Restaurant association asks Congress for $240B to help industry amid coronavirus pandemic

The National Restaurant Association paints a dire picture of the industry and is asking Congress for help.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- As the coronavirus continues to decimate several industries across the nation, restaurants have been struggling to survive.

Sidney Price says her Long Beach restaurant is holding steady during the coronavirus crisis, serving only takeout and delivery.

"We are just fighting one day at a time to make it to the next day," said Price, the co-owner of Noble Bird Rotisserie. Ninety percent of the staff has been furloughed.

According to the National Restaurant Association, two out of every three restaurant workers are laid off or furloughed. The group is asking Congress for help.

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The association paints a dire picture of the industry in a letter to Congress. The group says 40% of restaurants in the U.S. have closed their doors, some with no hope of reopening.

With no dining-in since the COVID-19 pandemic, the association says the restaurant and food service industry lost $30 billion in revenue last month and is expected to lose $50 billion this month.

The group is calling on Congress for $240 billion, specifically to help the industry.

This comes after the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, to help small businesses ran out of money last week.

"We did apply for it and we are hopeful and continuing to check in with our bank every day but at this point we have had no relief," Price said.

Some also criticize the fact some larger businesses like Shake Shack were able to access loans under PPP.

Shake Shack says it would return the $10 million government loan.

At Marché Moderne in Newport Beach, where they revised their fine dining menu to offer curbside takeout for the first time ever, the owner says they decided not to apply for government help.

"We looked at it and it's hard for us to understand how much forgiveness is involved in it, so we have not signed up for it," said chef Florent Marneau.

Owners at the Noble Bird say financial help will most likely be needed after restaurants are allowed to reopen. They expect dining room capacity will be cut in half to continue physical distancing.
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