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With Delta Variant Creating New Woes for Eateries, Connecticut Restaurant Association Joins Call for More Aid

  • Nationwide effort by restaurant groups calls for renewed funding for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund
  • Restaurant advocates say the industry continues to face major financial challenges as the Delta variant reduces consumer demand and eateries cope with higher food and labor costs
  • While 1,303 Connecticut restaurants received funds through the program, 2,066 applicants did not

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The Connecticut Restaurant Association has joined a call for Congress to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, saying the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant is threatening the survival of tens of thousands of eateries that were unable to get a grant award through the program.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund offered grants of up to $5 million per location for qualifying food and beverage businesses, capped at $10 million per applicant. Demand on the program far exceeded available funding, and the U.S. Small Business Administration was only able to assist about 101,000 of more than 278,000 applicants.

The Connecticut Restaurant Association, along with 49 other restaurant associations and the National Restaurant Association, wrote to Congress urging them to add enough funding to the program to assist the approximately 177,000 applications that are still considered to be pending. The letter cited a survey issued by the national organization that found consumers to be less likely to dine indoors or visit a restaurant due to the Delta variant.

  • A total of 1,303 Connecticut restaurants received aid through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, with grants totaling $301.16 million
  • The Connecticut Restaurant Association says 2,066 applicants in the state, collectively asking for $489 million, remain uncertain whether they will be funded
  • The letter says the “small gains that our industry has made toward financial security” are at risk of being reversed, especially as restaurants face higher food and labor costs
  • The appeal counters the idea that restaurants have been booming under increased consumer demand following widespread vaccination efforts, as this perception may be inhibiting congressional efforts to add more funds to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

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