Restaurant News

Independent Restaurants Are Still Getting Hammered by COVID. Here's How to Help Them.

Watch a commercial. Read some legislation. Bug some representatives. Save some restaurants like The Breadfruit & Rum Bar.
Watch a commercial. Read some legislation. Bug some representatives. Save some restaurants like The Breadfruit & Rum Bar. Lauren Cusimano
Hey, guys: Lauren here, food editor at Phoenix New Times. As many of you may have seen this week, a new ad from the Independent Restaurant Coalition has dropped. It’s voiced by Morgan Freeman, and it's scarier than the Spirit Halloween stores that are already cropping up around town.

This grim ad shows empty neighborhood restaurants, referring to them as the “lifeblood of our communities.” Freeman then notes that COVID-19 "threatens to permanently close 85 percent of independent restaurants" and “16 million people risk losing their jobs, disproportionately impacting people of color and single mothers.”

Heavy stuff.

The group's call to action, though, is simple: “Tell Congress to pass the RESTAURANTS Act now.”

You can make your voice heard by visiting the Independent Restaurant Coalition website.

There, you can read all about the “bipartisan, bicameral” RESTAURANTS Act of 2020, a piece of legislation designed to set up the $120 billion Independent Restaurant Revitalization Fund. It aims to do three things: 1.) Generate up to $271 billion in primary and secondary economic benefits. 2.) Reduce the unemployment rate in the U.S. by an estimated 2.4 percent, and 3.) Make sure a majority of independent restaurants don’t actually close forever.

You can also keep yourself informed by signing up for email updates, found under “Join the Coalition” on the site. There are other opportunities to donate or take further action by quickly (and automatically) shooting your representatives a note asking them to support the RESTAURANTS Act. (Martha McSally, Kyrsten Sinema, and Greg Stanton must be so sick of hearing from me by now — even though the bill was introduced by Senator Sinema as well as Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, and a few others.)

The Independent Restaurant Coalition was formed earlier this year to assist local restaurants and bars affected by COVID-19. Claims the IRC: “Together, we represent 500,000 small businesses across this country, employing 11 million Americans and playing a key role in the $760 billion restaurant economy.”

And if you’d like to support greater Phoenix restaurants directly, you can find area eateries offering takeout, delivery, or dine-in services via our new Phoenix Restaurant Directory.

Editor’s note: This article was updated from its original version.
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Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.