Washington, D.C.—Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) voted to pass H.R. 3807, the Relief for Restaurants & Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act, which will provide urgently needed relief to tens of thousands of restaurants, food and beverage businesses, and other small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, created under the American Rescue Plan, delivered $28.6 billion in relief to the restaurant industry, but as the funding was depleted, many restaurants were left without enough support. This legislation will replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and award grants to restaurants still struggling to recover from the pandemic.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, restaurants in Wake County and across the country have been on the frontlines of our battle against COVID-19,” said Congresswoman Ross. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund offered a vital lifeline when restaurants desperately needed our help, but it simply wasn’t enough. Restaurants contribute to the spirit, vibrancy, and success of our community and so many others nationwide. The pandemic is not over, and it is unacceptable that we would leave North Carolina restaurant owners and workers out to dry. I urge my Senate colleagues to swiftly pass this legislation so we can finally deliver urgently needed relief to the restaurant industry in our state.”

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund helped more than 100,000 establishments during the height of the pandemic. However, the funds were depleted within a month after becoming available, and over 178,000 eligible restaurants that applied for grants did not receive assistance. In North Carolina, over 6,500 restaurants applied for the $1.5 billion in relief, with only 2,500 businesses receiving funding. Many restaurants were approved for grants by the Small Business Administration (SBA) but never received this relief.

This legislation provides $42 billion to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which will allow the SBA to process remaining requests for funding. It also provides $13 billion to establish the Hard Hit Industries Award Program, an SBA initiative to assist small businesses that lost revenue during the pandemic but were ineligible for grants through other relief programs.

Congresswoman Ross has been a vocal champion in the fight to deliver relief to North Carolina restaurants. In December, she led her North Carolina colleagues in calling for additional restaurant relief and was an original advocate of relief funding in the American Rescue Plan.

Congresswoman Ross spoke on the House floor in support of the Relief for Restaurants & Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act. To watch or download the speech, click here. A transcript can be found below.


Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you so much to Congressman Morelle.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight the urgent need for additional relief for our restaurants.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, restaurants in my district and across the country have been at the frontline of our battle against COVID-19.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund offered a vital lifeline at a time when restaurants desperately needed our help. 

However, the funds quickly ran out, leaving hundreds of thousands of restaurants without any relief, including in my state of North Carolina.

In a cruel twist, many restaurants were approved for funding, but never saw a dime.

For example, Kim Hammer, who owns Bittersweet in Raleigh, was approved for a grant by the Small Business Administration. Despite this, Kim still hasn’t received any relief and said, “It feels like no one is listening.” Well, we’re listening.

Every time a new variant emerges and cases surge, the survival of countless restaurants is thrown into jeopardy.

As I hear from restaurant owners in my district, they all tell me how essential the restaurant relief program was, but that it simply wasn’t enough.

During the peak surge of the Omicron variant, Cheetie Kumar, the owner of Garland restaurant in Raleigh, said she just hoped she could keep the doors open – for both her customers and for her staff.

Jennifer Cramer, the owner of Catalan Tapas Restaurant in Cary, had to start a “GoFundMe” campaign to keep her lights on and her employees on payroll.

Mr. Speaker, our fight against this pandemic is not over. It is unacceptable that we would leave the restaurant industry out to dry.

Restaurants contribute to the spirit, vibrancy, and success of my community in Wake County, North Carolina and many communities all across the nation.

I urge my colleagues to support the rule and the underlying legislation and replenish this fund.

Thank you, M. Speaker, and I yield back.