Michelin-starred restaurant where Gov. Newsom dined during COVID-19 surge got over $2.4 million in PPP loans

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  • The French Laundry received more than $2.4 million from the Paycheck Protection Program in April, according to ABC7's Stephanie Sierra and Lindsey Feingold.

  • Both PPP loans were approved on April 30 and went toward retaining a total of 168 staff members, the publication reports.

  • ABC7 said the French Laundry's PPP loan total was 17 times more than the average restaurant in California's Bay Area received.

  • The French Laundry is a three-star Michelin restaurant run by Thomas Keller, a prominent chef and cookbook writer.

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The Michelin-starred restaurant where California Gov. Gavin Newsom dined last month during a surge in coronavirus cases received over $2.4 million in PPP funding, an ABC7 report by Stephanie Sierra and Lindsey Feingold said.

The French Laundry, a high-end restaurant nestled in Napa Valley County, received two Paycheck Protection Program loans from the Small Business Administration in April, the publication reported.

According to ABC7, the first loan was for more than $2.2 million to keep 163 staff members employed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while the second was $194,656 to retain five staffers.

In ABC7's analysis in the same report, the French Laundry's PPP loans were 17 times as high as the average Bay Area restaurant got, and it was one of at least seven restaurants in the area with either two or three Michelin stars to have received PPP loans.

The French Laundry didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Chef Thomas Keller opened The French Laundry in 1994 after raising money from more than 60 investors, according to the restaurant's website

The French Laundry sign in Napa Valley County, California

Today, the French Laundry has earned three Michelin stars.

Guests can purchase an outdoor-dining experience for $450 per person, ABC7 reports, as well as a White Truffle and Caviar meal for $1,200 per person.

The French Laundry made headlines earlier this year after Gov. Newsom dined there with a group of 12 friends for a 50th birthday party on November 6, Associated Press reported.

The Associated Press also reported that San Francisco Mayor London Breed was seen eating out with seven friends on November 7 at the French Laundry.

Both lawmakers have apologized for not modeling "better behavior" during the pandemic, the Associated Press said.

Much of the restaurant industry has been struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused businesses to temporarily close and adhere to new health regulations

Much of California state is under a second stay-at-home order that began December 6 and is set to end on December 28 at the earlier, the Los Angeles Times said.

According to a notice on the restaurant's website, the French Laundry closed December 18 and will remain closed for at least three weeks "in accordance with the State of California's Regional Stay Home Order."

The restrictions are regional and affect areas with less than 15% ICU availability, California's COVID-19 dashboard reported.

Read the full report at ABC 7 »

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