The nation’s top democratic lawmakers went to a struggling Lower East Side vegetarian restaurant on Sunday to defer a non-vegetarian relief proposal that would help eateries be devastated by pandemic restrictions.
New York’s US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said 92 percent of Big Apple restaurants can’t afford their rent in December and many of them won’t survive for the next six months without federal relief.
He talked about the proposed Restaurant Act, which was added to the COVID-19 relief bill on the Senate floor last week, at Dirt Candy, Allen Street, on Sunday.
“As the majority leader, I have the ability to determine what happens on the Senate floor, and the first bill I put on the Restaurant Act,” Schumer said.
He said that under the measure, employees would receive a grant of $ 25 billion over a six-month period for restaurants to pay or insure rent or buy PPE.
“It’s very flexible and suits the restaurant,” said the Democrat.
“Our restaurants are in trouble. Thousands more will be closed if we do not give them help. “People are not going to restaurants. [Eateries] Ongoing expenses They have leases. Their fare is. They have insurance.
“They are one of the backbone of our economy and with our feet and our arts sectors, they suffer the most.”
Amanda Cohen, owner and chef of Dirt Candy, said her business needed all the help for it.
“I had 35 employees. Currently I have six. I will not survive without much help, ”she said.
“It’s impossible. We can’t find the business we used to. I was able to seat 90-100 people a night. These days, we’re sitting somewhere around 20.
“I’m down 75 percent in profits, and until I get a grant – no debt, I won’t survive on debt, I’m not making enough money to pay off a debt – there’s no way that Dirt Candy survived. Can. “
Under the bill, individual restaurants can claim grants of up to $ 5 million, with $ 10 million available for smaller chains. Large corporate chains with more than 20 restaurants will not qualify.
The size of the grant will depend on lost revenue between 2019 and 2020.
This week, the city’s restaurants will be allowed to increase their indoor dining capacity by 35 percent, a benchmark that Cohen claims still falls short of profitability for him.
“it hurts so much. There is a roller coaster every day. Cohen said that we are dealing with huge amounts of lost income, loss of business. “The weather has not been very helpful in the last few months.
“Maintaining a restaurant and maintaining our mental well-being is really difficult. We need something that gives us a sigh of relief.
A study released in October by the state’s Comptroller Controller Thomas DiNapoli estimated that half of all New York City and bar restaurants could be permanently shuttering by April due to the epidemic.
President Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package includes $ 1,400 direct checks to eligible Americans earning less than $ 75,000 per year, extensions for an additional $ 400 a week in federal unemployment benefits, and a long-term federal pay The demanding Democratic priority becomes $ 15.