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Federal Relief Deal Reached

March 26, 2020
Late last night, the Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion Coronavirus rescue package. The legislation is meant to blunt the economic impact of the Coronavirus on the local and national economy. The House will likely vote Friday morning.  The package includes : 
  • $349 billion program for the SBA to offer unique loans to small businesses
  • Tax benefits in the form of net operating loss
  • Qualified Improvement Property
  • Creates a Paycheck Protection Program
  • Employee Retention Tax Credit
  • Community Development Block Grants
  • Delay of payment of employer payroll taxes
  • Emergency relief and taxpayer protections
  • Additional tax relief
Click here for the Executive Summary of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). 
Please read below for a message directly from the National Restaurant Association that includes informative next steps that will help everyone effectively utilize the benefits outlined in the legislation. We will keep you posted in the days to come as more information is available. Please read the email in its entirety. If you have any questions, please email to ensure they are answered in a timely manner. 
Kathy Hollinger | President and CEO
Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington
1625 K Street NW, Suite 210 | Washington, DC 20006
Dear Association and Foundation Board Members:
Late last night, congressional leaders finally released the final text of their $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package. The agreement includes a dramatic expansion of unemployment insurance, a rescue fund for state and local governments, immediate cash for hospitals, and a huge pool of grants and loans for small businesses.
Passage in both chambers is all but assured – the only question is one of timing. The Senate passed the legislation last night. Timing of a House bill remains murky, however a vote on Friday morning is likely. President Trump is likely to sign the bill very soon thereafter.
Our formal assessment of the bill is attached. Overall the bill is very strong, with many provisions that specifically reflect our Association’s asks from last week. Here are the highlights of the deal:
SBA Loans
The measure creates a $349 billion program for the SBA to offer unique loans to small businesses (500 or fewer employees). The loan amount is based on 250% of the borrower’s average monthly payroll cost for the preceding year (provisions for seasonal employers are included), up to $10 million. Collateral requirements are waived, and the “credit elsewhere” requirements (which have slowed down the process) have been waived as well. The loan is forgiven if used for payroll costs, mortgage interest, or rent/utilities. 
  • An exception was made to the small business requirement for restaurants and hotels. The 500-employee number is based on the number of employees at each physical location. So a restaurant with 600 employees over five restaurant properties would qualify for these loans. This ensures that a number of larger independent restaurants and franchise owners can participate.
Tax Benefits
The agreement offers restaurant owners relief in the form of Net Operating Loss (NOL) carrybacks, delay of payment of employer payroll taxes, and an Employee Retention Tax Credit.
Qualified Improvement Property
At long last, restaurants can immediately write off costs associated with improving facilities. The QIP fix is complete.
Next Steps
  • Webinars from the Association for our membership outlining how to approach these benefits. We will offer briefings from our policy team, updates from our outside counsel, and specific sessions with representatives of key agencies like the SBA.
  • A new web portal for online access to briefings, updates, and links to key agencies.
  • This legislation will require regulatory action from the Administration. We are working to minimize disruption for our members and get recovery assistance out as quickly as possible.
  • Congress is likely to draft subsequent recovery bills. We are working on what industry-specific provisions should be included. 
Thanks to You
In an era of chronic dysfunction in Washington, Congress broke modern speed records in developing comprehensive legislation to address a national pandemic that has devastated many businesses – particularly ours. Amidst the disruption of shuttered congressional offices and a cacophony of industries asking for assistance, the restaurant industry spoke with a clear, unified voice. Our membership, board members, and SRA partners achieved unprecedented levels of grassroots engagement at every level of government. Daily calls with the Advocacy Strategy Committee and our Board leadership provided ongoing counsel and perspective to rapidly-changing legislative proposals. Many of our members have their own contacts with Capitol Hill and amplified our advocacy efforts. We consistently advanced a media narrative that explained why restaurants were the most critically affected by this crisis and why we deserve relief from Washington.
Our needs may be bigger than this piece of legislation, but we are ready to take a quick rest and continue working on behalf of the most fundamental industry that touches every community. Many thanks.