FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

Restaurant owners hope Washington will pass the RESTAURANTS Act


APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – FDA advisors voted to give Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine the green light today, but this news comes too late for the 10,000 restaurants that have closed since September.

Mark Doughrety, the owner of Mark’s East Side in Appleton said, “Any support that the restaurant industry can receive right now would be a huge help.”

Help might be coming in the way of the $120 billion RESTAURANTS Act.

The bill is in the Senate and has the support of Senator Tammy Baldwin.

She says, “Local restaurants and workers across Wisconsin need our support now to survive this economic crisis… Many small and independent restaurants are operating at reduced capacity and may be forced to close their doors for good if we don’t act now.”

“The restaurants are struggling,” said Doughrety, “A lot of people say aren’t you glad you’re open? Well to be open you need customers, that’s the key. So any support we can get right now is in dire straights.”

One version of the restaurants act has already passed in the House of Representatives but the version in the Senate is gaining support because it allows for chains to take advantage of this relief legislation.

Jay Supple is the CEO of Supple Restaurant Group; he owns four restaurants in the Fox Valley and had to close his fifth establishment, that he was the franchise owner of, due to the pandemic.

“A lot of the chains out there are franchise and so a franchise is a local owner so what we don’t want to do is make sure they get funded as well,” said Supple, “Franchises need to be funded just like independent operators cause realistically they’re the same ones and it’s all local people working there as well.”

Restaurant owners are saying it’s on the government to help them through this pandemic because they are the ones setting guidelines that hurt their business.

Dougherty said, “We need help now. I think if they wait until January, February, March it may be too late. I think they need to act sooner than later.”

Supple had the same sentiment, “The funding needs to happen I can’t say asap right away they’re behind the eight ball. If we would have funded these restaurants and bars sooner we wouldn’t have as many closures. We wouldn’t have as much unemployment.”

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