Wednesday, May 25

Suozzi Calls on Senate to Provide Relief to Restaurants Continuing to Struggle with Economic Fallout from COVID

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Standing alongside Long Island restaurant owners who continue to feel the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congressman Tom Suozzi (D – Long Island, Queens) called on the U.S. Senate to pass the Relief for Restaurants and Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act of 2022 – legislation which includes $42 billion to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

“On March 22, 2020, non-essential businesses in New York shut down. The recovery for restaurants has been uneven ever since,” said Suozzi. “Today, we are making a united called for the United States Senate to follow suit and vote on House-passed legislation that will provide vital relief to Long Island’s restaurants.”

Suozzi’s urgent call for Senate action was held in front of Henry’s Confectionery in Glen Cove, a small mom-and-pop luncheonette that has been serving the community since 1929. Suozzi was joined by the owner of Henry’s, Joe Valensisi, Patricia Holman, Executive Director Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District, and other local restaurateurs and small business owners. These efforts led by Suozzi are also supported by Mickey King, Director of the New York State Restaurant Association.

“It has been a long road and on behalf of myself and the other local establishments we would like to thank Congressman Tom Suozzi for his continuous support for small businesses,” said Joe Valensisi, owner, Henry’s Confectionery.

“Thank you, Congressman Tom Suozzi, for bringing together Long Island’s restaurants to make the urgent call for additional restaurant relief. These restaurants represent the businesses that are the very pillars and souls of our community. But without additional relief, they will continue to struggle — undermining our local economy and further business development,” said Patricia Holman, Executive Director Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District

“No industry was harder hit than the Catering & restaurant industry when it came to the COVID 19 pandemic. Things are NOT back on Track at all!!!!! Our industry lost 45% more than the next closest industry when it came to dollars lost due to COVID 19. This was especially true for NY restaurants who are still struggling to get back to where we were. Reservations are down over 50% from where we were pre-pandemic. Many need funds to get back on track and continue to claw their way out of the dire straits they find themselves in. Roughly 18,000 restaurants in NY who applied for RRF funding did not get it. Thank you to Congressman Suozzi for organizing today’s effort to raise awareness about this issue still hurting our restaurants.” said Mickey King, President of New York State Restaurant Association.

Long Island’s restaurants, bars and catering halls need Congress to replenish funds for the restaurant revisitation fund (RRF). The fund’s initial $28.6 billion was exhausted in a couple of weeks in May 2021 with the number of grant applications far exceeding expectations. As a result, two-thirds of the applicants nationwide didn’t receive help.

On Long Island, about 1,100 eating and drinking establishments were awarded RRF grants, or just 12% of the nearly 9,200 such businesses licensed by the county health departments. Approximately $270 million was distributed. Nationally, nearly 300,000 restaurants and bars applied for RRF grants in 2021, but only about one in three applicants received relief.


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