Restaurant Revitalization Fund not being replenished in omnibus spending bill

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is not getting any more money as part of the sweeping $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill.

While it could pass as by itself, later on, that is highly unlikely.

President of the New York State Restaurant Association Melissa Fleischut says one in six restaurants in the country closed their doors permanently as a result of lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in New York, they just had their worst January ever.

Thousands of New York restaurant owners were waiting for relief through the federal Small Business Administration.

"We have 17,868 that applied that are in this cue with SBA that never got funded," Fleischut said.

The goal was to add $48 billion to the fund, but after so much time has elapsed, do restaurants still need the money?

"Absolutely," Fleischut said. "So this is one of the things that I think is a challenge to have the average consumer understand is that while your favorite restaurant is open, are they open seven nights a week like they used to be? Or are they open three nights a week during the busiest times to maximize their staff"

Rep. Joe Morelle (D, NY-25) supported the bill and spoke to News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley about it several times. On Monday, Brean asked him about it again.

"Well, it’s like a lot of things," Morelle said. "You try to get bipartisan agreement, bicameral agreement. We had a number of things that were unexpected. $13 billion more for the fight in Ukraine, both militarily and humanitarian aid. But we’ll continue to push it."

Morelle said supporters of the fund are still talking to the White House.