Raleigh, NC – Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) led North Carolina Representatives David Price (NC-04), Alma Adams (NC-12), G.K Butterfield (NC-01), and Kathy Manning (NC-06) in sending a letter urging House leadership to make independent restaurants a top priority in COVID-19 stimulus negotiations.

The restaurant industry in North Carolina is vital to the state’s economic success. North Carolina is home to nearly 20,000 eating and drinking locations, approximately 76% of which are independently owned - many of these by women and people of color.  Food service businesses in North Carolina generate $21.4 billion, account for 8.7% of all employment in the state, and made up 16% of the state’s sales tax revenue in 2019.

The letter, says, in part, “Today, over 75% of North Carolina’s restaurants and other food services businesses are in danger of closing permanently...These losses reverberate throughout the economy and affect all parts of the supply chain, including North Carolina’s 40,450 small farms.

“As discussions regarding COVID relief continue, we urge you to make independent restaurants a top priority.  We also urge you to consider longer-term solutions for the restaurant industry, such as those offered by the RESTAURANTS Act. While the $25 billion grant program will provide a temporary lifeline, we believe additional assistance will be required to enable independent restaurants to keep their doors open until conditions improve.”

Congresswoman Ross hosted a roundtable with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) in December with local North Carolina restaurant owners to hear directly from them on the challenges they are facing. Congresswoman Ross is also a cosponsor of the bipartisan, bicameral RESTAURANTS Act, a $120-billion relief bill designed to provide long-term relief to restaurants. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Blumenauer.

Full text of the letter can be found here.