Relief For Restaurants On Its Way — Will It Help Workers?

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During his speech on the lackluster April jobs report, President Joe Biden touched on renewed government efforts to provide relief to the restaurant industry and its workers.

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“Today, we’re sending out the first relief checks to 16,000 hard-hit restaurants with help for many more to follow. A lot more people are going to be employed,” Biden stated.

In an accompanying fact sheet released by the White House, it was stated that restaurants, bars and other small businesses offering on-site food and beverages employed “nearly 12 percent of all workers prior to the pandemic … The leisure and hospitality sector, which includes restaurants and bars, had 17 percent fewer jobs this April than in February 2020.”

There has been improvement, however. The sector added 331,000 jobs in April, more than were added in March. Despite adding more jobs than any industry restaurants are still struggling.

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According to USTravel.org, the leisure and hospitality industry accounted for 39% of all jobs lost during the pandemic.

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To mitigate this, Biden announced a recently launched Restaurant Revitalization Fund to aid restaurants, bars, food trucks and other establishments. These grants “will give restaurants and bars the flexibility to hire back workers at good wages. In the first two days of the program, 186,200 restaurants, bars and other eligible business in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and five U.S. Territories applied for relief,” the White House statement read.

Biden stated that yesterday, his administration would be sending out the first grants under the program to 16,000 restaurants.

The president also made comments about employers being able to hire back workers part-time without those workers losing their unemployment benefits. Amounts and durations of relief for restaurants and workers were not given, nor were comments quantifying how much restaurant workers were expected to impact the next jobs report.

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