So here’s how the food world will benefit from The American Rescue Plan: aid for restaurants, a SNAP expansion, and debt relief for Black farmers among other benefits.
Then there is the $1,400 direct to consumer benefit which likely will see some dollars trickle down to restaurants that are reopening and satisfying our needs to once again be social and see other people over a meal. The legislation also extends $300 weekly-expanded unemployment benefits through September 6 and increase the child tax credit to $3,000 per year for each child aged 6 to 17, which impacts an estimated 93 percent of children. It does include money earmarked for restaurants and bars who are among the hardest hit - $28.6 billion is available to them and is limited to independent restaurants and chains with fewer than 20 locations.
The Independent Restaurant Coalition estimates that the industry has lost over $219 billion in sales since the start of the pandemic, Restaurants will be eligible for up to $5 million in grants, which can be used toward rent, payroll expenses, mortgage, utilities, the construction of outdoor dining areas, food and beverages, and other supplier costs. Unlike the last PPP program – there is a cap - no restaurant group or chain can collect more than $10 million total. For consumers, this bill extends the existing 15% increase in SNAP benefits until the end of September. The largest portion of this money will go toward purchasing food for redistribution to food banks and other nonprofits, a la the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. For farmers of color, the bill includes $4 billion for debt relief. And talking about the supply chain – another $4 billion is earmarked for supply chain support measures, including grants and loans for personal protective equipment, funding for Covid-19 testing in animals, and help for small meat processors who have struggled to pay overtime bills to inspectors.
Welcome relief for us all.