People who receive aid under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will be able to use the benefit at participating restaurants under legislation approved Monday by Gov. Kathy Hochul. 

The bill creates a statewide Restaurants Meals Program, and was paired with the launch of a $25 million program design to aid restaurants struggling due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The fund is meant to build on the Nourish New York program, and provide funding to the state's food banks and emergency food providers to purchase prepared meals for restaurants and deliver them to people in need. 

"It's unconscionable that in a state as prosperous as New York, many residents still struggle to get enough food to feed their families,"  Hochul said. "The vital actions we're taking — establishing two restaurant programs to help the most vulnerable New Yorkers feed themselves and help restaurants recover from this terrible pandemic — will work in tandem to put food on the table in homes across the state. This pandemic continues to impact the wallets and homes of a vast number of New Yorkers, and we're taking any and all actions to help them support themselves and their loved ones."

Expanding SNAP to include participating restaurants must be approved first by the U.S. Department of Agriculture before the new law can take full effect.