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Schumer unveils $25 billion COVID-relief fund to help restaurants

Madison Ruffo
Sen. Charles Schumer.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) visited central New York on Monday for the first time since taking on his new role in the Senate, to unveil a new restaurant-relief fund.

At the Brasserie Bar and Bistro in Camillus, Schumer shared a startling number. He said that 54% of restaurants across New York state won’t be able to survive the next six months without some type of aid, according to a survey by the New York State Restaurant Association.

“Thousands of restaurants throughout New York state will close if we don't get them some immediate relief,” said Schumer.

He said restaurants in Onondaga County that have managed to survive the pandemic have lost 27% of their revenue since March. That’s why he came to central New York to announce the addition of the $25 billion RESTAURANTS Act to the next COVID-relief bill.

“Look, this is the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” said Schumer. “It's the greatest health crisis in a century since the Spanish pandemic flu. The only way we're going to get out of it is if the federal government pushes both relief and recovery.”

If passed, the flexible grants would cover expenses from February of last year until the end of 2021 to help recuperate losses and cover upcoming costs for struggling restaurants to stay afloat. Schumer said that he has received pushback on the bill with Senate Republicans wanting to pass a smaller relief package.

“I hope we'll get more Republicans to join us on the final bill, but if not, we still have to pass it anyway,” he said.

Schumer expects the COVID-relief bill, including the RESTAURANTS Act, to pass through the Senate by mid-March. He also gave a brief statement about the insurrection on January 6 and subsequent impeachment hearings of former-President Donald Trump.

“The person who incited this was Donald J. Trump, and I believe he deserved to be impeached, and he should have been convicted,” Schumer said.

Madison Ruffo received a Master’s Degree from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, where she specialized in audio and health/science reporting. Madison has extensively covered the environment, local politics, public health, and business. When she’s not reporting, you can find Madison reading, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.