Congress unlikely to refill restaurant relief funds until before Easter recess

Congress probably won’t pass another round of Covid-19 relief for restaurants this week, Roll Call reported on Tuesday. While the U.S. House is expected to vote on a $55 billion small business aid package—including $42 billion for restaurants specifically—the Senate doesn’t plan to address the issue until after the coming two-week Easter recess. This news surely disappoints restaurant industry advocates, who have been calling on legislators to refill the Restaurant Revitalization Fund—a $28 billion fund that was rapidly depleted due to high demand for relief in 2021. Groups like the Independent Restaurant Coalition maintain that replenishing the program is crucial to the survival of countless businesses bearing the economic brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Let’s save the businesses,” said the group’s executive director, Erika Polmar, in a previous interview with The Counter. “And then make them work in ways that are more equitable, sustainable, and resilient.” We’ll check back in two weeks to see if Congress agrees. —Jessica Fu