A worker sets up U.S. flags as part of the Covid-19 memorial at the National Mall in Washington, DC on January 18, 2021.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, Stephanie Bonin and her husband Keith Arnold, co-owners of a restaurant in Denver, feared they were in danger of financial disaster.
The pandemic has forced them to close Duo Restaurantserving modern American cuisine from farm to table.
There was no scenario of what would happen next, as federal and state aid to deal with the crisis had yet to materialize.
They temporarily fired all but three of the 15 employees.
At the time, Bonin knew that she and her husband would not receive unemployment insurance. While their employees will receive benefits, they will not match their weekly paychecks and tips.
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“Their livelihood was on our shoulders,” Bonin said. “This is what kept us awake at night.
“How are we going to make sure they can work?”
Bonin started Petition on Change.org calling for $ 2,000 a month to help every American during the pandemic.
This online call to action still enjoys support today, having just crossed the 3 million signature mark. Change.org has collected personal testimonial videos people who say they need more federal help.
The milestone comes when the resurgence of Covid-19 from the omicron option is forcing some small businesses to close and schools wondering if children should attend classes in person. Meanwhile, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are debating what assistance could be provided, especially for businesses like restaurants.
Democrats’ Build Back Better proposal stalled on Capitol Hill. The bill allows additional monthly payments of the Child Tax Credit, although Senator Joe Manchin, DW.V. has called for stricter targeted use of this aid.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Calif., Said in an interview with CBS ‘Face the Nation this weekend that additional aid to Americans could be added to the upcoming federal funding bill.
However, Bonin said she is already hearing from supporters of the petition who now need more help.
This includes people who may have to quit their jobs if their children return to virtual learning, fixed income grandparents who provide for their grandchildren, and people who need support to be able to rent apartments.
On July 5, tenants and housing activists in Brooklyn, New York protested in Bushwick Park.
Eric McGregor | Getty Images
For many, these problems are not about to give up.
“The marathon doesn’t even describe it,” Bonin said. “It’s just life.”
Bonin and Arnold recently closed Duo for a week ahead of Christmas after half of their kitchen staff contracted Covid-19.
Although they lost about $ 30,000 in income over the week, they still paid about $ 9,000 in wages due to paid vacations.
If they are forced to close again, the loss of income will create an additional financial burden on the business. Meanwhile, since their employees have worked their entire sick leave, they no longer have any obligation to pay.
Bonin and Arnold, who run the restaurant practically from Brattleboro, Vermont, are also grappling with additional Covid uncertainties as parents of two daughters, 9 and 14 years old.
Assistance under the Wage Protection Program, which they believe helped the restaurant operate at the start of the pandemic, is no longer available. Incentive checks and increased federal unemployment benefits ended last year. The monthly payments of the Child Tax Credit have ended this month.
These uncertainties, as well as the twists and turns of the pandemic over the past two years, have resonated with a Change.org petition, Bonin said.
“I think this is what 3 million people are saying:“ We just need certainty. We need something that we can plan month after month, ”Bonin said.