Customers have the opportunity to support the replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

A new year is upon us.

We can collectively “hit the reset button” and look forward to the next 11 and a half months with hope and optimism. Resolutions have been set. The vision boards are filled with goals and dreams for 2022.

Still, Ohio restaurants are facing a kind of Groundhog Day.

Much like 2020 and 2021, a combination of intense challenges are upon us.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise because of the omicron variant.

Some customers are reluctant to go to a restaurant and cancel their reservations.

Food and labor costs are skyrocketing.

Labor shortages are exacerbated by those who test positive for COVID.

And operators and their approximately 585,000 Ohio foodservice workers are browsing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s evolving guidelines to keep their guests safe when employees return to work.

According to the most recent data from the National Restaurant Association, 86% of independent restaurants and bars that have not received COVID-19 financial assistance are in danger of closure.

This is particularly alarming as restaurants and bars face an increase in COVID-19 cases which accelerated in December and continues into January. The holiday season is generally profitable for the restaurant industry, but at the end of last year, many restaurants in central Ohio temporarily closed and limited hours in the face of increasing cases. and staff exhibits.

Over the past 22 months, the community has rallied around our local restaurants. Consumers dined on-site, ordered take-out, used pickup counters, purchased gift cards for loved ones and well-tipped in a beautiful show of support for Ohio restaurants. The generosity of the people of Ohio has supported the industry and allowed countless restaurants to survive.

We are now asking you, as a consumer, to support the Ohio restaurant industry in one more way. Add your name to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund replenishment petition and call on Congress to help save Ohio restaurants, your favorite restaurants.

Passing the RRF in March 2021 gave much-needed hope to our restaurants, which are Ohio’s second-largest industry. Statewide, 8,928 eligible restaurants quickly applied to the RRF program. Sadly, only 2,844 received assistance, as the program quickly ran out of funds, leaving more than 6,000 eligible restaurants in Ohio with no financial lifeline.

Encourage Congress to support the restaurant industry the same way you have done over the past few months, providing financial support to a vital part of our communities. This will help operators manage their debt and the bills that accumulated when they were forced to close and limit their operations.

Visit restaurantsact.com/rrf and add your name to the choir of restaurateurs who are fighting to keep their doors open. Replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will help operators continue to provide our communities with delicious meals and continue to employ the second highest number of Ohioans among all private sector employers in the state.

As we begin to move through the New Year, we are optimistic that the 20,000 restaurants in this great state will remain open and ready to provide memorable dining experiences for Ohioans.

The owners of Central Ohio share countless stories with our Ohio Restaurant Association team about their gratitude for the support of the community. In 2022, we have immense hope that our collective voices will be heard as we continue the fight to save our favorite restaurants and advance Ohio’s vibrant hotel community.

John Barker is President and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association.

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