I'm Erika Polmar, and I serve as the IRC’s Executive Director. We’ve been fighting day and night with you to save America’s independent restaurants and bars over the last year. Today, we have the privilege of sharing wonderful news.
Just yesterday, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, which includes a $28.6 billion grant program for our industry.
These are the funds we’ve been advocating for over the last twelve months. The funds that will help save 500,000 small businesses and 11 million jobs. The funds that will help ensure this pandemic won’t be an extinction event for our industry.
One year ago, as shutdowns began to sweep the nation, this coalition formed with a singular mission: to secure financial assistance for independent restaurants and bars.
While we couldn’t fathom that one year later we would still be under the grip of this pandemic, we knew that what lay ahead was going to be a challenge unlike any of us had faced. As feared, many neighborhood institutions were forced to close their doors for good, millions of jobs were lost, and countless families remain uncertain when their next paycheck will come. But our industry is no stranger to hard work, and you all came together to fight alongside us every step of the way.
You made calls, sent emails, shared messages and raised your voices as our Congressional champions introduced legislation in both the House and Senate, and helped us earn the support of more than half of Congress. Yesterday, as President Biden signed a bill that will help save an industry that sits at the heart of communities everywhere, our voices were heard.
Today, we celebrate this incredible achievement and the massive impact it will have for businesses, workers, suppliers, and families across the country. Tomorrow, we begin our efforts to make sure owners and operators everywhere have the tools they need to access the grant program. As it’s rolled out, we’ll be in touch to point you to the resources you’ll need to tap into these funds. To start, use our new guide to ensure your business has a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and is registered with the System for Award Management (SAM) – you’ll need both to apply and receive payments.
Read more: Congress to Vote on Two Major Relief Packages
This has been an incredibly challenging year for so many of us. But not one day has passed since the IRC was established that I haven’t been humbled by, grateful for, and in complete awe of incredible people like you who helped build this movement from the ground up.
Thank you for your unwavering support.
Executive Director, Independent Restaurant Coalition
This piece originally appeared as a newsletter, and has been reprinted here with slight modification. For more information, visit www.saverestaurants.com.