STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – Local restaurants are out of luck when it comes to help from the federal government.
Money for them is not included in the recent spending bill that the House passed Wednesday night.
Brian Palumbo is one of the owners of Selah in Struthers. He said if the government were to provide more financial aid through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, they wouldn’t deny it, but they are managing the best they can.
“We’re doing what we do, and we’re making it work. Like I said, we’re feeling the business and figuring out how do you make it work today? And it’s different how we made it work a year ago, and it would be different tomorrow,” he said.
This isn’t the case for some restaurants, though. According to the Independent Restaurant Coalition, about 80% of Independent Restaurants in the United States are in danger of closing permanently without the replenishment of the fund.
“That is about 140,000 restaurants across the country,” said Erika Polmar, executive director of IRC. “If they close, it’s not only the restaurant owners that are hurt, it’s the hundreds of thousands of employees that depend on those businesses for employment.”
The coalition gathered this information through a survey, and that’s not all it found.
“About 40 percent have an eviction notice or are expecting an eviction notice,” Polmar said.
She said they do have some hope with a new COVID-19 relief spending bill that is expected to follow the omnibus spending bill.
As for Selah, the owner has one strong message.
“If you don’t want to lose your local mom and pop place, then support your local place,” Palumbo said.
The independent Restaurant Coalition says to not only support your local restaurants, but be kind. Polmar said everyone is facing hard times. She suggests adding more money in tip jars or dining out often and says to call state representatives if you think a local restaurant is still struggling from the pandemic.