An open letter to the U.S. Senate


645 so far! Let’s get to 1,000 signers!

As one of your constituents, I am asking you to advocate for bringing the HEROES Act (House Resolution 6800), which contains the vital RESTAURANTS ACT (House Resolution 7197), to the Senate floor for a vote. The independent restaurant industry is collapsing at a rapidly accelerating rate. This is a sector which, prior to COVID-19, employed an estimated 13.5 million Americans. By the end of 2020, one in six restaurants will have permanently closed their doors since March of 2020. The Independent Restaurant Coalition estimates that, without action from Congress, 85% of independent restaurants will close their doors by next Spring. The economic devastation of these closures, both for small business owners as well as employees, will be felt for years. Over 273,000 Americans have lost their lives due to the Coronavirus pandemic and this number is growing. The restaurant industry across the country has complied with or exceeded all safety measures prescribed by governors, the CDC, and the Fed. From much-needed mask mandates and distancing measures, to curfews and capacity restrictions and shutdowns, our industry supports all safety measures issued to help slow the spread of COVID. However, the nature of this pandemic has led to an unprecedented economic hardship. The RESTAURANTS ACT would be an lifeline for struggling small business owners and their employees. It is specifically targeted at independent restaurants and would provide much-needed assistance for payroll, rent, and the cost of PPE. Essential lost revenue would be and needs to be compensated to salvage what is left of the hospitality industry. This is absolutely vital for small business owners and essential businesses who are now facing the annual slow season of the winter months. This is traditionally a time when restaurants operate in the red during even the best of times. Also in this bill is sick pay for workers, who are currently being put in the unenviable position of jeopardizing their own safety to enforce mask-wearing and social distancing among guests. None of the smaller “targeted” bills proposed by the Senate or White House address independent restaurants. The Paycheck Protection Program did not provide the relief we need to keep our doors open, as it does not address the specific economic needs of the independent restaurant industry, where overhead accounts for the majority of monthly costs rather than payroll. Each week that has passed while the RESTAURANTS ACT has sat on Senator McConnell’s desk, hundreds of independent restaurant owners have closed the businesses which they poured countless hours and years of their lives into. We no longer have time to wait for Washington to compromise on a bipartisan bill. We need help today or our industry, a major employer in every state of the Union, won’t be here tomorrow. This is literally our only chance at survival. We are making decisions on whether or not we can afford to stay open on a day-by-day basis.

First sent on December 3, 2020 by Independent Restaurant Workers

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