Sens. Warner, Kaine cosponsor bipartisan bill to support Virginia’s restaurants through new revitalization fund

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Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., at Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (WFXR) — U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) cosponsored legislation that would establish a $120 billion revitalization fund to help independent restaurants deal with the long-term challenges because of COVID-19 and support the reemployment of 11 million workers.

“Virginia’s independent restaurants have been especially hurt by the coronavirus emergency and require much-needed relief,” the senators said. “This bill can help save restaurants across the Commonwealth by offering the critical assistance needed to cover costs of operations and supporting staff. We’re glad this effort has bipartisan support to help millions of restaurants from closing their doors for good.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the restaurant industry has lost over 6.1 million jobs – the most of any industry and double the figure from the next most affected industry. Without further action from Congress, over 11 million independent restaurant workers are at risk of permanently losing their jobs, according to Sen. Kaine’s office.

Restaurants are facing months of massive revenue losses because of social distancing, rising costs of supplies, new expenses for personal protective equipment, and a decrease in the public’s willingness to dine out.

The National Restaurant Association estimates 305,000 employees were working at Virginia restaurants in February. Since March, at least 78 percent of those employees have been laid of or furloughed, leaving 237,000 restaurant workers without a job.

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