Restaurant and Bar COVID FAQs

Restaraunt and Bar COVID FAQs

What if I received a PPP loan, but I’m not able to reopen my business due to government-mandated public health measures?

  • Businesses that received PPP must rehire employees and return to pre-pandemic staffing levels in order to fully qualify for loan forgiveness. This has been particularly frustrating for restaurants, which have been prevented from operating at full capacity and also unable to telework. The PPP Flexibility Act, which has been signed into law, includes a safe harbor provision for businesses that are unable to return to the same level of business activity before February 15, 2020 due to compliance with government-related public health mandates related to standards for sanitization, social distancing, or any other worker or customer safety requirement related to COVID-19. Businesses affected in this way will not be penalized in terms of loan forgiveness.

 

Is there any financial assistance for businesses to help cover the cost of PPE for employees?

  • EIDL loan proceeds may be used by businesses to purchase PPE for employees. However, you cannot use a PPP loan for PPE. The updated HEROES Act would address this by adding PPE as an eligible expense within the Paycheck Protection Program and provides other financial support for the purchase of PPE and sanitation supplies.

 

Additionally, some city and local governments have set up funds to help businesses cover this cost. For example, the City of Burlingame has set up a fund that helps pay for PPE and barriers to help restaurants move outside, among other things. If you haven’t already, reach out to your respective city officials to see what assistance may be available to you. You can also review available county resources at samceda.org.

 

Is there any relief for commercial rents?

  • Unfortunately, the federal moratorium on evictions only applies to residential rents.

 

I applied for PPP early when it had a mandatory 8-week covered period, can I switch to a 24-week extension?

  • The PPP Flexibility Act signed into law extended the covered period of a PPP loan from 8 weeks to 24 weeks. If you already received a PPP loan before this change, you can still opt for a 24 week covered period, beginning on the date of disbursement. This could help businesses rack up more costs that would qualify for loan forgiveness.

 

Which types of loans are forgivable?

  • Loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) are forgivable if you meet certain requirements. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides two types of financial assistance: an EIDL loan, and an emergency EIDL grant of up to $10,000. The EIDL grant does not need to be paid back. The loan has an interest rate of 3.75% and a loan maturity of 30 years. A comparison of PPP and EIDL can be found here.

 

Is there any way to ease interest rates on EIDL loans?

  • SBA waived certain provisions within the EIDL program, such as the credit elsewhere test, to make it easier for businesses to qualify during the pandemic. However, this falls short of providing the help struggling businesses need now. I support lowering the interest rate and undertaking other reforms that would make the program more tenable for businesses at this time. The updated HEROES Act also calls on the Treasury Secretary to reduce the interest rate and allow deferments of up to 4 years on payments.

 

When do I have to pay back my PPP loan?

  • For PPP, you must apply for loan forgiveness within 10 months of the end of your covered period. The lender then has 60 days to process the loan forgiveness, and SBA has an additional 90 days to approve and grant forgiveness. The borrower does not have to make a payment until the forgiven amount is remitted to the lender by the SBA. In total, this could provide a 13 month deferral for the borrower. However, interest will accrue during this time. If you do not apply for forgiveness, the first payment will be due after 10 months.

 

When do I have to pay back my EIDL loan?

  • EIDL loans are deferred for one year. Interest does accrue during the deferment. 

 

What resources and options are available to bar owners?

  • On August 28, 2020, the State released its Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a statewide system of COVID-19 restrictions. As of September 29, San Mateo County is in Tier Two (Red) of the Blueprint, which means that bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs must close all operations (both indoor and outdoor) unless they are offering sit-down, outdoor dine-in meals and selling alcohol only in the same transaction as a meal. One option to meet this requirement would be for bars to partner with restaurants or food trucks. Besides contacting neighboring restaurants directly, your local chamber of commerce may also help connect your business with potential partners.

 

 

The following summary includes changes in the updated HEROES Act that the U.S. House of Representatives is likely to pass this week. Please note these changes have not been signed into law. The Speaker is continuing negotiations with the Administration on a coronavirus relief package.

 

Small Business

 

  • Includes RESTAURANTS Act - Establishes $120 billion grant program
    • Grant amount is for the difference between 2019 and 2020 revenues.
    • Must be used for payroll and other eligible expenses.
    • Funds need to be used by June 30, 2021. Unused funds will be converted to a loan with 1% interest rate and maturity of 10 years.
    • Can also request additional funds to provide 10 paid sick days for their employees, which must be used only for that purpose.
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
    • 3 distinct set asides
      • “Small Business set aside” - At least 10% of remaining and future funds will go to businesses with 10 or fewer employees, sole proprietors, and the self-employed.
      • Up to 30% of remaining and future funding for non-profits of all sizes and types.
      • Up to 50% of remaining and future funding for a second round of PPP (P4 loans*) to small businesses with less than 200 employees and a 25% reduction in revenue.
    • Eligibility changes: 
      • Housing cooperatives are eligible.
      • Nonprofits of all sizes and types now qualify.
      • Destination marketing organizations (DMOs), local news broadcast entities, and quasi-public venues now eligible.
      • Publicly traded entities do not qualify.
      • Businesses that are 51% or more foreign owned, controlled, and managed are not eligible.
    • Expands allowable uses to include PPE, supplier costs, and costs related to property damage from protests.
    • If businesses returned part or all of a PPP loan, they can reapply for that amount. Likewise, if the recipient did not accept the full amount of PPP they were eligible for, they can request a modification to receive the maximum amount they qualify for.
  • *P4 loans (second PPP loans)
    • Loans of up to $2 million.
    • For businesses with less than 200 employees.
    • Publicly traded companies do not qualify.
    • Limits on businesses with more than 1 physical location; cannot receive more than $10 million in total PPP loans across all locations.
  • Streamlined forgiveness for loans under $150,000. 
  • EIDL advance amount will no longer be removed from PPP forgiveness calculation.

 

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
    • Encourages SBA Administrator to reduce the interest rate on EIDL loans and offer deferments up to 4 years on payments.
    • Requires SBA to provide more information when denied for an EIDL loan and improves the reconsideration process to include more communication by SBA.
    • Creates an opt-out, rather than an opt-in for EIDL grants so that business doesn’t have to submit 2 applications.
    • Can no longer impose loan caps, so loans must go as high as $2 million if applicable. Existing borrowers who are affected from previous loan cap can apply for a modification.
  • Prevents the President, Vice President, Heads of Executive Branch agencies, and Members of Congress from receiving small business assistance under the CARES Act.

 

  • Creates SBA Lifeline Grant Program
    • For small businesses with 50 or fewer employees; suffered economic loss of at least 30%.
    • Businesses applying for EIDL can request this grant from SBA.
    • Firms can receive the lesser of:
      • Working capital needed for 180 days under current EIDL calculations OR
      • $50,000
    • Can be used in same way as EIDL, to repay PPP or EIDL, or for adapting to COVID.
    • Authorizes $40 billion; $20 billion set aside for businesses in low-income communities, veteran-owned, or minority-owned.
  • Creates Small Business Local Relief Program
    • State and local grant program in the DOT and administered through SBA.
    • $15 billion to provide grants to small businesses through community-based partners.
    • Targeted to businesses with 20 or fewer employees, or 50 or fewer if they’re located in low-income neighborhoods. 
  • Includes the Save our Stages Act – grants for independent live venues
    • $10 billion for SBA to provide grants to live venue operators, producers, promoters, or talent representatives.
    • Initial grant can be up to $12 million; supplemental grant can be equal to 50% of the initial.
    • Can be used for payroll, rent, utilities, and PPE.
  • Employee Rehiring and Retention Credit
    • Increases wages reimbursed (per employee) from 50% to 80%.
    • Increases wages per employee from $10,000 to $15,000; limited to $45,000 total for calendar year.
    • Changes 100 employee delineation to large employer definition of 1,500 FTEs and gross receipts in 2019 over $41.5 million
    • State and local governments can claim the credit in the event that their operations are fully or partially shut down.
    • Group health plans can be considered qualified wages.
  • Loan forgiveness by SBA, EIDL grants, and Restaurants grants are NOT included in gross income.
  • Nonprofits and public universities are eligible for the Main Street Lending Program. Also mandates MSLP to have at least one low-interest loan option.

 

Credit Reporting

  • Suspends negative consumer credit reporting during the pandemic plus 120 days.
  • Permanently bans the reporting of medical debt arising out of COVID-19 treatments.
  • Temporary moratorium on consumer debt collection.
  • Ensures reasonable forbearance and repayment options following end of moratorium.