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Van Hollen Urges Senate to Immediately Replenish Funds to Support Maryland Restaurants

August 6th, 2021 by WCBC Radio

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) sent a letter to Senate leadership, urging action to revitalize the Restaurant Revitalization Fund in order to support local restaurants still struggling due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Senator is a cosponsor of Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021, legislation to provide the RRF with an additional $60 billion in funding to meet the outstanding demand for the program. In his letter, the Senate urges leadership to immediately bring this legislation up for a vote.


The Senator begins the letter, “I write to you regarding the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), which was established by the American Rescue Plan to provide critical relief to restaurants, bars, and other small businesses in the food and beverage services sector. In light of the extraordinary demand for the program, I urge you to replenish the RRF to meet the current need among eligible applicants.”


Numerous restaurant owners in Maryland have told us that they need federal relief to recover from the past 17 months and navigate the uncertainty that lies ahead. Many of these businesses may close their doors permanently if they don’t receive help,” he continues.


The Senator goes on to note, “The $28.6 billion RRF has already started working to keep tens of thousands of these establishments across the nation open, and has provided a lifeline to over 2,000 businesses in Maryland. However, demand has far outstripped the available funding. On July 2, 2021, Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabel Guzman announced the closure of the RRF program. SBA reported that they had received more than 278,000 eligible applications requesting a total of $72.2 billion in funding. As of June 30, 2021, approximately 101,000 of those applications had been approved, leaving over 177,000 thousand businesses out in the cold, including over 3,300 businesses from Maryland.”


“I urge you to bring up for a vote S. 2091, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021, which would provide the RRF with an additional $60 billion in funding to meet the outstanding demand for the program. Maryland’s restaurants play a major role in the state’s economy, employing over 259,000 people prior to the pandemic and spurring over $13 billion in sales in the state. Failing to provide restaurants and bars with the relief they need could bring another wave of restaurant closures, jeopardize jobs, damage already tenuous supply chains, and harm local communities,”