The National Restaurant Association sent a letter to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman seeking relief options for small business restaurant operators with COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The letter suggests three ways the SBA can provide real relief for restaurants still struggling with economic hardship.
“As we know all too well, 90,000 restaurants closed due to COVID-19. Many of the restaurants still open today — particularly the 177,000 that were unable to receive a Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant — face an uncertain future,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president for Public Affairs at the National Restaurant Association. “An inflexible EIDL repayment process will likely trigger a second wave of closures. Restaurants, their employees, their customers and the communities served will be forever changed if these small businesses begin to fail.”
The letter asks the SBA to take these steps to help these restaurant operators:
- Eliminate the EIDL accrued interest debt incurred during the 30-month deferral period
- Lower interest rates from 3.75% to 1% for the duration of the loan to align the COVID-19 EIDL rate with the loan rate established by the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- Create “good borrower” relief for hard-hit industries including restaurants, encouraging borrowers to establish a repayment plan and make required payments for 10 years with an SBA commitment to eliminate the remaining 20 years of EIDL obligation
According to a recent Association survey(Opens in a new window), fewer than 1 in 4 operators with an EIDL loan that is about to come due will be able to pay the scheduled principal and interest payments. COVID-19 EIDL loans included an automatic 30-month deferment period. With a 3.75% interest rate, that means that a $100,000 loan has accrued almost $10,000 in deferred interest, and payments are about to come due. For restaurants dealing with decades-high inflation, following nearly two years of forced operating restrictions, these small businesses are uniquely vulnerable to economic headwinds.
Read the full letter here(Opens in a new window).
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