Omicron delivers a blow to ‘struggling’ restaurant industry: National Restaurant Association executive


The National Restaurant Association’s executive vice president of public affairs, Sean Kennedy, said Thursday that the industry is currently “struggling” to keep the doors open, noting that the vast majority of owners say conditions are worse now than they were. few months ago.

Speaking on ‘Cavuto: Coast to Coast’, he pointed out that further financial relief was needed to help restaurateurs stay afloat as the omicron variant has dealt a severe blow to the restaurant industry.

Kennedy pointed to a recent national survey by the National Restaurant Association, which he said noted that 76% of restaurant owners said “their conditions are worse now than they were just three months ago.” .

“Programs like the Restaurant Revitalization Fund have saved an estimated 900,000 jobs,” he continued.

“Congress continues to sit on the sidelines [and] did not support the financing of this program, which could save, according to our estimates, 1.6 million additional jobs.

In one survey released Monday by the National Restaurant Association, the data highlighted the impact omicron has had so far as well as the positive impact the Restaurant Revitalization Fund has had on the industry.


the Release showcasing survey results, the first round of funding saved more than 900,000 jobs and helped 96% of grant recipients stay in business.

The survey also found that almost half of restaurateurs who did not receive subsidies believe they are unlikely to stay in business beyond the pandemic without any financial assistance. It also found that 94% of restaurateurs who applied for a grant but did not receive funding said a future grant would help them retain or rehire employees.

New York restaurants are among those hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic and its associated lockdowns.

In one Press releasethe New York State Restaurant Association pointed to National Restaurant Association estimates that one in six restaurants nationwide have closed due to the pandemic and said that, based on estimates, that means more than 8,000 restaurants in the New York State, 4,500 who are in New York, have closed for good.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has begun exploring another round of coronavirus relief funding for small businesses as the surge in the highly contagious omicron variant threatens to unleash more economic havoc.

The senses. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., have led an effort to provide small businesses with additional federal assistance, a person familiar with the matter told FOX Business earlier this month. The news was first reported by the Washington Post.


The source said the duo are developing a package based on a bill the couple introduced in August that would replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a program created by Democrats in March 2021 that granted food and beverage providers grants equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss, with a maximum of $10 million per business and $5 million per location.

Proposal legislation, which did not pass, would have allocated an additional $48 billion to the fund. The Post reported that Wicker and Cardin crafted a $68 billion proposal in mid-December that includes a mix of new spending and reallocation of unused cash allowed in previous packages.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund launched on May 3 and paid out approximately $29 billion to eligible applicants, which included restaurants, bars, food trucks and carts, breweries, tasting rooms and others. catering establishments. Businesses could use the grants to cover expenses, rent and supply costs. The fund ran out of money in less than two months after giving grants to more than 100,000 businesses.

“Restaurants are a low-profit industry on a good day, and we’re still in debt from government-mandated closures — so it’s been very difficult for us to get back online,” Kennedy said Thursday. “We don’t have the customer traffic we need.”

He went on to point out that “90,000 restaurants have closed temporarily or for the long term” and stressed the importance of advancing legislation to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to prevent the industry, which, he noted, is the second largest in the country. private sector employer, to decrease further.

“We need to get this legislation through Congress,” he said.

Any spending plan faces an uphill battle in the tightly divided Senate, where Republicans have previously scaled back efforts to provide small businesses with additional aid due to worries about the nation’s deficit. But the talks underscore growing unease on Capitol Hill over the recent stunning rise in cases driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant.

Asked earlier this month about the possibility of a relief package targeting restaurants and other small businesses, White House press secretary Jen Psaki pointed to the $1.9 trillion package the Democrats passed nearly a year ago.


“We did a major relief program which included helping restaurants last year,” she said. “We are in constant discussion with Congress and leaders about the needs of the American people, whether it’s small businesses or restaurants or people sitting at home as we continue to fight the pandemic, but we don’t. ‘have no new predictions of new pending requests or specific requests and I was not anticipating this at this time.’

Only about a third of restaurants that applied for help through the fund have received a grant, and the Independent Restaurant Coalition, a trade group formed during the pandemic, estimates that nearly 80% of restaurants could close this winter without additional help.


Megan Henney of FOX Business contributed to this report.

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