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Ky. bars, restaurants ask for help as federal funding ends

A bill to add $40 billion to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund has failed to pass the U.S. Senate.
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 9:35 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A bill to add $40 billion to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund has failed to pass the U.S. Senate.

Lexington restaurants are urging people to think local this summer when going out to eat or drink. That federal money ran out within a few weeks, and 177,000 locally-owned restaurants never received grants from the original fund of more than $28 billion.

Now, the independent restaurant coalition said that more than half those businesses could close within the next few months.

Andrew Bishop owns Ethereal Brewing and said his public house on Vine Street wouldn’t exist today if not for the grants he’s received through the pandemic. Restaurant owners say it could affect the entire hospitality industry.

“I have seven employees between the two restaurants I employ. However, I have several farmers and their families, and their employees. They produce some of the finest products around. It’s just more spider-webbed than I think people who aren’t in it realize,” said Gary Spaulding, the owner of Salt & Vinegar.

Spaulding said he’s been inspired by the way the Lexington restaurants have picked one another up during these difficult times. He said it’s important they support one another, since they don’t have any federal support on the way right now.

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