—The Bucks County Republican House Delegation has co-sponsored legislation crafted by Rep. Todd Polinchock (R-Chalfont) to create a new grant program to relieve Pennsylvania’s hospitality industry of the burdens precipitated by the governor’s latest restrictions.
Signing on as co-sponsors of the legislation are Reps. Frank Farry (R-Langhorne), Wendi Thomas (R-Richboro), Craig Staats (R-Quakertown), Meghan Schroeder (R-Warminster), Shelby Labs (R-Doylestown) and KC Tomlinson (R-Bensalem).
“The way the administration has handled the COVID-19 shutdowns has been arbitrary, allowing hundreds of people in big box stores while crippling many local businesses that are the lifeblood of our communities,” Farry said. “While we support the need to keep people safe and to operate while following all the medical guidelines, we believe our restaurants were doing just that.”
“Complicating the situation, the governor’s lockdown rules provided no way to make them whole,” Thomas said. “It’s up to the legislature to fix this.”
“These are small businesses competing against large chains that have been better able to withstand the economic challenges by relying on takeout,” Staats said. “Many local restaurateurs have no such options and are facing complete and permanent closures.”
"These closures will impact each individual within the industry, including those local, hourly workers who rely heavily on tips as they bring the customer experience that goes with patronizing these amazing businesses," Schroeder said. "These business owners have taken tremendous risks to bring jobs and services to our communities and we must work just as diligently to assist them during these challenging times."
“I’m proud that this will be one of the first, and most important bills, I’ll be co-sponsoring,” said Labs, who will take office Jan. 5.
The legislation, which will be introduced when the Legislature reconvenes in January, would create a grant program for businesses impacted by COVID-19 and the resulting shutdown orders. This program would dedicate $500 million in forthcoming federal assistance for COVID-19 relief to grants that could be used to bring this once vibrant industry back to life when this crisis passes.
“This is another fantastic option coming at the most difficult time of this pandemic,” said Rui Lucas, of the Restaurant and Bars COVID Respond Association. “It is needed now more than ever.”
“This industry is one of our largest in Pennsylvania and has assumed an unfair amount of financial burden as we work to mitigate the COVID-19 virus,” Polinchock said. “We need to do everything we can to protect these small businesses, from restaurants, taverns and breweries to our caterers and hotels and all their employees.”
The legislation would create a grant program for businesses impacted by COVID-19 and the resulting shutdown orders. This program would dedicate $500 million in forthcoming federal assistance for COVID-19 relief to grants that could be used to bring this once vibrant industry back to life when this crisis passes.
“I want to be clear to everyone in our community,” Tomlinson said. “We hear you and understand we cannot continue to keep you closed without relief. This industry has complied at every turn and jumped every hurdle. It’s time we came to their aid.”
Bucks County Legislative Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster