Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) is applauding the American Rescue Plan’s inclusion of a $28.6 billion fund specifically designed to support restaurants struggling due to the pandemic through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). In February, Ross led North Carolina Democrats in sending a letter urging House leadership to make independent restaurants a top priority in COVID-19 stimulus negotiations.

“I was proud to help pass the American Rescue Plan Act for many reasons, and I am particularly pleased that this groundbreaking relief legislation includes funding specifically for restaurants,” said Congresswoman Ross. “The food industry has registered significant losses over the course of this pandemic, and small dining and drinking establishments have been hit the hardest. The establishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund is a needed first step to ensuring these restaurants survive this crisis and can continue to serve their communities.”

According to the National Restaurant Association, the RRF will create a new federal program for restaurant owners with 20 or fewer locations. Operators can apply for tax-free grants of up to $5 million per location, or up to $10 million for multi-location operations. The grant amount is determined by subtracting 2020 sales from 2019 revenues.

Congresswoman Ross is a vocal supporter of the restaurant industry, specifically, she is a cosponsor of the bipartisan, bicameral RESTAURANTS Act. 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.

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.