Sinema’s Restaurant Rescue Plan Now Law

Mar 16, 2021

Following Sinema’s bipartisan negotiations, independent Arizona restaurants now eligible for $28.6 billion in direct coronavirus relief to keep Arizonans employed

WASHINGTON – Last week, the coronavirus relief legislation—shaped by Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema—was signed into law, establishing Sinema’s Restaurant Rescue Plan originally proposed in her bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act. Sinema’s Restaurant Rescue Plan establishes $28.6 billion in direct coronavirus coronavirus relief for independent Arizona restaurants to keep Arizonans employed.
“Arizona restaurants fuel jobs across our state, and these employers need support now more than ever. Our Restaurant Rescue Plan will get Arizonans back to work and ensure local Arizona restaurants can keep their doors open as we continue to address the ongoing pandemic and lay the groundwork for a full economic recovery,” said Sinema.
“The Arizona Restaurant Association is extremely grateful for the passage of the American Rescue Plan. The inclusion of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund by Senator Sinema is a game changer for an industry that is a critical jobs and economic driver for Arizona. At its worst, the industry was forced to furlough or lay off nearly 80% of our workforce and we have seen revenue losses in excess of $2.7 billion. Congress doesn’t agree on much these days, but Senator Sinema’s bipartisan plan will truly restore restaurants in Arizona and across the country. The Arizona Restaurant Association is grateful for her leadership for Arizona’s restaurant industry and her bipartisanship in the U.S. Senate. We look forward to President Biden signing this legislation,” said Steve Chucri, President and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association.
“As a small distilling operation we rely on the “on-premise” world for our revenue. 48% of our revenue relies on this world of bars, restaurants, hotels and resorts. These revenues were down 49% in 2020 vs. 2019. Our tasting room accounting for 40% of our revenue was down 29% in 2020. These numbers alone should draw the picture of how helpful and needful this assistance could be from the Restaurants Revitalization Fund,” said Jonathan Egan, Owner, Arizona Distilling Company, Tempe.
“Here at Thumb Butte Distillery in Prescott, Arizona, we have been able to survive the past year.  That survival was partially based upon the PPP funds we received.  If we are able to access the funds from the RESTAURANTS Act, we may be able to thrive in the next year.  We would be able to grow our small, local business and to create more skilled jobs here in our hometown. We appreciate Senator Sinema’s support throughout the past year,” said Dana Murdock, Distiller/President, Thumb Butte Distillery, Prescott.

Restaurants are a driving force in Arizona’s economy. In 2019, Arizona restaurants created 310,600 food service and related jobs and were responsible for 11% of employment in the state. However, across the country restaurants have been uniquely devastated by COVID-19. In April alone, 5.5 million restaurant workers lost their jobs. Without federal relief, another 11 million restaurant workers stand to lose their jobs permanently. 
The coronavirus relief bill signed into law establishes a formal $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, as proposed by Sinema’s bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act. Restaurants do not need to pay back their grants and can use the funding for payroll, benefits, mortgages, rent, utilities, maintenance, supplies, protective equipment, cleaning materials, food, paid sick leave, and any other expenses deemed essential.