One year ago, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
And today, thanks to the investments we made in vaccines and in our economy, life is returning to normal. Small businesses have been able to stay open, restaurants have reopened to customers again, and arts venues are thriving.
I know that Ohio’s small businesses – mom and pop stores, restaurants, and arts venues– have taken some of the hardest hits in the past two years.
That’s why I’ve been fighting so hard to make sure those small businesses – which are the backbone of Ohio’s economy – get the support they need.
The Paycheck Protection Program helped more than 200,000 Ohio businesses keep staff on the payroll.
The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant that we created with our Save Our Stages Act meant nearly 400 Ohio venues received assistance to get through the Covid-19 crisis, and welcome Ohioans back to seats again.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund awarded grants to nearly three thousand Ohio restaurants to weather the COVID storm. I’ve also signed on to legislation to replenish the Restaurant Relief Fund, to get help to those businesses that missed out on the first round.
Saving these small businesses doesn’t just help each individual business or worker – supporting small, local businesses means supporting the Ohio’s entire economy.
Small businesses make up nearly all businesses in the state – and employ nearly half of all Ohioans. And we know how interconnected local economies are.
People go to a local restaurant before a show, they grab a drink afterward, they spend more time out and about shopping – all things that wouldn’t be possible without Ohio’s vibrant economy made up of small businesses.
The American Rescue Plan has helped us weather this pandemic, so that Americans no longer have to live in fear. Much of my focus over the next few months will be ensuring Ohio businesses and local economies continue to thrive and create good-paying jobs.
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents the state in the U.S. Senate.