Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado stood at Hudson’s Public Square/7th Street Park to call for legislation to support small- and mid-sized businesses that are struggling to recover after months of limited operations due to the coronavirus crisis. The bipartisan Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery in Twenty-Twenty (RESTART) Act would create a new loan program to fund six months of employer and operating expenses for businesses that have lost substantial revenue and need support that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been unable to adequately provide.
“The recent uptick in coronavirus cases across New York is a reminder that this pandemic will be with us well into next year. The need for extended relief for arts venues, restaurants, and tourist attractions in Hudson and the state is greater than ever. PPP simply did not go far enough to offset unprecedented revenue losses in these industries,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The next relief package must prioritize the needs of these small businesses so they can survive this economic crisis and continue providing jobs and revenue for local communities. The RESTART Act would help fill the gaps and ensure they receive the support they deserve.”
“As the weather turns colder and limits outdoor options for restaurants and small businesses – it has never been more important that Congress put the partisanship and dysfunction aside to provide relief for upstate communities,” said Rep. Delgado, member of the House Committee on Small Business. “During my visits with small businesses and local leaders all across the district, I continue to hear from folks about the urgent need for additional federal assistance to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The bipartisan RESTART Act will offer entrepreneurs this support and provide flexibility to use the funds in a way that works best for their business. RESTART loans can cover rent and utility payments, personal protective equipment, payroll—meaning folks could re-hire and support part time staff—mortgage interest, and more. I’ll keep pushing at the federal level to get this bill included in future relief legislation and urging Congressional leaders to come to an agreement as soon as possible.”
“I am proud to stand with Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Delgado in supporting the bipartisan RESTART Act that builds upon relief found by businesses in Hudson and the greater Hudson Valley in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). By extending the loan period, expanding eligibility to include our valuable performance arts venues, and continuing to allow the funds to be used for employee retention and overhead expenses, the RESTART Act will be an invaluable resource vital to the continued recovery of all our small businesses.” –Assemblymember Didi Barrett
“Small and micro businesses, sole proprietors make up the identity of our communities, and are the drivers of our local economies. Restaurants and hospitality businesses circulate up to 90% of their income back into the local economies, helping them survive this crisis has an impact much larger than the individual businesses themselves. We need aid to cover rent, and operating expenses in order to hold on, while we all make sacrifices to keep our communities safe and healthy. Passing the RESTART Act is essential. It enjoys bipartisan support, because public health, and surviving this crisis with our economy intact is not a partisan issue. It’s an issue for all of us. We must make sure the weakest and most vulnerable of us, front line and essential workers, small businesses, disadvantaged communities, all come through this together.” –Monica Byrne, owner of Home/Made Hudson and Board Member for Hudson Business Coalition
As coronavirus cases rise, hospitality and tourism face growing uncertainty over how to maintain already restricted operations. More than 400,000 hospitality and leisure workers in New York State have already lost their jobs in the past year. While PPP was intended to help small- and mid-sized businesses weather the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 shutdowns, many have slipped through the cracks or are in need of additional support to maintain operations and pay their rent, utilities, and employees. Particularly, PPP has been largely unable to address the needs of theaters and live event venues, restaurants and hospitality which have experienced unprecedented revenue losses since March. The program failed to account for the current realities of these hard hit industries, requiring businesses to maintain their pre-pandemic employee headcount for up to 24 weeks.
Specifically, the RESTART Act would:
- Provide access to loans to cover 6 months of payroll, benefits, and fixed operating expenses for small and mid-sized businesses and nonprofits that have suffered significant revenue losses and would provide an extended 12-month covered loan period for businesses that have seen revenues decline by at least 80 percent;
- Forgive a share of loans based on revenue declines suffered by the recipient in 2020 (or during the six-month covered loan period) compared to a year earlier, with the remainder to be paid back over 7 years, with generous loan terms. Businesses with fewer than 5,000 employees would receive even more favorable terms on loan forgiveness;
- Offer more favorable loan terms to nonprofits, including a longer duration and a lower interest rate;
- Defer interest payments for the first year of the loan, and defers principal payments for the first 2 years, with additional deferral available to economically distressed firms;
- Build an origination fee structure designed to provide an incentive for banks and other financial institutions to assist the smallest businesses;
- Allow businesses to choose when to rehire their workers and when to deploy the capital;
- Provide a 100% loan guarantee from the federal government.
A one-pager on the RESTART Act can be found here.