Virus Outbreak Colorado

A sign hangs on the window of a restaurant advertising the establishment is still open for pickups and deliveries during a statewide stay-at-home order in an effort to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus, Friday, March 27, 2020. 

Three members of Colorado’s congressional delegation are cosponsoring legislation to provide $120 billion to restaurants, making up for their losses in revenue between 2019 and 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Reps. Joe Neguse, Jason Crow and Ed Perlmutter signed on to the Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive (RESTAURANTS) Act to assist one of the hardest-hit sectors. Business Insider reports that nearly half of restaurant and bar employees lost their jobs since February, following stay-at-home orders and lingering concerns about patrons' safety.

“Restaurants in Colorado and across the United States have been devastated through massive drops in revenue over the past few months. The pandemic and subsequent economic shutdown have particularly hurt smaller restaurants,” said Crow. “These establishments are facing increasingly difficult challenges as they work to safely reopen for customers and staff.”

The bill would act as a targeted version of the Paycheck Protection Program, the $660 billion initiative to pay businesses to maintain their payrolls. However, the Small Business Administration released data this week about the recipients of the loans, and CNBC reports that financial aid went to several individuals and businesses that were already wealthy.

The RESTAURANTS Act also applies to food stands, food trucks, food carts, caterers, saloons, inns, taverns, bars and lounges that are not part of a franchise with 20 more locations. Recipients may use the money for payroll, rent, food and supplies, or structural changes to allow for outdoor seating.

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