New York restaurants seek more state funding

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – The pandemic has been overwhelming for so many businesses, perhaps for none more than local restaurants, which have historically depended on customers dining there.

When health departments shut down indoor public spaces across the country, huge amounts of business immediately dried up for our local restaurants.

Last year, New York state lawmakers set up a $25 million fund to help restaurants replace some of that lost business by paying them to provide meals to citizens in need. . It was called the Restaurant Resilience Program.

State officials say 175 New York restaurants have been approved for the program, but less than half of that number, just 64 restaurants, have actually received some of the money. For those lucky enough to obtain funds, it has been transformative.

“The RRP has really helped Uptown Veg in a big way,” said Jasmine Myrick, entrepreneur at Uptown Veg. “We were able to feed many NYCHA residents.”

A group of New York restaurants, food aid organization Food Stream Network, along with state and local leaders are calling for the Restaurant Resilience Program to be repaid with an additional $25 million in New York City’s new budget. the state.

Proponents say the state money will help some of the restaurants that missed out the first time around, and others that still need help to stay open.

“We have a serious problem with food insecurity and lack of food in our communities, people struggling to feed themselves long before the pandemic hit,” said New York Senator Cordell Cleare. “So this program is really a win-win situation that helps our restaurants stay alive so they can rehire as we go through this pandemic, and it also nurtures people in our community, by getting making sure they get good nutrition, good nutrition.

The Restaurant Resilience Program must pass the New York State Senate and gain approval from Governor Kathy Hochul if those millions of dollars are going to reach communities in need.

“If you have a minute, go to the governor’s office. Do the right thing, Governor Hochul. Do the right thing,” said Lou Martins of the East Harlem Restaurant Association.

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