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Metro Creative Connection

Higgins fights to make sure neighborhood restaurants have fair access to COVID relief

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Fri, Feb 5th 2021 12:30 pm

Congressman says regulations related to applying for restaurant relief should ensure smaller businesses aren’t left behind

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, is pushing to ensure restaurant assistance in the next COVID-19 disaster relief package doesn’t leave smaller, neighborhood restaurants behind.

In a letter to House committee leaders who will write policy and oversee guidelines related to restaurant relief, Higgins wrote, “A restaurant relief fund must consider lessons learned from previous small business relief programs by prioritizing small, independent establishments’ ability to access relief funds. This program must be designed, from drafting regulations to execution on the ground, with our neighborhood restaurants in mind, or we risk losing them entirely. Options such as staggered opening of application periods, expedited application processes, targeted outreach, and more will ensure the relief fund is accessible to restaurants in need.”

Higgins has fought to make sure targeted restaurant relief is in the next COVID-19 relief package. Earlier this week, Higgins spoke on the House floor in favor of the budget resolution that included $25 billion in restaurant aid and will allow the COVID-19 relief package to advance.

The restaurant industry supports over 15 million jobs across the country. In survey by the National Restaurant Association, 37% of restaurant operators nationwide and 54% of restaurants in New York reported it was unlikely their restaurant would still be in business in six months, if additional relief is not made available.

Higgins is also a cosponsor of Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s RESTAURANTS Act, legislation establishing a $120 billion grant program as a lifeline for restaurants. The bill was reintroduced for the 117th Congress this week.

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