Chef Advocacy Update: The RESTAURANTS Act of 2020

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A message from The James Beard Foundation:

Chefs,

Last week, we shared an update on several of the bills circulating right now that touch on various points in the food system—agriculture, hunger/SNAP, and business priorities. For this email, we wanted to focus on another bill, the RESTAURANTS Act of 2020.

What is the RESTAURANTS Act?
The Real Economic Support that Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive Act of 2020 (or RESTAURANTS Act for short) was introduced in both the House and the Senate. Its goal is to provide financial support to restaurants—particularly small, local restaurants that may have been left out of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Who introduced the bill?
The bill was introduced by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR 3) and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), signifying bipartisan support. It was re-introduced by Representative Jimmy Panetta (D-CA 20), a Member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

What would this bill do?
As proposed, the RESTAURANTS Act would provide $120 billion in grant programs, tailored to small restaurants—which means no large chains or publicly traded companies. Unlike the PPP or EIDL loans, these grants would not need to be repaid. The goal is to cover the difference between 2019 revenue and anticipated revenue of 2020, with a cap of $10m. More details here.

Want to take action?
You can send a letter to your Members of Congress through the Independent Restaurant Coalition portal here.
Want to get the word out on social media? A file is available here with a list of Member of Congress social media handles, as well as sample text and a graphic (or you can use your own!). #saverestaurants #toosmalltofail

Read more about the bill here.
Read the full text of the bill here, and a great summary that includes many of the technical and administrative points of the legislation here.
Read the National Restaurant Association statement here.
Read the Independent Restaurant Coalition statement here.

Top Reads and Watches
Don’t miss our Industry Support Webinar TODAY at 2:00 P.M. ET on COVID-19 and communities of color, hosted by Civil Eats. Register here.
$120B federal relief package for independent restaurants could help restaurateurs left behind by PPP [Business Journal] A State-by-State Guide to Coronavirus-Related Restrictions at Restaurants [OpenTable] Op-Ed: Overthrowing the Food System’s Plantation Paradigm [Civil Eats]

The James Beard Foundation recently partnered with Zagat on a study titled, The Future of Dining, which explored consumers’ behaviors and thoughts about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on restaurants and dining. Learn more about the survey here.

Best,
Ashley Kosiak and the James Beard Foundation Impact Programs team

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