HARTFORD - More than 2,000 Connecticut restaurants, caterers and food service operators are still waiting to receive federal COVID-19 relief funds, with many saying it's unlikely they can remain in business without the financial assistance, according to the Connecticut Restaurant Association.
“The RRF was a critical lifeline to many, but far more remain on the sidelines," said Scott Dolch, the association's president and CEO, referring to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. About 1,300 restaurants received funding in the first round of grants.
On Monday, Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal voiced his support for additional funding for the federal program, warning that 18,000 jobs are in danger of being lost because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the omicron variant, as well as the impacts of inflation, the labor shortage and supply chain delays.
A survey of 4,200 Connecticut restaurants conducted by the state restaurant association earlier this month found 96% of restaurants experienced a decline in customer demand for indoor dining because of the variant. Meanwhile, 87% reported business conditions are worse than they were three months ago and 80% say their restaurants are less profitable now than before the pandemic began.