Lifestyle Food Celebrity Chef Andrew Zimmern Teams Up with Morgan Freeman for Restaurant Relief Campaign If passed by Congress, the Restaurants Act would establish a $120 billion fund to help independent restaurants By Maria Pasquini Maria Pasquini Associate Editor, Human Interest - PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on August 3, 2020 05:26 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Andrew Zimmern and Morgan Freeman. Photo: Noam Galai/WireImage; Amy Sussman/Getty Andrew Zimmern and Morgan Freeman are coming together in support of the restaurant industry, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The celebrity chef’s television and digital production company Intuitive Content and the Independent Restaurant Coalition have released a new ad, narrated by the Academy Award-winning actor, to urge for Congress to pass the Restaurants Act — which would establish a $120 billion fund to help independent restaurants. “Neighborhood restaurants are the lifeblood of our communities,” Freeman says in the commercial. “They are where we come together and make life-long memories — and right now they are facing extinction.” “The COVID-19 crisis threatens to permanently close 85 percent of independent restaurants. 16 million people risk losing their jobs, disproportionately affecting people of color and single mothers,” he adds. “One in four people who lost their jobs during the pandemic were restaurant workers. Without your help, our favorite places to eat will be gone — forever.” Panera Bread and Noodles & Company Now Require Customers to Wear Face Masks Inside Introduced by Rebpulican Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer, the legislation, which has bipartisan support, would supply grants to independent restaurants, which can be used for payroll, rent, PPE, and other coasts, according to The Hill. “When our restaurants are hurting, it means the economy is hurting,” Blumenauer told reporters in June, according to the outlet. He also noted that revenue for independent restaurants was over 50 percent lower than compared to the previous year. A new report from restaurant consultancy Aaron Allen & Associates found that as many as 231,000 restaurants in the U.S. could permanently close this year, according to Bloomberg News. As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.