ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer visited the Thirsty Turtle Bar & Grill in Victor on Monday to announce that New York restaurants are now eligible for their own, DIRECT federal pandemic relief funds, as part of the American Rescue Plan.
Schumer was joined by local restaurant, winery and brewery owners.
“I promised the people of the Rochester and Finger Lakes region that, god willing, I became majority leader I would still stay as strongly involved in the local economy as I have every been,” Sen. Schumer said. “You don’t do your job in Washington unless you’re talking to people and touching base and having your feet on the ground in your state.”
The senator said more help is on the way for the Finger Lakes economy but that local restaurants, wineries, and breweries, need to apply.
“I’m here to tell the Rochester, Finger Lakes area, I’m here to tell Ontario County and all our surrounding counties that help really is on the way,” Sen. Schumer said. “Help is on the way with checks, help is on the way with vaccines.
“What I’m here today to highlight is the help on the way for our restaurants and bars and all of the food-serving small businesses throughout the county. I believe in small business, I really believe strongly in small business. They are vital to our communities. We were here in Rochester last week talking about independent venues.”
Last week, Schumer visited the Bug Jar in Rochester to give a similar message and say “help is on the way” for small businesses and entertainment venues.
Schumer outlined details of changes to the Save Our Stages fund, which is designed to improve access to funds for independent live venues, performing arts organizations, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions struggling to stay afloat.
“I went really hard to work and say ‘what’s on the menu?'” Sen. Schumer said. “$28 billion in federal relief and it comes as a grant and it can be up to 45% of their last year’s revenue so it’s a lot. Maximum of $5 million a restaurant and we kept the big chains out of it.
“Now there’s money and it’s very flexible it can pay payroll, and mortgage, and rent, and outdoor seating, and PPE, and paid leave and food, and debt and it applies not only to restaurants, but caterers, brew pubs, tap rooms, tasting rooms, wineries,” Sen. Schumer said.
“So it’s 5 million in individual restaurants, you can get up to $10 million if you own 20 restaurants or less, but if you own more than that you can’t get anything you’re too big. The grants go all the way from February to December 31.”
According to the senator, over the past yea, the Finer Lakes Region lost 60 restaurants.
“54% of New York State restaurants say that they wouldn’t last another six months. You know how many people lost their jobs in the Rochester Finger Lakes area who work in restaurants and hospitality? 12,000. That is a lot of jobs. So now we’re coming with this relief.”
Schumer said the grant will be available through the Small Business Administration and applications will bee available in the next couple of weeks.