WASHINGTON, D.C. — Many involved with the restaurant industry are seeing the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 100,000 restaurants in the U.S. have closed since the start of the pandemic.
Restaurant owners who have survived, like Joe Frillman and Amanda Cohen, are desperate for the money from President Joe Biden’s stimulus package.
“Every single month at the end of the month, it’s like, ‘Hey, we made it another month,’” said Frillman.
“I feel so unbelievably lucky to be standing on this side of it,” said Cohen.
But to keep their doors open, they will need access to the new restaurant revitalization fund, which is part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.
There are $28.6 billion in the restaurant fund, and it’s managed by the Small Business Administration.
The grant covers expenses and, unlike previous government loans, it doesn’t have to be paid back.
In all, 14% of restaurants surveyed stated they will close within three months if the government funding doesn’t reach them soon.
According to the National Restaurant Association, nearly 30% of restaurants don’t expect to return to normal for at least a year.
For now, there’s a new normal.
“We’re actually still operating at only about 25% capacity from what we can do. It’s really been a strain in terms of the amount of revenue that we can, that we can pull off,” said Frillman.
The Small Business Administration hasn’t given an exact date on when the loans will be available, stating only that it could be this month.