Restaurant Association: 55 Percent Of Restaurants Can’t Access Second PPP Loan Under Senate Plan

Restaurant Association: 55 Percent Of Restaurants Can’t Access Second PPP Loan Under Senate Plan

second PPP
Fifty-five percent of restaurants can’t access the second PPP loan under the proposed Senate plan. One in 4 U.S. jobs lost during covid-19 have been in restaurants and bars. Photo by Devon Janse van Rensburg on Unsplash

One in four U.S. jobs lost during the pandemic have been in restaurants and bars, and the total jobless rate is now 10.2 percent as Congress tries to hammer out a second stimulus package.

Facing stay-at-home orders, dining room closures and delivery commissions of up to 30 percent, thousands of restaurants still managed to stay in business through the spring covid-19 shutdown because of government stimulus in the form of Payroll Protection Program loans.

Even so, one in three U.S. restaurants could close permanently this year due to the pandemic and changing consumer behavior, according to data from restaurant consultancy Aaron Allen & Associates.

Small businesses could get a second Payroll Protection Program loan in next stimulus package, but more than half of the restaurants won’t qualify based on the proposed parameters of the legislation, according to National Restaurant Association.

A new bill introduced in late July for a second PPP loan is part of a broader relief package backed by Senate Republicans known as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools Act (HEALS Act). It proposes offering a second forgivable loan to businesses that can show at least a 50 percent reduction in gross revenues during the pandemic.

Fifty-five percent of restaurants won’t be eligible, and the National Restaurant Association is pushing for a 20-percent gross revenue threshold, which would make 430,000 restaurants eligible, Restaurant Dive reported. 

The restaurant association also wants Congress to change the tax liabilities that come with PPP. If a business pays an expense with a PPP loan that is subsequently forgiven, business expenses that are normally deductible are no longer deductible.

Often referred to as “the other NRA,” the restaurant association says it represents more than 380,000 restaurant locations.

“This undermines the survival intent of the PPP program by imposing an unexpected tax liability of 25-to-35-percent on forgiven loans,” NRA Executive Vice President for Public Affairs Sean Kennedy said in a press release. “Restaurants that obtained a PPP loan to support employees and pay bills should not be facing unexpected, unintended tax burdens that further depletes their cash on hand. These PPP expenses should not face a massive ‘clawback’ in the form of federal taxes.”

There were 660,755 restaurants in the U.S. as of 2018, according to Statista. Those restaurants support 13.49 million jobs as of May 2019.

The Independent Restaurant Coalition is a trade group formed during the covid-19 pandemic by independent restaurateurs and chefs. They’ve lobbied local, state and federal governments for relief after their businesses were closed by government mandates to slow the spread. 

Both the NRA and the Independent Restaurant Coalition want Congress to support and pass the Restaurants Act — H.R. 7197 — to help save restaurants facing extinction, ABC News reported.

The Restaurants Act would give U.S. restaurants $120 billion in funding and is specifically designed to help the industry. “If it isn’t passed, the HEALS Act’s revenue loss threshold could be a benchmark that further destabilizes restaurants that have low gross revenue loss but are still on the bankruptcy bubble, adding to the country’s staggering number of permanent restaurant closures,” Restaurant Dive reported. 

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman narrated a new TV ad released by the IRC on Monday to help shine a spotlight on what’s at stake for bars and restaurants.

“The COVID-19 crisis threatens to permanently close 85 percent of independent restaurants — 16 million people risk losing their jobs — disproportionately impacting people of color and single mothers,” Freeman said in the ad.

Restaurants employ more Black people and people of color than any other industry.

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Forty percent of industry employees — almost one in two — are African American (14 percent) and Latino (26 percent), according to Great American Takeout, a recent study by a coalition of chain restaurants.

It’s not just employees — 40 percent of restaurant owners are Black, Latino or Asian compared to 29 percent of other businesses across the economy, the study noted.

Thanks to tips, restaurant workers do better than most people would expect, Forbes reported. Median hourly earnings with tips range from $19 to $25 an hour, even though the federal tipped wage is just $2.13 an hour.

The coalition urged consumers to buy from Black-owned restaurants during the pandemic. Here are seven ways to find Black-owned restaurants to support, from Today.