Petition for $2,000 monthly stimulus checks has 3 million signatures. ‘Americans need some certainty,’ says restaurateur who started it

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  • Restaurant owners Stephanie Bonin and Keith Arnold were worried they would face financial ruin in March 2020.
  • Faced with the need to close his restaurant due to COVID-19, Bonin worried about how his employees would survive financially.
  • She started a Change.org petition for a $2,000 monthly incentive check that has just crossed 3 million signatures. While the pandemic has evolved, financial need has remained stable, she says.

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When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in March 2020, Stephanie Bonin and her husband, Keith Arnold, a Denver restaurant co-owner, worried they would face financial disaster.

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the pandemic prompted them to close Duo Restaurantwhich serves farm-to-table contemporary American cuisine.

There was no playbook on what would happen next, as federal and state aid had not yet been implemented to deal with the crisis.

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He temporarily fired all but three of his 15 employees.

At the time, Bonin knew that she and her husband would not receive unemployment insurance. While their employees will get benefits, it will not match with their weekly pay checks and tips.

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“Their livelihood was on our shoulders,” said Bonin. “It was what kept us awake at night.

“How do we make sure they can work?”

bonin started Change.org Petition Calling for $2,000 a month in aid to every American during the pandemic.

Today, that online call to action is still gaining support, only crossing 3 million signatures. Change.org has put together personal testimony video Those who say they need more federal aid.

The milestone comes as a Covid-19 resurgence as the Omron version is forcing some small businesses to close and forcing schools to question whether children can attend classes in person needed. Meanwhile, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are discussing what aid could be implemented – especially for businesses like restaurants.

Democrats’ Build Back Better proposal has stalled on Capitol Hill. That bill would authorize additional monthly child tax credit payments, although Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.V. has called for stricter targeting of that aid.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” this weekend that more aid for Americans could be added to the upcoming federal funding bill.

However, Bonin said she is already hearing from supporters of the petition who still need more help.

This includes people who may have to leave their jobs if their children return to virtual education, grandparents living on the fixed income that provides for their grandchildren, and people who need to be able to rent apartments. encouragement is required.

For many, those issues show no signs of giving up.

“The marathon doesn’t even describe it,” Bonin said. “It’s just life.”

Bonin and Arnold recently closed the Duo restaurant for a week around Christmas after half of their kitchen staff contracted COVID-19.

While he lost about $30,000 in income for the week, he still owed about $9,000 to his payroll due to the paid vacation mandate.

If they are forced to close again, the loss in income will put more financial pressure on the business. Meanwhile, because their employees have gone through all their sick leave, there is no further order for them to get paid.

Bonin and Arnold, who virtually run the restaurant from Brattleboro, Vermont, are also grappling with additional COVID uncertainties as parents to two daughters, ages 9 and 14.

Assistance through the Payroll Protection Program, which they credit with keeping restaurants in business earlier in the pandemic, is no longer available. Stimulus checks and increased federal unemployment benefits dried up last year. This month, the monthly Child Tax Credit payment stopped.

Those uncertainties, and the twist and turn of the pandemic over the past two years, have kept the Change.org petition echoing, Bonin said.

“I think three million people are saying, ‘We just need certainty. We need to do something that we can plan for month after month,'” Bonin said.

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