Whatley noted that many restaurants are headed toward another difficult winter without proper financial aid. In the letter, he emphasized that two-third of applicants for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund did not receive any financial assistance.
Even though there's $43.6 billion left to be funded, Congress has not replenished the program, leaving 177,000 restaurants without crucial monetary help. During the summer, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act was introduced to add $60 billion in funding. The ENTRÉE Act, rolled out a month later, aims to add $60 billion, as well. However, neither piece of legislation has garnered significant momentum.
The National Restaurant Association is asking local leaders to help restaurants in offering outdoor dining for as long as possible this winter. The organization suggests possible solutions like extending expanded outdoor dining allowances, continuing to streamline permitting processes, promoting outdoor dining efforts by operators, and giving funding for outdoor dining infrastructure.
“Expanded outdoor dining cannot replace robust consumer demand for indoor dining or Congress taking action to replenish the RRF, yet it is critically needed to help the industry sustain the winter,” Whatley said.