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José Andrés (right) on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week. Photo: CBS via Getty Images

Thousands of independent restaurant owners from across the country will join a Zoom press conference today to push Congress to create a "restaurant stabilization fund" to save small eateries that are on the brink of insolvency.

Why it matters: The federal PPP loan program doesn't work for these restaurants because of requirements to hire back employees. These establishments are closed and not generating revenue.

  • And even when restaurants reopen, they may have to cut the number of tables in half to allow for social distancing.

The new Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) is pushing for a $120 billion fund to provide direct relief to independent bars, wine bars and restaurants. 

  • An IRC official tells me these businesses expect at least a 50% revenue loss this year. With profit margins around 5%, many won't survive. So millions of people won't have jobs to go back to when this crisis is over.

Among the big-name chefs expected on today's call are José Andrés, Nina Compton, Rosa Garcia, Naomi Pomeroy and Andrew Zimmern.

  • "The restaurants we love are hurting,” Andrés, part of the IRC leadership team, said in a statement.
  • “Restaurateurs are some of the most creative, inspiring, entrepreneurial people I know and right now they need a little hope."

Naomi Pomeroy, owner of Beast in Portland, Ore., and an IRC founding member, said: "Even with the Paycheck Protection Program, I have serious doubts I’ll be able to reopen my business."

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Go deeper

Updated Dec 8, 2020 - Health

The states where face coverings are mandatory

Data: Compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Wyoming on Monday became the latest state to implement a mask mandate to fight COVID-19, amid a steep spike in cases across the country.

The big picture: States are reintroducing mitigation efforts like closing businesses and advising people to stay home as the U.S. averages the most daily cases of any point in the pandemic.

Aug 6, 2020 - Health

Majority of Americans say states reopened too quickly during pandemic

Photo: Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald/Getty Images

About 69% of U.S. adults said they worry that states reopened too quickly as the country continues to confront the coronavirus pandemic, according to a national survey released Thursday by Pew Research Center.

The big picture: Almost three-quarters of American adults said the economy would fare better if the government focused on reducing infections so consumers were more comfortable visiting restaurants and retailers. Roughly six in 10 respondents said the U.S.'s response to the pandemic has been less effective compared to other wealthy nations around the world.

Updated Aug 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine again tests negative for coronavirus after positive result

Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) tested negative for COVID-19 for a second time after initially testing positive last week, he announced Saturday.

Why it matters: 73-year-old DeWine was set to meet President Trump Thursday on the tarmac at an airport in Cleveland and was tested as part of standard protocol.