Federal and State Developments Provide New Tools for Hospitality: Sustaining Operations and Avoiding Closures will Still Prove Challenging
Wilsonville, OR– Today, Congress unveiled a $900 billion relief bill to provide short-term economic relief to the country in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The plan includes several items that will benefit restaurants and lodging establishments, most importantly a second round of access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), with unique provisions aimed to assist the restaurant and lodging industries, which continue to endure unparalleled job and revenue losses.
In addition, the Oregon State Legislature is holding a third special session of 2020 and is poised to pass To-Go Cocktails legislation as well as statewide caps on third party technology and delivery expenses charged to restaurants.
“Hospitality operators in Oregon have been pleading for both long-term and short-term economic support,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “Today’s developments will assist restaurant and lodging establishments with their quest to survive. However, it does not change the unsustainable trajectory facing thousands of Oregon small businesses who have ongoing bills for their dining rooms with little to no revenue to cover those expenses.”
Today’s developments in the Oregon Legislature are expected to assist operators in realizing additional revenue for cocktail programs accompanying food purchases for takeout and delivery while also assisting operators with cost control on expenses.
“The progress made today at both the state and federal levels feels like getting a new pair of running shoes,” said Brandt. “There is still a race for survival in conjunction with vaccine distribution and the majority of operators will remain unprofitable. Our reality remains the same – we are attempting to stretch out our cash until we actually get to the light at the end of the tunnel we’ve all been talking about.”
The federal plan announced today targets restaurant relief with provisions including:
- Enhanced PPP Loan Size: The PPP provides a business with a forgivable loan based on 2.5 times its monthly payroll costs. Restaurants and hotels, however, can seek forgivable loans based on 3.5 times monthly payroll costs.
- Enhanced Access to PPP: Companies that employ a total of 300 or more employees at all locations (combined) are deemed ineligible for the PPP. Today’s bipartisan plan reflects the reality that many mid-sized and larger restaurant groups are on the verge of bankruptcy and allows restaurants to qualify for PPP as long as they do not employ more than 300 employees at each physical location.
- Extending CARES Act banking relief through the end of 2021, which will enable hoteliers to seek additional forbearance from their banks on conventional loans
Other provisions in the bill that will benefit hospitality operations include the deductibility of business expenses paid with PPP loans, enhancement of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), extension of the augmented Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), and increased tax deduction for business meals.
###The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which is comprised of over 10,220 foodservice locations and 2,000 lodging establishments with a workforce of 183,191, and a total economic impact of $13.8 billion in annual sales for Oregon.