Illinois; New Orleans, Louisiana; and New York, NewYork, for example, are far below their 2019 levels.
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