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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 20, 2020

 

Contact

Paloma Perez Paloma.Perez@mail.house.gov (202) 380-5166

Lucy Prout Lucy.Prout@mail.house.gov (202) 360-6602

 

Bill would create $120 billion restaurant stabilization grant program

 

Washington, D.C. –Today, Representative Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02) cosponsored the Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive (RESTAURANTS) Act to help meet the needs of New Mexico’s struggling independent restaurant owners and operators. The bill would create a $120 billion restaurant stabilization grant program to help independent restaurants manage the long-term challenges created by COVID-19. Reports have highlighted how COVID-19 business restrictions have hit local restaurants especially hard, and the RESTAURANTS Act takes into account the costs of acquiring masks, gloves, and other protective equipment for employees; cleaning materials; food; debt payments to suppliers; and other industry-specific needs as restaurants have been asked to operate at reduced capacity or temporarily close their doors.

“Local restaurants are more than our favorite places to eat—they’re small businesses that define our communities and employ our friends and families. Unfortunately, they’ve been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Right now, restaurants are in urgent need of support to help them overcome hardship and remain fixtures in our community in the months and years to come. The RESTAURANTS Act will help to address the unique challenges our local eateries are facing by providing them with the flexibility and resources they need to meet the reality on the ground as they safely reopen and find ways to continue to serve and employ our community,” said Torres Small.

“We continue to struggle to keep our doors open and safely serve customers. Before COVID-19, Rutilio’s, like most restaurants, was already operating on small margins. Right now, we’re facing added expenses to make sure we’re serving customers safely while also operating at a much lower capacity. This bill makes it clear Rep. Torres Small is listening to concerns from business owners like us,” said Rudy and Rebecca Jaramillo, owners of Rutilio’s in Belen.

“Rep. Torres Small’s bill would give restaurants like mine a much needed buffer and cover the new expenses we’re all facing to safely reopen. This act helps to keep our dreams of business ownership alive. New Mexico’s restaurants impact our employees, as well as other industries that supply goods and services to us.  Simply put, we must have immediate support to sustain one of the most important job-creating segments of our state economy. By putting together this program, Rep. Torres Small clearly displays a commitment that assists New Mexico restaurants, future hospitality entrepreneurs and our co-workers who at present are suffering,” said Steve Brockett, owner of The Waffle & Pancake Shoppe in Alamogordo.

The RESTAURANTS ACT would: 

  • Create a $120 billion restaurant stabilization grant program to help independent restaurants deal with the long-term structural challenges due to COVID-19.
  • Be available to food service or drinking establishments, including caterers, that are not publicly traded or part of a chain with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name.
    • Eligible expenses include: payroll (not including employee compensation exceeding $100,000/year), benefits, mortgage, rent, utilities, maintenance, supplies (including protective equipment and cleaning materials), food, debt obligations to suppliers, and any other expenses deemed essential by the Secretary of the Treasury.
    • Recipients must certify that current economic conditions make the grant request necessary, that the funds will be used to retain workers, maintain payroll, and make other payments (as specified above).
  • Include restaurants owners who may have received assistance from the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs. They must subtract funds received that do not need to be paid back from the maximum Restaurant Stabilization Grant value.

The bill also includes measures to target resources where they are needed most and to prevent abuse of the restaurant stabilization program. The first 14 days of funds will only be made available to restaurants with annual revenues of $1.5 million or less to target local small restaurants, particularly those that are women, veteran, or minority-owned and operated.

Torres Small’s cosponsorship of the RESTAURANTS Act is the latest in her continued efforts to support New Mexico’s struggling small businesses, including a letter last week highlighting the need to provide increased flexibility and support for PPP recipients that may need additional money above their original loan request.

 

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