Restaurants brace for harsh winter after Congress rejects cash subsidies

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Many restaurateurs fear a gloomy winter after their priority – cash grants to keep their businesses alive as many dining halls are closed – was not included in the roughly $ 900 billion relief bill against coronaviruses approved by Congress this week.

The industry has received significant support, including another round of Paycheque Protection Program Loans, an expanded employee retention tax credit and the full deduction for business meals that President Trump had championed. But these racks work best for businesses with customers, not those whose sales are delayed due to crater demand or local coronavirus restrictions.

The Independent Restaurant Coalition, a group formed during the pandemic that includes award-winning chefs, lobbied for a $ 120 billion subsidy program co-sponsored by more than half of the House and Senate.

But Republicans have insisted on limiting the overall cost of the relief bill to around $ 900 billion. This meant suspending the restaurant subsidy program even as live entertainment venues won $ 15 billion in grants and Mr. Trump’s preferred tax deduction of $ 6.3 billion for business meals was enshrined in the bill for two years as part of a last-minute deal.

“There are hundreds of thousands of restaurants for which this is not a win,” said Amanda Cohen, New York City chef and leader of the Independent Restaurant Coalition which owns restaurants including Dirt Candy and Lekka Burger in downtown Manhattan. “Nobody takes business lunches. “

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