Independent restaurants urge Congress to pass relief bill

Independent restaurants urge Congress to pass relief bill
Restaurant owners are urging Congress to pass Restaurant Act to help save the industry. (Source: Independent Restaurant Coalition)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - All across the country, independent restaurants are fighting to stay open. Now they’re trying to push the U.S. Congress to pass a relief bill.

A powerful ad by the Independent Restaurant Coalition, voiced by actor Morgan Freeman, is urging Congress to pass the Restaurant Act of 2020 to help pay workers, rent, and utilities. The ad says 85% of small restaurants are at risk of closing their doors permanently.

The legislation would set up a $120 billion geared on helping restaurants affected by the COVID-19 crisis, which has bipartisan support.

“The restaurant, including takeout has gone down significantly from last year, it has been the slowest in years,” said Michael Klauber, co-owner of Michael’s on East and co-founder of the Sarasota and Manatee Originals.

Klauber says a lot of restaurants on the Suncoast are not going make it past October if this legislation doesn’t pass.

“They’re in a loss situation and [independent] restaurants in our region are in survival mode,” he told ABC7.

According to the National Restaurant Association, this pandemic can decimate an industry that directly employs 15.6 million people. Since March, Klauber says he’s been trying new ways to keep his restaurant afloat.

“We quickly created, an online takeout and delivery service in about three days,” he said. “We tried our best to survive on that. It’s been fun to tap on that part of the business that we never been in before.”

Klauber is urging people to call their congressional representatives to push the legislation.

To learn more about this movement and how you can help, click here.

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