Restaurants ask for more funding as COVID-19 surge slows business again

Leaders are asking Congress an additional $60 billion
Restaurant owners ask for more federal help
Posted at 6:48 AM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 13:05:25-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Staffing shortages and a surge in COVID-19 cases continues to put the restaurant industry on shaky ground heading into fall.

Leaders in all states are asking Congress an additional $60 billion for the now depleted Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

Businesses are seeing a continued slowdown in business because of concerns surrounding the rise in cases.

A survey from the National Restaurant Association last month found six in ten adults have changed their restaurant usage due to the Delta variant.

The first round of funding earlier this year provided $28.6 billion to eligible restaurants, but less than half of the restaurant operators who applied received funding.

The National Restaurant Association projects restaurant and food service industry sales will jump nearly 20% to $789 billion this year from $659 billion in 2020. That is still far below pre-pandemic sales of $864 billion.

The other ongoing issue are labor challenges which have intensified this year, according to restaurant owners.

They also are concerned about rising food costs and the potential for the delta variant to stall recovery.

Local group Hospitality Tennessee was one of 50 groups to sign the letter to Congress, which says the small progress the industry has made toward financial security is in danger of being wiped out.