House set to vote on pandemic relief bill that would bring billions to restaurants

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer visited the village of Babylon Monday to bring good news to restaurant owners, with a $26 billion provision in the stimulus plan focused on their businesses.

News 12 Staff

Mar 8, 2021, 10:59 PM

Updated 1,138 days ago

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The House is preparing to vote on President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill after Democrats in the Senate approved the bill over the weekend.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer visited the village of Babylon Monday to bring good news to restaurant owners, with a $26 billion provision in the stimulus plan focused on their businesses.
Similar to the Paycheck Protection Program, restaurant owners can apply to the SBA to get a grant — not a loan — to offset losses suffered because of the pandemic.
About 20% of the grants will be set aside for restaurants with receipts that totaled less than $500,000 in 2019.
"Our restaurants on Long Island are in real trouble. Many have closed, many face closure," says Schumer. "Those that are still here are barely hanging on."
"It really has been a juggling act," says Lucy Domingo, of Cafe Il Villaggio. "So we sat down and said we're just going to regroup."
Caterers, brewpubs and others in the food industry are also eligible for the grants.
In addition to help for restaurants, Schumer said Long Island will be getting about $700 million under the stimulus plan just passed by the Senate. Nassau County should get nearly $400 million, and Suffolk should get just under $300 million to offset pandemic-related expenses.
Towns and villages will also get aid to offset losses suffered in pandemic.
"There's a formula and it goes straight to the localities," says Schumer. "The state can't get its sticky fingers on that money."
Counties, towns and villages all faced unexpected expenses because of the pandemic and warned that without reimbursement from Washington, there'd be tax hikes, layoffs or service cuts.
"If we didn't get this, we would've been contemplating for the 2022 budget some serious cuts," says Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer. "I didn't want to do that, the town board didn't want to do that. We want to maintain all the programs we have in the Town of Babylon."


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