Local hospitality groups are calling for restaurant owners to write to local and national legislators to help restaurants and bars get the relief they need to survive the current pandemic.
The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association sent out a letter to its membership saying: "We, as an industry, need to re-double our direct advocacy efforts. While MLBA has been in direct contact with the Governor and his staff who are making these re-opening decisions, they need to hear directly from individual bars and restaurants across the state on why patio-only will not work for the hospitality industry, and how we are ready to safely open. MLBA pre-drafted a customizable letter restaurant/bar owners can use to email Governor Walz and several of his administration leaders directly. Click here for that letter. They are asking recipients to personalize the letter with their name, business information and additional sentiments.
The Independent Restaurant Coalition asked other organizations to join them in supporting their stabilization fund request which is being sent to the leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate.
"We are currently seeking support from Congress in the form of a restaurant stabilization fund that would provide the funding needed to open restaurant doors and repair the supply chain," Birchwood Café Owner Tracy Singleton wrote in an email she sent out this morning. "The IRC has specifically requested that eligible expenses include debt obligation to suppliers. Without federal assistance, we will not only permanently lose 11 million jobs, but we will lose the restaurants that have become the cornerstones of our communities, and with it, the vibrant agricultural community that brings food and drink to tables nationwide."
One bright spot in all of this is that the restaurant community has been collaborative in helping each other. Singleton is also one of a large number of local high-profile restaurant owners making up a newly formed group, the Twin Cities Restauarnt Coalition started by Chefs Gavin Kaysen of Soigne Hospitality Group and Andrew Zimmeran, a local restaurateur and TV food show host. The group is currently looking for an executive director.
In addition, Hospitality Minnesota’s President Liz Rammer reported that calls to Congress to fix the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) are making a difference. Today (May 27) the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote to approve bipartisan legislation that will make necessary changes in the PPP to extend the time period restaurants can use to spend federal loans, as well as giving more flexibility in how the money can be used.