The New York State Restaurant Association, alongside local restaurant owners in Western New York and the Capital Region, discussed the imminent financial hardships restaurants anticipate as the outdoor dining season comes to an end November 4th. As the industry continues to grapple with the lingering repercussions of the pandemic, many restaurants across the state found relief by expanding or overhauling outdoor dining options for their establishments.
However, as seasons change and those options become limited, New York restaurants are looking to the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) program for continued relief. The RRF, a federal funding program, was designed to provide emergency assistance for restaurants and bars impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In New York State, only 35.4% of businesses who applied for RRF funding received financial assistance. There were 27,643 applicants from New York asking for $9.6 billion, and 17,868 applicants were not funded — an outstanding need of $5.9 billion. Eligible restaurants who previously received funding from the RRF program were able to recoup losses from the pandemic, but the vast majority who weren’t funded are still struggling.
“The RRF program was deemed necessary in assisting the relief of many struggling restaurants at the height of the pandemic, but this aid is still desperately needed today. The replenishment of the RRF will provide additional resources for struggling restaurants to see another day and help make up for revenue lost because outdoor dining is no longer a viable option. Many in the industry have benefited from the RRF program, and many more deserve the same relief,” said Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of New York State Restaurant Association.
A recent survey done by the New York State Restaurant Association found that 85% of
restaurants said they’ve seen a reduction in demand for indoor dining with breakthrough cases on the rise. With colder weather at the forefront, indoor demand is not where it needs to be for many. With much at stake, restaurants who were unable to receive funding from the RRF program in the past would greatly benefit from additional funding to revamp their establishments
and stabilize foot traffic.
“Outdoor dining has been a huge help for restaurants across the state, including ours. The effects of the pandemic continue to linger and restaurants have adapted at every turn. As the cold weather looms, many of us must adapt once more to continue the businesses we have fought so hard to keep open, but we cannot do it on our own. We need Congress to replenish the RRF program to give our industry a fighting chance. We’re not back to where we need to be, and we’re worried about winter,” said Dennis DiPaolo, Owner of Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant & Banquet Facility.
Courtesy New York State Restaurant Association find more at https://www.nysra.org/