LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WJW)– A group of local restaurants and bars teamed up to ask Congress for help and the public for support, making it clear they will not survive this crisis without federal funding.
Jessica Parkison, co-owner of Salt in Lakewood, created a video featuring other locally-owned restaurant employees, support staff and owners struggling to keep people employed and their doors open during the pandemic.
“Chain restaurants are going to come out of this fine, your local independent restaurants may not,” Parkison said.
The video featured several article headlines about shuttered businesses and employees holding up signs that said, “Help us.”
Parkison said she hoped it sent a message to people in power that restaurants are barely hanging on and in need of a government a bailout, similar to what the auto and airline industry received.
“The hospitality and restaurant industry employees 11.5 million people across the country and then they support employ another 5 million people, and there’s no bail out for us,” she said.
The video posted to Salt’s Instagram page and viewed several thousand times encourages supporters to tell Congress to pass restaurant relief and links to the Independent Restaurant Coalition, which said its mission is to save local restaurants. On Friday, IRC praised the reintroduction of the Restaurants Act, which would establish a $120 billion restaurant revitalization fund.
The coalition reports more than 372,000 restaurant and bar workers lost their jobs over the holidays, the largest loss in jobs since April.
Salt, open nearly five years, reports revenue down 67 percent for 2020. Parkison said this time last year they employed 23 people. Today, they are down to nine, which forced them to close three days during the week.
Parkison said they did receive PPP loans, but realizes many restaurants did not and said the closure of independent restaurants and bars is a failure that spreads across communities.
The video posted to its Instagram page and viewed several thousand times encourages supporters to act and “tell Congress to pass restaurant relief.”
“I want them to realize the importance of supporting local and when you support local, just in Lakewood alone, where Salt is located, 65 cents of every dollar that is spent goes back to the community,” she said.
Although there is no clear finish line when things will go back to the way they were prior to the pandemic, restaurants owners urge the public for support and Congress for action desperately needed.
“Restaurants are community and they are the heartbeat within the community and without that heartbeat there is no life,” Parkison said. “So it is so important for us to make sure that everybody still can and will come out of this, however that looks.”