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Survey: New York restaurants still struggling, more aid needed

More than 90% of New York restaurants reported fewer in-house dining customers in January, says results of a survey conducted for the National Restaurant Association. Nearly as many restaurants surveyed said they were worse off compared to three months ago due to the COVID-19 Omicron variant surge.

Survey respondents said they’re hoping for a replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), a $28 billion federal relief program from 2021, according to Albany Times-Union.

The same survey found that RRF recipients were more likely to stay open during the pandemic, with 92% saying they used the money to pay expenses or debt accumulated since the beginning of the pandemic.

The National Restaurant Association estimates more than 95,000 restaurants jobs were saved in New York as a result of the 2021 RRF grants. Still, the large majority of applicants did not receive grants as funds were quickly depleted.

A bill to add another $60 billion to the RRF fund was proposed is June 2021. The bill currently sits in committee in Congress.