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Local restaurants still waiting on revitalization fund

Posted at 7:01 PM, Nov 04, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Many Western New York Restaurants are still struggling to make ends meet now 20 months into the pandemic.

Restaurant owners say there are additional factors making coming back an uphill battle.

“We have never seen the cost of goods as high as they are right now,” said Damon Ayer of Mason’s 52 Grille in Hamburg. “Labor costs have never been as high as they are right now.”

Restaurants have had to adhere to all kinds of different restrictions, from spacing to PPE, to at one point offering dining only outside. Now it appears the Federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund has run out of money before getting relief in the hands of many WNY businesses.

“They helped one third of Americans which is great, but there’s still two thirds of us out there that still need help,” said Dennis DiPaolo of Ilio DiPaolo’s.

According to the WNY restaurant association and congressman Brian Higgins the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund was only able to help over 101,000 small business owners. Now, more than 63% of eligible applicants or 177 thousand restaurants received nothing.

“I stand in strong support of swift replenishment of the restaurant revitalization fund,” said WNY Congressman Brian Higgins.

Restaurants say on top of that, supplies are three times higher than normal, and staffing issues continue to be a growing issue.

Local restaurant owners say they hope congress does something to help.