Legislation that could help struggling Pa. restaurants moves forward

By KYW Newsradio 1060

NORTH WALES, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Legislation that could give struggling Pennsylvania restaurants some much-needed help moved forward Wednesday.

The legislation would earmark $250 million of federal CARES Act funding for restaurants that meet certain criteria, such as having 10 or fewer restaurants with the same name in Pennsylvania, and having no more than 75 full-time equivalent employees per location.

"Pre-pandemic, the restaurant industry employed over a half-million people in Pennsylvania. It was 10% of our workforce," said Montgomery County State Rep. Todd Stephens, the prime sponsor.

But, he said, since March, 91% of restaurants have had to lay off or furlough more than 300,000 employees.

The House Commerce Committee voted down an amendment to the bill that would have expanded total funding while also allowing other types of businesses to be eligible.

Stephens argued this already will only provide about $25,000 per some of the smaller restaurants who are already struggling with limited capacity, lower sales, and higher operating costs.

"When you start expanding the scope and reducing the amount of dollars, the impact is severely limited," he said.

Stephens hopes the legislation will go before the full House by the end of the month.