Relief could be on the way for restaurants in the Southern Tier and Central New York that are struggling to stay alive during the pandemic as they have been forced to close, reopen at greatly reduced capacity and hours and pivot to take-out services.

Spencer Platt

New York State’s newly minted U.S. Senate Majority Leader this week made his first stop in regions outside of New York City since taking over the leadership role.

Charles Schumer made a swing through Central New York and the Capitol District Monday, February 15 to announce the possibility of grants for restaurants that have been hit so hard economically by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Democrat says he’s including millions of dollars in the next COVID relief bill to try to keep more restaurants from closing.

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Schumer says he wants the “RESTAURANTS Act” to include $10-million dollars per restaurant group and $5-million per individual restaurants to help them meet payroll and benefits as well as make mortgage, rent and utility payments, buy protective equipment and cleaning materials as well as cover food purchases and other operating expenses.

The Majority Leader says $5-billion of the $25-billion total is reserved for restaurants with less than a $500,000 in gross receipts in 2019 for the first 60 days of the program.

A recent survey by the New York State Restaurant Association shows 54 percent of restaurants in the state said they would not survive the next six months without help from the federal government.

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