HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — More than 2,066 Connecticut restauranteurs are “stuck in limbo,” waiting to see if there are going to be enough federal COVID-19 assistance funds to cover applications totaling more than $489 million, the state’s restaurant association said Tuesday.
The Connecticut Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association and state restaurant associations across the U.S. sent a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday, asking them to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Nationally, there are approximately 177,000 applications for financial relief still pending.
“The small gains that our industry has made toward financial security are in danger of being wiped out, dashing the hopes of communities, entrepreneurs, and consumers nationwide,” according to the letter. A recent survey conducted by the national group found a majority of adults changed their restaurant use as the delta variant has become more prominent in the country, such as not going out to eat, canceling plans, and ordering takeout instead of sitting inside.
Scott Dolch, executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, said the rise of the variant threatens to push the state’s financially struggling restaurants toward permanently closing their doors.
“There are thousands of Connecticut small business owners stuck in limbo waiting to find out if Congress will act to provide the stability they need to make it through this new pandemic threat and into the future,” he said in a statement.
In other coronavirus-related news in Connecticut:
The number of COVID-related hospitalizations on Tuesday grew by 22 from Monday, for a total of 391. Hartford County has the highest number with 129, followed by New Haven County with 106, Fairfield County with 95 and New London County with 30.
Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by 39.9, an increase of 7.5%, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins. There were 217.8 new cases per 100,000 people in Connecticut over the past two weeks, which ranks 49th in the country for new cases per capita. One in every 889 people in Connecticut tested positive in the past week.
State officials said 1,071 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Connecticut since Monday.