A trade group representing about a million of America's restaurants is calling on lawmakers to help the nation's ailing eateries after it said nearly 100,000 restaurants were shuttered recently amid pandemic-driven reopening rollbacks.
"As of today, the industry has lost over $120 billion and the current revenue path aligns with our year-end loss projections."
As COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations have surged in states ranging from Arizona and California to Florida and Texas, many local governments have reversed course on reopening plans.
"Many are advising us they cannot survive this ongoing on/off approach to operations and will permanently close," Kennedy wrote.
The association's plan calls for short-term relief and long-term foundation-building to help restaurants survive the shifting policy landscape amid the COVID-19 surge.
The Blueprint for Restaurant Revival calls on lawmakers to implement a range of measures, including short-term relief, by creating a targeted Restaurant Recovery Fund.
"Given the evolving reopening 'start again, stop again' landscape, the urgency for this recovery solution grows daily," the association writes in the plan.
Another form of relief involves grants, capped at $10 million, to cover costs ranging from payroll, benefits, mortgages, rent, supplies, protective equipment, and cleaning materials.
The blueprint also urges lawmakers to deploy another round of funding under the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.
"The initial PPP provided eight weeks of vital short-term relief, but the challenges facing our industry have not gone away and restaurants have exhausted their PPP loans," the association writes.
Other measures include liability protections and payroll tax relief.
“The restaurant industry is one of tenacity, innovation, and dedication to serving our community,” Kennedy stated. “We are looking to Congress not only for support for our short-term survival, but to create a long-term framework that sustains our role as a key part of the food supply chain for the millions of families that rely on us for nourishment.”