Award-winning and celebrity chefs and restaurateurs across the country (including Alice Waters, Curtis Stone and Reem Assil, among many more) have started a fast-growing Change.org petition calling for an aid package that could save their restaurants during this ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
The petition, signed by over 50,000-plus in less than 24 hours, calls for legislators to “to engage with local industry leaders and restaurant associations immediately to come to a swift plan for how you can meaningfully give your local restaurants the best chance for survival,” according to the petition.
Some of their policy suggestions include:
Providing emergency employment benefits to all hourly and salaried workers who have been laid off or suffered or lost their pay for the length of this crisis
Waiving payroll tax
Endorsing rent and loan abatement for workers
Working with state liquor authorities to enable restaurants offering take out and delivery to also sell/deliver beer, wine and cocktails by the bottle
Waving zoning or permit restrictions to allow restaurants to temporarily use their spaces as boutique food and beverage markets, offering an alternative to overcrowded supermarkets and by extension continuing to pay their staff and support their farms and purveyors
Many signers are also chefs or restaurant owners, and have commented to share their concerns about how the pandemic is affecting their livelihood and businesses:
Kyle Alano of Buffalo, NY commented: “I've been cooking professionally for over 13 years and now suddenly unemployed and virtually unemployable for the immediate future... Don't take our passion from us.”
Nancy Solyan of Grass Valley, CA commented: “I am an owner of a cafe and even though we can stay open and can do to-go orders, we are doing way less than half of our normal business and we are unable to staff our cafe with our employees. We will have to consider closing soon! Please help.”
The petition can be found at Change.org/SaveRestaurantsNow.
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