LEHIGH VALLEY RESTAURANT EMPLOYEES EMERGENCY FUND

Launch Date: December 25, 2020 - The Lehigh Valley Restaurant Owners Alliance has launched an “Emergency Restaurant Employee Relief Fund” via GO FUND ME The fund will assist struggling and desperate restaurant employees forced into financial distress by the restrictions placed on the Pennsylvania restaurant industry by Governor Thomas Wolf and PA Health Department of Health. HISTORY Behind our efforts!! In March of 2020, Governor Thomas Wolf mandated through “Executive Order” a TWO WEEK SHUTDOWN of the state’s Restaurant Industry- to cease operations across the entire state industry to “slow the spread” of the newly discovered Coronavirus pandemic and to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and reduce the possibility of the overcrowding of our hospital system statewide. (Note: The vast majority of taxpayers and businesses were ready, willing and able to support this initiative for the good of the commonwealth and the Country!) TEN MONTHS LATER..... Restaurant employees are still not able to earn wages due to multiple confusing and arbitrary extensions of the Wolf shutdown notice of March 2020 THE FIRST STRIKE ON THE RESTAURANT COMMUNITY March 17, 2020 “Gov. Tom Wolf has announced that Pennsylvania has ordered a shutdown of non-essential stores, as well as bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery as of midnight. He anticipates it to continue for TWO WEEKS. Wolf emphasized that grocery stores will not be closed, and that people can continue shopping for food as normal. Essential stores include grocery stores, drug stores and gas stations.” Through the continued extensions of the Governor’s Executive Order Authority, The Wolf Administration has literally strangled the statewide restaurant and hospitality industry for 10 months, putting in jeopardy the financial capability and lives of hundreds of thousands of restaurant employees across the state of Pennsylvania. While restaurant owners statewide have undergone incredible hardship dealing with the these arbitrary and DATA-less mitigation orders enforced by the Wolf Administration, their employees have been “crushed financially” and put in harms way by not being permitted their constitutional right to work and earn honest wages. The Lehigh Valley Restaurant Owners Alliance “Emergency Restaurant Employee Relief Fund” has been activated to help our local restaurant employees survive the takeaway of their ability to earn honest wages. The Fatal Blow- September 22, 2020 The Pennsylvania Senate voted to help small business taverns and licensed restaurants by passing HB 2513 by a bi-partisan vote of 43-6. HB2513 “Save PA Restaurants Bill”, was the only common-sense legislative initiative (negotiated between the private sector, PRLA and the Governors’s administration) intended to help the statewide restaurant industry recover from the Wolf Coronavirus mandates on businesses. “The bill now goes back to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for a concurrence vote. On September 23 the state House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in favor of HN2513, ONLY TO BE VETOED by Governor Wolf 10 days later. In concurrence vote, on October 22, 2020 the elected “Lehigh Valley Democrat caucus” voted against the WOLF VETO of HB2513, leaving restaurant operators statewide without any hope for meaningful recovery of any kind. The Final Gut Punch- and then another !!! November 2020 Pennsylvania was holding $1.3B in Federal CARES ACT funding for the relief of small businesses and restaurants under the strains of the Coronavirus and Government induced lockdowns. $500M was earmarked “promised” by state legislators to “Save The State Restauant Industry”. On November 29, 2020 the State Senate and House of Representatives, through a political loophole, voted/ diverted these funds to the state’s General Budget, to be used for the PA Department of Corrections ??? Leaving restaurant operators and their staff totally helpless and devoid of any desperately needed Federal Relief. RENT and EVICTION RELIEF- Stolen Again! December 18, 2020 Pennsylvania was holding $108B in Federal CARES ACT funding for RENT & MORTGAGE RELIEF for both employees (many from the restaurant industry) and landlords affected by their inability to pay or collect rent due to their inability to earn honest wages based on the Governor’s unconstitutional lockdown mandates. On December 18, ONE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS the State Senate and House of Representatives led again by the GOP caucus, voted these funds to the state’s General Budget, to the same PA Department of Corrections ???? THIS IS UNCONSCIONABLE Leaving restaurant operators and their staff totally helpless and devoid of any desperately needed Federal Relief and in serious jeopardy of losing their homes or being evicted and homeless!!! Spotlight PA December 18 “Pennsylvania tenants and homeowners missed out on roughly $108 million of $175 million in federal coronavirus relief because state programs distributing the funding made it too hard to access, Spotlight PA has found. The remaining money will be redistributed to the state’s Department of Corrections”. A SAD CONCLUSION The confluence of a worldwide pandemic, HORRIBLE ECONOMIC DECISIONS by our elected State leaders, and the enabling of the state court system, has placed our hardworking and dedicated restaurant owners and their staffs in peril and at the brink of financial ruin. PLEASE HELP OUR CAUSE, and donate to the Lehigh Valley Restaurant Owners Alliance “Emergency Restaurant Employee Relief Fund” Relief Fund: ALL DONATIONS WILL BE HELD BY AN FDIC INSURE, RESPONSIBLE BANKING INSTITUTION All fund releases will be authorized by our Relief Fund Review Board Members A Relief Fund review board will set the parameters of financial assistance request protocols and decide on the financial relief allotments based on the most immediate needs of qualified employees and available funding. Qualifying Parameters: Employees must have been working full-time at the start of the original Wolf shutdown of March 2020 and request relief funds for the following needs. - Rent/ mortgage relief - Legal assistance with matters concerning eviction or mortgage issues - Immediate basic necessities - Transportation expenses - Utilities relief - Medical or Rx needs - Legal fees related to being out of workforce - Food for their family - Clothing or winter coats for family - Retraining opportunities or specialized training to enter an alternative workforce - Help with temporary transportation costs to enable a job opportunity. It has been estimated by the PA Restaurant and Lodging Association that by March 2020 as many as 60% of restaurants across the commonwealth of PA will shutter their doors due to the handling of this pandemic by our Elected Leaders. The PA Hospitality industry- the second largest employer in PA- has lost more than 320,000 jobs since the Governor’s crippling restrictions were implemented in March The restaurant industry has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus mandates — suffering more sales and job losses than any other industry in the country. As past recoveries have proven, we will be one of the slowest to bounce back. For an industry with sales that exceed the agriculture, airline, railroad, ground transportation, and spectator sports industries combined, a restaurant relief and recovery program is desperately needed,” the National Restaurant Association writes in its letter to Congress. EMERGENCY RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE RELIEF FUND: We humbly ask you for your donation to assist our hardworking and dedicated restaurant staff that have been abandoned by both our State and Federal government and are now in financial distress through NO FAULT OF THERE OWN!! Sincere Thanks to all the the Lehigh Valley Restaurant Owners who have come together as a community, to help support each other as they navigate the worst business conditions in more than FIVE GENERATIONS!! For additional information- Please contact: Steve DiDonato Lehigh Valley Restaurant Owners Alliance

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Organizer

Steve Didonato 
Organizer
Bethlehem, PA