Boulder restaurant owner trying to get aid to small, independent restaurant owners

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BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — It’s been an especially tough few days for Boulder restaurants, with new last call and age guidelines within city limits.

“We saw Saturday night—someone flew out from Florida and wanted to take their 21-year-old out, who just graduated from school. We could not take care of them. It’s so unnatural,” Frasca Food and Wine Owner Bobby Stuckey said.

Stuckey’s staff were preparing to move heat lamps out in their temporary patio space, while he interviewed with FOX31 on Monday.

He says small businesses face a much bigger issue, as they head into the colder months.

“Right now, it looks like over 50% of independent restaurants in Colorado will close by February,” Stuckey said.

He co-authored a bill—the RESTAURANTS Act—which would establish a $120 billion dollar fund for non-chain restaurants, that haven’t received any short-term coronavirus aid yet. Stuckey says he’s been laboring the bill, and its language, every day since mid-March.

“If you look at the spirit of the PPP deal, it was an eight-week fix to what might be a 12-18 month problem, with our industry,” Stuckey said.

“This bill gives us an opportunity to take care of our rent obligations or mortgages, to take care of those employees, shore up the business—so we can get to the other side,” he explained.

Stuckey says he’s received a lot of political backing in Colorado, including support from Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennett.

But the Independent Restaurant Coalition co-founder says he hasn’t gotten the bi-partisan support he expected from other states—especially from the GOP.

“They are looking line by line—do you have a certain amount of Democrats? Do you have a certain amount of Republicans? They really are playing that game, and they shouldn’t be doing that.”

Stuckey is urging politicians on both sides of the aisle to prioritize the bill, before Congress adjourns next month.

“As a small business owner in a pandemic, time is of the essence. Every two weeks is another payroll putting you one step closer to having a restaurant close. So the time is now.”

For more information on the RESTAURANTS Act, click here: www.saverestaurants.com

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