Mayor of San Rafael helps lead appeal for emergency aid to local businesses

Warning of potentially “catastrophic” consequences for local businesses which constitute an essential part of the fabric of communities nationwide, Colin joined 25 current mayors and former co-signers of a letter urging Congress to restore funding for pandemic relief through the American rescue plan to restaurants and bars barely hanging in the middle of omicron.

The country’s urban leaders warn of the inability to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) would be “catastrophic” for local businesses, potentially setting off a chain reaction that could bring the US economy to its knees.

About two-thirds of the roughly 277,000 restaurants nationwide that have applied for the RRF have been turned down, and 86 percent of those businesses are at risk of shutting down permanently, the letter said.

“Failure to fill the RRF soon will result in widespread shutdowns and deal a further blow to our already fragile supply chains,” the letter said to House and Senate leaders on both sides.

“Prices have already skyrocketed for staples like beef (41%), grains (38%) and shortening and cooking oil (44%) – losing the restaurants these suppliers depend on would cause further more damage to this precarious system. “

Colin was one of three Bay Area mayors who signed the letter. The mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, and the mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, were the others.

The letter was also signed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and former Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin.

“Local independent restaurants and bars are vital to our economies,” the letter reads.

“Restaurants and bars breathe life into our neighborhoods, offer unprecedented career development opportunities and facilitate commerce among local suppliers. Now these small businesses, many of which have served our communities for decades, are on the verge of going out of business forever.

City leaders argue in the letter that businesses that do not receive funding are at a competitive disadvantage.

“These companies cannot compete with their peers who can pay off debts, make repairs and hire workers at competitive rates – it is not fair for the government to pick winners and losers.”

The letter said support for the additional funding of the RRF enjoys majority support in both houses of Congress.

“Restaurants and bars are months beyond trouble, they are dying in plain sight. They are 22 months in debt due to missed payments from rents, suppliers and utilities and are postponing repairs that were due. be done months ago, ”the letter said.

“Cold weather has put an end to al fresco dining and now the omicron variant is rekindling the fears of customers who are afraid to eat indoors. These small businesses on the brink of financial ruin must compete with their counterparts who can repay their bills. debts, pay competitive rates and take any additional measures necessary to ensure the safety of their guests and staff.

“Congress can’t just solve a third of the problem created by the pandemic – officials need to make sure these small businesses have the relief they need to navigate an uncertain future and pay off their debt.”