Indie restaurants still need big help: Thanks to Oregon, we’re one step closer to it happening

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                                                                                                                                               Andrew Harnik/AP

Hallelujah for Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer. Today he unveiled a plan to establish the Independent Restaurant Stabilization Fund that the Independent Restaurant Coalition  has been fighting for, to help restaurants across the country—including in Hawai‘i, home to more than 3,500 food service locations that employ more than 90,000 people. Hopefully Hawai‘i’s representatives in Washington and the Hawai‘i Restaurant Association, whose mission includes legislation advocacy, will support it, because god knows our restaurants, from little mom-and-pop Dowon Chinese Restaurant (prized for its jjajangmyun) to the internationally known Pig & the Lady, need it.

Rep. Blumenauer’s white paper outlines plans to introduce The RESTAURANTS Act of 2020, which would create a new $120 billion grant program to provide structured relief to independent restaurants through 2020. When restaurants reopen, they can’t operate as they were in February, so for independent restaurants, the Paycheck Protection Program is like building a bridge that doesn’t reach across the water. A stabilization fund WILL REACH THE OTHER SIDE and get restaurants—chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, servers, dishwashers, farmers, so many different people—through this crisis. It’s the only way to ensure restaurants can quickly afford to reopen and re-employ 11 MILLION AMERICANS.

If you filled in the form on the Independent Restaurant Coalition’s website urging our lawmakers in DC to support an independent restaurant stabilization fund, bravo! (If you haven’t you still can—it will help!) This proposal is a direct result of you joining their collective hard work and dedication, resulting in this massive step forward in the fight to save independent restaurants. Together, we’ve sent thousands of emails to Congress, revealed the plight of the restaurant industry to Americans across the country, and positioned the IRC as a key voice in this fight.

What IRC—and you—are doing is working. Our voices are being heard by critical changemakers, and IRC will do everything it can to see this legislation through.

Let Reps. Ed Case and Tusli Gabbard, Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono, and our governor and mayors know about this initiative, if you think it’s important. I do!

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