Tester Introduces RESTAURANTS Act to Provide Critical Relief to Montana’s Main Streets

Senator’s bipartisan legislation would set aside $120 billion to help independent restaurants amid COVID-19

As part of his continued efforts to ensure that Montana’s main street businesses are able to make it to the other end of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is introducing his bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act that would create a $120 billion fund to help provide independent restaurants with critical relief.

“For almost a year, Montana’s mom and pop restaurants have had to operate at lower capacity and risk their bottom lines to keep folks safe and stay open during this pandemic,” said Tester. “These small businesses are more than just gathering places-they’re often the lifeblood of their communities and are going to play a key role in getting Montanans back to work helping our economy recover from this crisis. That’s why this legislation is so critical, it will help Montana restaurants keep the lights on and continue to serve their communities through the rest of the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.”

Tester’s RESTAURANTS Act would create a grant program to help restaurants struggling due to COVID-19 cover costs including payroll, benefits, mortgage, rent, utilities, maintenance, supplies including protective equipment and cleaning materials, food, and debt obligations to suppliers.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Tester has been fighting to ensure that Montana small businesses are able to keep up with costs. As part of the year-end government funding bill, he secured $284 billion for first and second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and expanded PPP eligibility for more critical access hospitals, local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters, and 501(c)(6) nonprofits. He also recently passed his Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act to cut red tape and excise taxes on small brewers, distillers, and vintners.