RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) – As the North Carolina General Assembly resumes its short session on Monday, Senator Harper Peterson (D-New Hanover County) is co-sponsoring two bills aimed at helping the restaurant industry and hospitality in our state.
Wilmington business owner Justin Smith is currently sailing uncharted waters.
“It looks like a hurricane with no end in sight,” Smith said.
Smith is co-owner of Anne Bonny’s, The Husk, Yosake, and Dram and Morsel. Like the rest of the state, it has had to shift its business model to delivery and delivery only, and profits are declining.
“We all need help, and any percentage of people who fall destroys character, destroys the very fabric of the city that we have built for years and years,” he said.
That is why Senator Harper Peterson is co-sponsoring two bills to help the struggling industry.
The first one, Senate Bill 748, would allow restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages for take out and delivery.
“You can sell beer and wine now in unopened containers, and the essence of this bill, it’s very simple, is that you can also serve mixed drinks in a container with a lid,” Peterson said.
Drinks would only be served with food and limited to two servings per meal. Smith says he’s in favor of the idea.
“Take-out drinks just provide another option for the income stream, and that’s the straightforward and honest answer,” Smith said. “We need all possible sources of income to compensate for the loss of business.”
The second invoice (SB 788) sponsored by Peterson is known as the Save Our Restaurants Act.
He would create a $ 125 million fund for restaurant and hotel loans using federal funds from the CARES Act.
Peterson says the bill targets small businesses, not chains.
“That’s a maximum loan of $ 50,000 repaid over 10 years, with 3.5% interest,” he said. “You can cancel your loan if you use some of the money to buy supplies from farms or fisheries. “
The bill would also reimburse the ABC licensing fees to restaurants for the months they had to close.
Peterson says discussions are underway in the state Senate and he hopes both bills will pass as quickly as possible with much needed bipartisan support.