Award-winning chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson, head chef of Red Rooster in Harlem, said that Congress needs to pass a $120 billion grant to keep restaurants in business during the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite bipartisan support, the Restaurants Act has not been taken up by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Are we going to not have those favorite restaurants in our neighborhoods? Those are like the heart and soul of the neighborhoods, and really we need Congress to pass this $120 million bill,” Samuelsson said on CNN’s “New Day.”
The chef commended volunteers and community members for banding together to help restaurants, but he said that now it is time for political leaders and President Trump to act.
“I don't care if he signs the bill from the golf club, but we just need the bill to be signed,” he said. “Congress talk[s] about recess. We don't have vacations. This is the most crucial point in our history in terms of restaurants. And about 11 million people are going to be unemployed."
As the pandemic has affected Americans’ jobs and the ability to feed their families, Samuelsson partnered with Audible's Newark Working Kitchens to deliver more than 200,000 meals since March.
Samuelsson said it’s a model that can be implemented across the country. The meal delivery service works with the New Jersey city's government, restaurants and donors to get food out to residents and first responders, hire back workers and order food from farmers, he said.