POUGHKEEPSIE – As society tries to reopen, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said an infusion of federal spending will go toward restaurants, arguably one of the largest types of small businesses in America.
“First, they are the largest employer. Second, they are the place where people gather and meet. And they are glue. They keep people attached to a community,” he said while in Poughkeepsie. “A restaurant is an organic thing. If they all leave, they are very hard to bring back.”
So as his first bill as Senate Majority Leader, Schumer was able to push through $28.6 billion in restaurant grant funding.
It provides up to $5 million per establishment, which can be used for food, operating, and other expenses. “It can be used freely,” he said.
Schumer talked about the grant program Tuesday in front of Essie’s Restaurant in the city’s Mount Carmel neighborhood, and Brandon Walker, the owner, said he is grateful for the help.
“We just thank everyone for giving us the support, and we look forward to making sure our restaurants can grow and thrive,” said Walker. “And we can continue to support the community with great food and great service.”
Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro said restaurants, as a community staple, have been good community citizens during a time when they have been most economically vulnerable.
“They dug deep. When they were forced to close, many of them kept people on the books. They kept employees employed because they were fearful they were going to send their hardworking employees out to the community without any income,” he said. “This assistance is going to help them.”