Triad mayors push for restaurant relief

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Many local restaurant owners say it’s difficult to see how much their business has changed during the pandemic.

“You break down because people have been so great and generous and loving,” said Cindy Essa, owner of Pastabilities.

Essa is one of the owners at Pastabilities on Battleground Avenue. She’s managing her business the best way she can.

“We have a bar but no bar seats. There are nights when I would wake up at midnight to try and log on to order so there was inventory,” Essa said.

On Tuesday, Mayors across the Triad expressed their concerns on how small businesses are struggling during the pandemic.

Mayors and the Triad Food and Beverage Coalition are calling on Congress to pass the 4012 Restaurants Act, a bill that would assist the restaurant industry.

The bill would pay $120 billion to restaurants facing challenges during the pandemic. The money would cover expenses like payroll, benefits, mortgage and rent.

“When we see a restaurant go out of business, it doesn’t just impact that restaurant that family or those employees. It impacts businesses across the community,” said Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan.

“If there’s a grant out there, that’s fantastic, and we appreciate anything,” Essa said.

Just a couple of blocks away is Oakcrest Family Restaurant, a business that’s been serving customers for 20 years.

“The costs never stop, and the income can cut in half or less,” said Sam Helmi, owner of Oakcrest Family Restaurant.

He is cutting back on his supplies as costs are becoming a burden.

“The big savior for us was the PPP loan. That has helped us a lot, but that has run out already about a month ago,” Helmi said.

Until then, He is putting his trust in congress and hopes members will do what is right.

“We got to figure out a way to survive,” Helmi said.

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