Restaurant, small business groups criticize new PPP legislation

The restaurant industry and small business organizations in the United States are voicing their displeasure with a proposed second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) legislation.

"The Paycheck Protection Program didn't work for restaurants in March and it won't work now,” the Independent Restaurant Coalition said in a press release. “Since the program began, one in six restaurants has closed, 2.3 million people are no longer on the payroll, and USD 220 billion [EUR 185 billion] in revenue was lost in just the second quarter.”

The accommodation and food services sector received just 8.1 percent of total PPP dollars awarded in the first round of the program, IRC said, even though it accounts for nearly a quarter of all jobs lost during the pandemic – more than any other industry.

However, the National Fisheries Institute, the primary trade body for the U.S. seafood sector, said that a second round of PPP loans will help seafood businesses survive. The program has been a “critical lifeline for many small and family-owned seafood businesses,” NFI Vice President of Communications Gavin Gibbons told SeafoodSource.

“Continuing this program, and targeting it to help seafood distributors recover some of the USD 2.2 billion [EUR 1.9 billion] in bad debt caused by the pandemic, will help speed the recovery of the seafood community and the restaurants on which seafood businesses rely,” Gibbons said.

Still, small businesses will not receive enough aid from the PPP bill, Small Business Majority Founder and CEO John Arensmeyer said in a press release.

“While the Republican plan includes some measures that are needed to help Main Street – such as extending PPP, simplifying forgiveness for loans under USD 150,000 [EUR 126,000], and allowing some businesses to take a second PPP loan – it is not nearly enough to see small businesses through this crisis, nor does it have the support needed to make it to the president's desk for his signature,” Arensmeyer said.

Thirty-five percent of all small businesses and 41 percent of Black- and Latino-owned businesses expect they will not survive past the next three months without additional financial relief, Small Business Majority said. And 80 percent small business owners say they are struggling to make commercial rent or mortgage payments.

“Small business owners across the country have been doing everything they can to keep their doors open over the past several months of congressional inaction, using every resource in their toolbox to stay afloat with the hopes that additional relief would arrive soon,” Arensmeyer said. “For some business-owners, the lack of assistance was the final nail in the coffin for their business.” 

The IRC is pushing for the passage of a USD 120 billion (EUR 101 billion) Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which was included in the HEROES Act, which passed in the U.S. House on 1 October. The legislation would create a fund for small establishments that have been impacted by the pandemic.

Photo courtesy of dotshock/Shutterstock


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