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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: September 11, 2020 03:50 PM
From: Senator Scott Martin and Sen. Patrick J. Stefano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Distributing CARES Act Aid to Pennsylvania Restaurants, Bars and the Tourism Industry
We plan to introduce legislation that will distribute $500 million of CARES Act funding to provide aid to Pennsylvania restaurants, bars, and businesses in the tourism and hospitality industries suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These businesses, owned by our friends and neighbors, have been fighting for months to survive.  They have made sacrifices, adapted their business models to meet mandates and responded to changing consumer behavior.  They are finding new and innovative ways to remain open and serve their customers, and try to feed their own families.  Sadly, many did not make it. 

We fear they will not be the last.

Many of these businesses have been forced to close their doors because of overly restrictive and unpredictable mandates based on hazy or non-existent data.  Patrons are canceling their plans and contracts, and many are afraid to book new ones or put down deposits.  Just this week, another blow was dealt to bars and restaurants with new orders taking us one step forward and two steps back.  This uncertainty makes it nearly impossible for these businesses to plan or budget.  How can they weather the storm when they don’t know how long it will last, or what will be thrown at them next?
Restaurant and food service jobs make up approximately 10 percent of employment in Pennsylvania and according to the IFO, more than 134,000 of these jobs were lost in 2020.  This aid will help preserve thousands of jobs across the state, especially as winter approaches and outdoor space will become more difficult to utilize.  While we try to get Americans back to work safely, we need to remember that there needs to be a workplace for them to return to. 

The legislature will continue to act to provide an opportunity for these businesses to remain open and operate safely.  We hope you will join us in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB1358