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COVID-19 and the Hospitality Industry: The Seattle Restaurants United Petition

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It is clear that the hospitality industry has been especially hard hit in recent weeks due to the emergence of the novel Coronavirus. Restaurants in major cities across the country have been forced to close and / or scale back operations substantially. However, many restaurants are meeting the challenge head on, developing innovative ways to keep their businesses viable during this uncertain time. Examples of this include changing their business model to be take-out focused or offering frozen meal packages for families.

In Seattle, a coalition of local restaurants and bars is petitioning for financial relief including:

  • Rent abatement for businesses and workers
  • Increasing unemployment insurance from 66% to 80%
  • Waived interest AND principal payments on all Small Business Administration (SBA) loans for 90 days
  • Creation of an emergency fund to provide natural gas, electricity, and water utility relief to ensure working capital can be put towards payroll
  • A mandate that insurance policies cover lost sales due to business interruption
  • Increased cap on SBA 7(a) funds from $5M to $10M
  • SBA guarantee of 100% of SBA loans
  • An additional 90-day deferral for excise tax; while the deferral for February is appreciated, no restaurant will have the cash flow in April to pay February and March at once

For more information on this petition, visit the Seattle Restaurants United petition online or the Washington Hospitality Association. Berntson Porter will be monitoring the status of the petition closely as part of our COVID-19 coverage.