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Many Vt. restaurants’ economic struggles continue

Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 3:33 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Many restaurants that have been hammered by the pandemic have used federal cash to help to stay in business.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is a federal program that allows eligible establishments to not pay back grants. The Vermont Chamber of Commerce estimates 3,000 Vermont jobs were saved by the fund. But more than 500 restaurants applied for money and were rejected. Now, the chamber is pushing for the program to change its criteria. In addition to fewer customers and labor shortages, the chamber’s Amy Spear says they’re also struggling with the highest inflation in food prices they have seen in four decades.

“When we look at the Producer Price Index for all foods, you know this has jumped 12.2% between November 2020 and November 2021,” she said. “So, you pile all that on together, it really creates the need for more relief funds like the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.”

Spear says they don’t know how many Vermont restaurants went under during the pandemic but it’s estimated 90,000 had to shut their doors nationwide.

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