The news that Congress voted to pass a revised version of the HEROES Act, which included the RESTAURANTS Act, was dealt a major blow today.
Just three days ago, President Donald Trump sent out a tweet urging Congress to “WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE” regarding stimulus relief negotiations.
It now appears that those negotiations are what’s done. The president aimed a volley of tweets at stimulus relief today in which he claimed to have instructed his administration to end discussions until after November 3.
The RESTAURANTS Act is one bill during these divisive times that has received bipartisan support. For six months, the Independent Restaurant Coalition, the National Restaurant Association, hospitality professionals, prominent hospitality figures, and supportive guests have campaigned for Congress to save the industry.
Those efforts appeared to have paid off at the end of last week. On October 1, Congress passed the retooled HEROES Act and gave hope to tens of thousands of restaurant and bar owners and operators, along with millions of hospitality workers.
Today’s tweets make it clear that if the current administration follows the president’s instructions, the RESTAURANTS Act is now, after months of advocacy by countless industry voices, once again in limbo. Along with the RESTAURANTS Act, the fate of a PPP extension, a second round of stimulus checks, and the $600 federal unemployment benefit are also unknown.
If the situation is more dire and the bill is simply dead, the industry was dealt a lethal blow by the current administration today. It would take another act of Congress—enacted quickly—to save restaurants and bars now.
As Sean Kennedy, executive Vice President of public affairs at the National Restaurant Association, said in an email sent out yesterday, Congress must “enact essential funding for restaurants, including a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), until a comprehensive funding package is passed.”
It’s unlikely that any such funding is on the way—Congress has adjourned for October recess. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned the Senate for two weeks due to at least three GOP senators testing positive for Covid-19.
Prior to today’s tweets, Senator McConnell said he would call back the full Senate should a stimulus relief package deal be struck. It seems that’s off the table now.
I’ve been studying and writing about the hospitality industry since 2006. Like so many people, I started my journey in this business by working as a host, server and bartender. I was introduced to nightlife in Chicago, learning the ins and outs of nightclubs and after-hours hot spots.
After moving to Las Vegas nearly 20 years ago, I both co-owned a valet company and helped promote the club it serviced. That led to me taking on the role of editor for a Las Vegas hospitality industry publication.
A few short years later, I continued along my journey of hospitality industry reporting. I went from contributing to a major industry outlet to taking on the role of editor and content curator.