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As Demand For Disaster Loans Soars, so Does Frustration

Small businesses, including thousands of restaurant companies, lined up with their banks in recent days as they sought their piece of $350 billion in federal loans designed to help them rehire staff and get through the coronavirus shutdown.

But the system also left hundreds of restaurant owners confused about the program and struggling to even apply for the loans. And some worry the assistance won’t be enough to survive the next couple of weeks, let alone through a shutdown expected to last at least through June.

Social Distancing 311 Complaints

In light of the recent increase in 311 complaints against businesses for social distancing, we want to highlight the guidance issues specifically to restaurants and food service businesses by the NYC Department of Health: Discourage groups of people from congregating inside and at entrances. Manage lines inside and outside by keeping customers 6 feet apart. If space is limited, allow only one customer inside at a time. Limit access to retail spaces when occupancy reaches 25% maximum capacity to minimize crowding and lines.

Tell Congress: Support Bipartisan Efforts to Improve Relief Efforts and To Provide Additional Funding

Restaurants and employees across the country are dealing with the heart-wrenching reality of skeleton operations because of state-mandated shutdowns. From corner diners to steakhouses to locally-operated chains, all are facing the tough decision of how they will weather the COVID-19 crisis, resume operations, and get employees back to work.

Restaurants Tell Congress: Programs Not Providing Desperately Needed Relief

The National Restaurant Association told Congressional leaders that COVID-19 relief funds were envisioned as a vital tool to help restaurants bridge the crisis, but there are increasing warning signs that more relief will be needed to help restaurants and employees.

The Association pointed out that the COVID-19 crisis has already cost three million restaurant employees their jobs and cut $25 billion in revenue from the industry since March 1, and that 15 percent of restaurants have or will within two weeks, permanently close with total job losses projected at seven million before the crisis abates.

Will New York rebound from the coronavirus pandemic?

“I think people were afraid after 9-11, but they weren’t afraid to go out and eat,” said Melissa Fleischut, president and chief executive of the New York State Restaurant Assn. “As long as the pandemic continues to go on, I think the prospects for the majority of restaurants to come out on the other side is slimming. I think it is an altering event — a moment of change for the industry for sure.”