WRIC: Federal funding on the way to help local restaurants, Rep. Spanberger meets with owners to discuss next steps

WRIC, LAURA PERROT

Some federal relief could soon be heading to local restaurants.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger met with local restaurant owners at the Tazza Kitchen in Short Pump on Thursday to discuss the American Rescue Plan, which she voted to pass last month.

The plan includes a $29 billion fund to support restaurants with fewer than 20 locations.

“For small, locally owned restaurants to be able to continue with their recovery and their survival as the pandemic continues until a point where we can fully open,” Spanberger told 8News.

Although restrictions are slowly rolling back, Spanberger said the money is still needed.

“This is the point in time where we see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we need to make sure that restaurants across our community are able to continue surviving,” the congresswoman said.

Charles’ Kitchen in Henrico said the fund could help them. A representative with the restaurant told 8News they are in need of more staffing but find it hard to offer competitive pay during the pandemic.

“We do need to hire but it’s hard when unemployment is paying more than what we could be able to pay them,” the representative said.

Spanberger also spoke with the owners of Tazza Kitchen. More than one year into the pandemic, the restaurants have social distancing down to a science, but Partner Chris Curtain said it does not make things easier.

“It’s not as fun as it used to be in certain aspects because you are hypersensitive about a lot of things that you never had to worry about,” Curtain said.

Curtain said they are unsure if Tazza will apply for the funding. He told 8News the restaurant is lucky to have the space to expand seating at their locations.

“If we see something that we really need, we’re going to take it but we’re going to leave the money there if we dont need it for places that do need it,” Curtain said.

Rep. Spanberger’s office said the Small Business Administration will likely start posting instructions on how restaurants can apply for the funding over the next seven to 10 days.

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