(WGHP) — Triad business owners say they support a push for dedicated restaurant funding by some lawmakers.  

Representatives Deborah Ross, Alma Adams and Kathy Manning signed on to a letter calling for more restaurant relief amid the omicron surge. 

Ginah Soufia owns Wall Street Deli and Catering near Piedmont Triad International Airport. She said lunch rushes have taken a hit over the past few months. 

“It’s still challenging. We’re finding that a lot of the companies we work with are working remotely once again, at least temporarily, so the meetings have decreased, the catering for the meetings,” Soufia said.

She added supply chain issues are forcing her to get creative with the deli’s menu. 

“We’ve had to learn how to do business differently,” Soufia said. 

At Penny Path Café and Crepe Shop in High Point, winter weather is also having an impact on business.  

“Groceries and supplies have been a little bit difficult to find. That’s typical after a holiday. Then you had the winter weather. One day I could not find milk anywhere,” said Manager Christine Lerner.

More than 6,600 North Carolina restaurants and bars applied for federal assistance under the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. 40% of businesses didn’t get a dime.  

“The funding on the last go-round that they did with the grant, unfortunately, we did not make it into that group as did a lot of other restaurants and businesses, so it’s been hard,” Lerner said. “It pushed some of the pay for the employees up, which it should be raised, but the problem is we can’t compete necessarily, so it’s a tough time.”

Lerner remains hopeful business improves. But without relief funds, restaurants like Penny Path aren’t able to give employees paid sick time. 

“We absolutely need more funding…it doesn’t take much to set a small business off-kilter,” she said. 

Lawmakers say North Carolina’s restaurant sector lost over 26,300 workers from November 2019 to November 2021.  

The National Restaurant Association reports 88% of all restaurants experienced a decline in customer demand because of the omicron variant.