Sen. Angus King of Maine is taking another shot at promoting a $120 billion revitalization fund to help restaurants that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

King, an independent, also supported the proposal when it was first floated last year.

It would set up the fund to support independent restaurants and small franchises that are under tremendous financial pressure because of the pandemic, King said Monday.

King said the proposal is especially important for the economy in Maine, which is dependent on tourism dollars.

“Maine’s restaurants are central parts of our economy and our communities; they create jobs, drive tourism, and provide gathering places that add to the character of our hometowns – on top of cooking up delicious meals for all of us,” King said.

Nationwide, restaurants wrapped up 2020 with losses of more than $240 billion, King said. The senator said they also lost 2.5 million jobs compared to pre-pandemic levels, and more than one out of six is closed permanently or for an extended period.

Under the proposal, restaurant owners could apply for grants of up to $10 million to cover expenses retroactively. King said the money could be used for costs such as payrolls, benefits, mortgages, supplies and food, among others.

 

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