Ohio Restaurant Group Hails Aid in New Relief Bill

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The $900 billion federal relief bill approved by Congress to provide short-term economic relief in the face of the pandemic includes a significant amount of funding for restaurant workers and owners.

Most of the relief comes through the new round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. Restaurants will be able to seek forgivable loans of up to 3.5 times their monthly payroll – most businesses are capped at 2.5 times – and a higher cap on the number of employees a business can have in order to apply for the PPP loans. Restaurants are exempt from the 300-worker limit, provided that a single location doesn’t exceed that cap. 

“This is a big win for our country, Ohioans and small businesses,” said John Barker, president and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association, in a statement. “The bill will help restaurants with much needed capital that will provide more time for us to work with Congress to create the additional programs to save our beloved restaurants in cities and towns all over Ohio.”

Already during the pandemic, more than 100,000 restaurants have closed nationwide, Barker continued.

“A second round of PPP, combined with unique enhancements for the restaurant sector, will provide critical access to capital,” he said.

While the bill will help keep restaurants afloat through January, Barker said more help will be needed.

“The reality is that long-term economic challenges facing independent, franchise and chain restaurants will not end with the new year, and we will continue to press federal and state leaders for additional support that will put us on a road to long-term recovery.” 

Without more meaningful help and industry-specific aid, the Independent Restaurant Coalition says, more restaurants will continue to close after their PPP funds run out. The trade group, formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, pointed to specific aid for the airline and entertainment industries in the relief bill.

“The stimulus package passed last night falls short. It’s a short bridge to a new plan,” the group said in a tweet Monday night after the bill was passed. “Congress must return in January ready to serve the 11M people who work in independent restaurants who could lose their jobs without passage of the Restaurants Act.”

Image via Life Of Pix from Pexels

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.