Local Establishments Plead Lawmakers To Pass 'Restaurants Act' For Pandemic Assistance
/ CBS Los Angeles
STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) -- Joseph Kuras has owned Tuning Fork in Studio City for seven years.
His local watering hole is known for its local beers on tap and its neighborhood feel. But Kuras just doesn't have the customers to be open every day anymore.
"It's very difficult for our type of food to travel, have it to go. Plus you can't package the bar and take it with you," he said.
His revenue is down more than 80%, so he is only open a few hours for a few days a week. What was once almost 90 hours of service has been reduced to just 20 hours of weekly operations.
Kuras said he considers closing "pretty much everyday, honestly."
He would not be the only one. The National Restaurant Association said more than 100,000 restaurants in the country have closed since the pandemic started.
"No industry has lost more jobs or revenue than restaurants, and when you are the nation's second largest employer, that needs to be a big alarm bell here in Washington for policy makers," said Sean Kennedy, a the executive vice president for public affairs with the association.
"We are under a challenge we've never seen before, and unless there's decisive action taken by Congress, a lot of restaurants are gonna be gone for good and it's gonna be such a loss for every single community," he added.
There are currently two versions of the "restaurants act" sitting and waiting for Congress. The Senate version is stuck in the finance committee, and the House version passed last month as part of the revised Heroes Act. Both versions would offer grants to struggling independent restaurants who are still fighting to survive.
"Forty percent of operators tell us, unless there's federal action from Washington, they'll be closed by February," Kennedy said.
Kuras said his landlord has been very generous so he can stay open, but his fate and that of Tuning Fork is likely tied to lawmakers and leaders. That is why many in the hospitality industry are hoping for a little customer service from those they voted for.
"It's very frustrating, it is," he said. "But I know I'm not alone."