Reed backs fund to help restaurants impacted by COVID | News, Sports, Jobs

US Representative Tom Reed. photo AP

Rep. Tom Reed wants the federal government to help restaurants as they continue to recover from lost business during COVID-19.

In a conference call Wednesday with media from the 23rd congressional district, including The Post-Journal and OBSERVER, Reed noted that he supports the proposed restaurant revitalization fund. If approved, affected restaurants would receive $60 billion.

“This is the fund from the COVID relief fund that goes directly to our restaurants who are still struggling to get back on their feet to a large extent,” he said. Some of the biggest issues restaurants still face include hiring staff and supply chain shortages.

The Corning Republican said he would like the money to be made available to restaurants that weren’t eligible for previous relief programs or were unaware and hadn’t applied for funds before. He said the package was backed by both Republicans and Democrats, with more than 300 congressional representatives signing a letter of support.

“We just want to send a message to our restaurant owners and the workers in our restaurant industry that we hear your pain, that we hear your struggles as we navigate this final chapter of COVID,” he said.

Reed noted that Congress and the administration are working on a much larger COVID relief package, of which the Restaurant Revitalization Fund would be a part. He imagines funds for things like testing and personal protective equipment would also be part of the package.

“The whole package is going to include more than just restaurants,” he said.

Reed expects that, if approved, eligible restaurateurs will be required to show how their business has been impacted by the pandemic.

“This program has already been established under the previous COVID relief program,” he added.

Reed was unable to provide a timeline for the completion of such a package. “I wish I had a crystal ball that would guarantee you a time frame that said that’s when it would be done, but it can’t be done right now,” he said.

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Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement