Texas restaurants may see some relief under Congress’ $900 million stimulus package

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Congress’ recently approved $900 million stimulus package includes more relief for restaurant operators via another round of federal Paycheck Protection Program loans, the San Antonio Business Journal reports.

This time, PPP applicants in the restaurant industry can draw at 3.5 times their average monthly payroll, compared to other industry sectors, which will be capped at 2.5 times their average monthly payroll.

Those who are granted the forgivable loans will also see more practical expenditure guidelines. This time around, purchases of personal protective equipment, cleaning products and costs associated with reconfiguring spaces to accommodate social distancing will be allowed — which wasn't the case in the first round of PPP loans.

“This is a very good piece of legislation that we got at the 11th hour. We’ve been lobbying for this since May,” Texas Restaurant Association President and CEO Emily Williams Knight told the Journal. “This is a great start.”

Lobbyists for the bar and restaurant industry have indeed been insistent that more federal relief would be needed to repair the sector, which has been pummeled since the initial industry shutdowns earlier this year.

National Restaurant Association data shows that more than 10,000 Texas restaurants have already closed permanently, and more than 62% of Texas restauranteurs expect their revenue will decline over the next three months.

“This is going to be a long, gradual recovery,” TRA Vice President Kelsey Erickson Streufert told the Biz Journal. “This is a down payment, a big step in the right direction. But we need more.”

“There is no single, silver bullet to save the restaurant industry,” Knight added.

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