Cleveland restaurant owners make plea for federal relief in order to survive

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– Cleveland restaurant owners said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is putting most of them in a dire fight for survival.  

They are urging Northeast Ohioans to contact their federal lawmakers and demand a second round of stimulus funding to help small businesses stay open.

“We are facing a major economic disaster if Congress fails to act,” said Andi Udris, owner and president of Hofbräuhaus Cleveland, and director of economic development for the city of Brooklyn.

A virtual news conference was held at Hofbrauhaus Wednesday afternoon, where Udris officially announced his restaurant on Chester Avenue will be temporarily ceasing indoor dining Dec. 1 to Dec. 17.

He said breweries, bars and restaurants will continue to suffer. Udris urged residents and politicians at all levels of government to urge federal elected officials to quickly approve another COVID stimulus act to help preserve jobs and reinforce local economies. He said an additional Paycheck Protection Program is needed to help small, family restaurants survive another six months.

“If we continue without relief, 60 percent of restaurants will be gone… We’re not just food and hospitality, we’re humans with families,” said Brandon Chrostowski, president and CEO of Edwin’s Restaurant in Shaker Square.

City Council President Kevin Kelley said Cleveland has a limited amount of money to help struggling business owners, but calls on the federal government to step in again.

“Whether they open again, whether restaurants continue to fail, depends on whether Congress has the courage to act… If this doesn’t create a cause of action, I don’t know what will,” Kelley said.

At a city council meeting Wednesday, Councilman Kelley also introduced an ordinance that would establish a limit on the commission that third parties food delivery services, such as DoorDash and Uber Eats can charge to restaurants located in the city of Cleveland.

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