Congress unveiled a COVID relief plan yesterday that includes a $300 billion renewal of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which will not do enough for millions of people who work in restaurants across the country. This proposal as written ensures hundreds of thousands more restaurant workers will lose their jobs this winter. It’s a nonstarter for America’s independent restaurants and bars. We must speak out.
Now is the time to tell our stories and demand Congress take action. We can’t wait any longer. ACT NOW: Call your members of Congress via the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Tell them that PPP in its current form is not enough and that they must pass relief for restaurants before the holiday recess. We’ve outlined specific changes we’re proposing Congress make to the program to ensure it’s more viable for independent restaurants – please refer to these in your outreach to lawmakers.
The PPP in its current form is not a solution for our industry. Ten weeks of payroll does not make up for ten months of lost revenue. We know this because 2.1 million people are already out of work, and tens of thousands of restaurants are likely to close in the weeks ahead. We’re urging Congress to make the following changes to the PPP to ensure that 11 million people who work at independent restaurants have a job to return to when this crisis is over:
Expand the maximum loan amount to nine months of payroll for restaurants, rather than ten weeks. In order to keep as many people on payroll as possible, restaurants that have faced months of revenue losses during the pandemic must have access to extended support.
Provide restaurants with the ability to use funding for outdoor space, PPE, rent and other outstanding bills they may have to pay to stay in business and keep their teams on payroll.
Ensure restaurants that are required to close can use the loan when they reopen to remploy their team by extending the time a PPP loan can be used from 24 weeks to 48 weeks.
Protect jobs by eliminating the decision facing many restaurants of paying their teams or going out of business. Guarantee forgiveness for restaurants that suffered large revenue losses. After ten months of losses, any form of debt is a death sentence — restaurants should not have to risk crippling debt to protect their workers’ livelihoods.
This proposal is meant to serve as a starting point for ongoing negotiations on Capitol Hill. As lawmakers continue their conversations about the next round of relief this week, we must ensure they understand that the PPP will only work for us if these changes are made. If they’re not, hundreds of thousands of restaurant workers will lose their jobs as small businesses close their doors for good.
We know this has not been an easy fight. Thank you for your continued support.