Food+Drink

Bill Would Help Restaurant Biz Amid Economic Crisis

new legislation in Congress seeks to help out restaurants hit by pandemic

Julie Quinn, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

SERVICE WITH A SMILE (BEHIND A MASK). COVID-19 has forced restaurants, such as Loopy's outside Chippewa Falls, to adapt quickly.
SERVICE WITH A SMILE (BEHIND A MASK). COVID-19 has forced restaurants, such as Loopy's outside Chippewa Falls, to adapt quickly.

Since the pandemic began, the restaurant industry has lost more revenue and jobs than any other industry, according to a bill pending in Congress. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., recently co-sponsored the Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive (RESTAURANT) Act.

If passed, the bill would establish a $120 billion revitalization fund, helping the restaurant industry overcome the long-term economic challenges caused by COVID-19. The bill would also support the reemployment of 11 million independent restaurant workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the restaurant industry currently faces an unemployment rate of 21%, with 6.1 million people out of a job.

“Local restaurants and workers across Wisconsin need our support now to survive this economic crisis,” Baldwin said. Funds can be used to cover payroll, benefits, mortgage, rent, supplies, protective equipment, cleaning materials, and other costs, according to the Blueprint for Revival. The legislation is supported by the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) and is co-sponsored by 26 other U.S. senators.

For more information about the act, visit restaurantsact.com.