Stories / Impact

You Need to Call Congress and Keep Supporting Restaurants

Tell your representative to back the RRF Replenishment Act

JBF Editors

June 25, 2021


Outdoor tables at a restaurant with groups of people eating and talking

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) is desperately in need of a boost. The $28.6 billion in allocated funds went quickly, and the need is still great. While restaurants might have reopened for business, many are still facing financial pressure and debt brought on by over a year of COVID-19 closures and restrictions. Owners are dealing with paying back small business loans, giving landlords back-rent, and continuing to keep staff and customers healthy and happy.

The RRF provided a much-needed lifeline to restaurants devastated by the pandemic, and prioritized restaurants and food business owned by traditionally under-represented and under-funded communities: businesses owned by women, veterans, and “socially and economically disadvantaged” operators (in essence, BIPOC individuals). As reported by the New York Times, these groups have been disproportionately underserved by COVID-19 relief efforts, including the Paycheck Protection Program. Prioritizing these groups, which have historically been overlooked, would help to create a more equitable industry. Congress made the right decision in putting them first.

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) decision to halt payments to prioritized groups, due to lawsuits in Texas and Tennessee, is particularly damaging to the nearly 3,000 business that received approval notices from the SBA, only to have them rescinded on June 14. Only Wednesday—June 23—the SBA sent another round of cancelation letters to businesses that had previously been approved. As of right now, the number of businesses receiving this second round of cancellation letters is not public knowledge. These businesses have been left with no hope of receiving the promised funding before the pool of money available runs out.

Congress needs to pass H.R. 3807—the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act—to ensure that all independent restaurants, and especially the operators who were approved for funds, have the financial support they need to get back on their feet. Our industry is still in crisis—the time to pass this bill is now. No more restaurants should have to permanently close their doors while waiting for aid. Independent restaurants and the communities they serve deserve the chance to recover and rebuild.

Use the IRC’s Congressional Outreach guide to contact your Member of Congress and ask them to support this important piece of legislation.

Photo: e_rasmus/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images