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Where local restaurants stand after COVID-19 impacts

Many restaurants in Downtown Memphis still need financial help to recover from loss due to to COVID-19.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Due to COVID-19, many restaurants, including local spots in Downtown Memphis have still been trying to recover. With staff shortages, supply chain issues, and more, restaurant owners need to see a change within their businesses. 

Grecian Gourmet Taverna Owner Corinne Knight said for her, business will not be back to its norm until people return to the office.

“Our consistent business was everyone that are in offices and like standing catering orders that we had with like a few firms," Knight said. "It was like twice a week for their meetings. Stuff like that is gone until their back."

Arcade Restaurant Owner Jeff Zepatos stated that they can not take another loss. 

“Getting back to where we were originally isn’t picking up for a loss obviously. We still need Congress to pass that restaurant relief fund," Zepatos said.

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It is a program that provides emergency assistance for restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses impacted by COVID-19. Last May, the Small Business Administration’s RRF opened for owners to apply for $28.6 billion in grants of up to $10 million per business. 

Zepatos expressed that the funds have helped those who were able to secure them, but it is also a significant number of restaurants that are still in need.

“That money got depleted very quickly. If you weren’t in line for the RRF within the first day or two, you didn’t get the money. If you had to amend your submission, then you didn’t get the money. It was that simple. You had to be on point a hundred percent of the way.  

Members of the Memphis Restaurant Association has asked residents to reach out to congress members to replenish the funds. 

“Everyone of us have employees out there. I hate to say it, it’s billions of dollars that people are asking for, for this, but it’s needed. It’s what will save America,” Zapatos said.

To find out how you can get involved, and help these downtown businesses push for change, click here.


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