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U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly touts American Rescue Plan's lifeline to local restaurants

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MATTESON — Like a lot of other restaurants and small businesses, Bergstein's NY Deli was hard-hit by various pandemic protocols like the lockdown and indoor dining ban.

Ride along with Officer Jimmy Weller as he patrols the region's border of Lake Michigan as part of the Lake County Sheriff's Marine Unit. Video by Connor Burge. 

But Bergstein's was one of the many eateries to get a lifeline from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which is part of President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan. The deli received $97,359.

Bergstein's co-owner Alice Davis told her restaurant's survival story Monday at a news conference organized by U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-2nd), whose district extends from Chicago's Southeast Side through the south suburbs and into rural Kankakee County.

"Funding was a huge support that kept us in business," Davis said. "I don't think we would be open if not for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. It was a difficult time.

"We did not know how we were going to keep open. Employees are like family to us, and we had to think of their health concerns. Everyone got paid and they stuck with us."

Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez noted how important local merchants are for municipalities like his.

"When small business struggles, we as a city struggle," Gonzalez said. "Nearly all the revenue we receive come from small businesses. It will take more time for small businesses to recover, but they will. We're grateful for Congresswoman Kelly's support of the American Rescue Plan and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund."

"In Congress, I'm glad we've created funding sources to help look out for Bergstein's and other restaurants in the community," Kelly said.

She noted that the American Rescue Plan provided $1.4 billion in aid to 4,542 Illinois restaurants, bars and other food service businesses. Nationally, the fund has paid out $28 billion to help keep restaurants and bars going.


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