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COVID-19 UPDATE: Past Letters to Public Officials May 15,2020

A running list of the letters we've sent to officials at all levels of government.

Federal

June 16, 2020: Shortened Process for PPP Loan Forgiveness
Read the letter to SBA/Treasury encouraging them to create a shortened process for loan forgiveness for smaller PPP loans here. This follows a letter that 45 Senators sent to the Treasury and SBA requesting that they create a one page PPP forgiveness certification for loans less than $250,000. 

June 1, 2020: Support for PPP Changes
We sent a letter to Senator Gardner and Senator Bennet asking them to support changes to the PPP passed by the House, and to consider making additional tweaks to help restaurants, including expanding forgivable uses of the funds, and expanding the loan repayment period for people who have already received funds. You can read the full letter here

May 3, 2020: 
Requests for More Relief During Reopening and Recovery
You can view the letter we sent to our Senators and every member of our Congressional delegation here. Highlights:

  • Fixes to the Paycheck Protection Program to make it more workable for restaurants
  • Assistance with Business Interruption Insurance
  • A dedicated Restaurant Recovery Program, with cash relief reserved for the restaurant industry
  • And more

April 20, 2020: Requests for Federal Relief for Industry in the Wake of Grim Outlook
The National Restaurant Association today wrote to House Speaker Pelosi and leaders McConnell, McCarthy and Schumer to update them on the devastating impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on the restaurant industry.

More than 60% of restaurant owners say that existing federal relief programs — including the current CARES Act — will not enable them to keep their employees on payroll throughout the downturn. The Association instead has submitted a Restaurant Industry "Blueprint for Recovery" that outlines how Congress can improve the outlook for our survival.

Read the letter to Congress here.

April 9, 2020: Feedback on Paycheck Protection Program

Read the National Restaurant Association letter here. Highlights include:

  • Revise loan restrictions in light of industry realities and lower the required percentage of loans that must be spent on payroll
  • Provide flexibility in timing for restaurants to use PPP loans, and give restaurateurs through December, 2020, to comply
  • Defer federal payroll taxes to increase liquidity
  • Improve access to Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)


March 18, 2020: Requests for Relief for the Restaurant Industry

National Restaurant Association letter detailing the industry’s initial recovery request.  Click here to read a copy of our press release and click here to read the letter. 

The letter requests immediate financial relief on three fronts:

1. Direct/Targeted Relief

  • Authorize the Department of Treasury to create a $145 billion Restaurant and Foodservice Industry Recovery Fund.
  • $35 billion for Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Relief (CDBGDR) assistance.
  • Assistance in allowing businesses to defer mortgage, lease and loan obligations.
2. Loans/Insurance Options for Impacted Small Businesses
  • $100 billion in Federally-Backed Business Interruption Insurance.
  • Federal Loan Program Equal to Lost Revenue.
  • $45 billion in expanded access to effective, efficient and affordable federal and conventional loans.
  • $130 Million in Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
3. Tax Measures
  • Reduced credit card fees.
  • Tax credits.
  • A temporary payroll tax cut.
  • Tax delays and deferrals.
  • A fix on the Qualified Improvement Property (QIP) technical correction.

March 13, 2020: Requests for Federal Help and Relief
On Friday, March 13, we sent a letter to all of Colorado's US Congressmen and our two Senators asking for relief, and we spoke with Senator Gardner and Congressman Lamborn directly, and Senator Bennet’s office. You can read our letter here. What we asked for:
  • Mortgage Payment Deferrals: Provide temporary assistance that would allow businesses and employees to defer mortgage payments in the event that restaurant traffic declines even more due to local mandates.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans: Allow for temporary interest-only payments on SBA loans currently in payment.
  • Cost-Sharing Barriers: Request that the IRS consider tax breaks to individual business owners or restaurants that have suffered a 20% or greater decline in business since January 1, 2020.
  • Financial/Economic Stimulus Package: Consider an economic stimulus package to be issued directly to business owners as a bail-out to offer financial relief.
  • Holiday on Payroll Taxes: Defer payroll tax payments until the impacts of COVID-19 have subsided. 

State

June 18, 2020: Feedback on Protect Our Neighbors
We submitted feedback to the Governor's office on the draft Protect Our Neighbors Guidelines, which you can read in full here

June 12, 2020: Remove 50-Guest Cap and Schedule Capacity Raises
We asked the Governor's office to immediately lift the 50-guest cap, and to release a concrete schedule for increasing capacity limits as quickly and safely as possible. Read our letter here. 

June 1, 2020: Feedback on Reopening Guidelines
We sent a letter to Governor Polis to give feedback on the restaurant reopening guidelines. You can read the full letter here. Highlights of what we asked for include: 

  • Removing the “and a maximum of 50 patrons” language for this phase – and allowing restaurants to open at 50% capacity as long as they can properly social distance – with no specific caps to number of people. 
  • Publishing a plan ASAP for increasing capacity.
  • Aligning the restaurant party size with the CDC public gathering size.
  • Reevaluating the requirement that prohibits self-seating as soon as possible.


May 12, 2020: Urgent request for reopening guidelines
We sent an urgent letter to Governor Polis asking him to release reopening guidelines as soon as possible, even if he can't yet give us a definitive reopening date. This will give you a head start on retraining your staff, implementing new procedures, and getting stocked to reopen your doors. You can read our letter here.

May 3, 2020:
 Requests for Reopening and Recovery
You can view the letter we sent to Governor Polis here. Highlights:

  • Caps on third party delivery service fees
  • A moratorium on commercial evictions
  • Support for a bill to fix the tip credit statewide
  • A long list of requests related to guidelines for reopening dining rooms
  • And more
March 18, 2020: Request for Easing of Regulatory Burdens in the Wake of Crisis
We sent a letter to Governor Jared Polis with specific asks for relief that will eliminate regulatory burdens for Colorado’s restaurants and help to protect your limited cash flow. Read that letter here. Specific asks:

Taxes and Fees
  • Delay sales tax remittance for restaurants for 90 days.
  • Suspend indefinitely business improvement and other hospitality fees/taxes where possible.
  • Suspend or defer property, estimated income, and franchise taxes.
  • Quickly refund overpayment of estimated taxes.
Delivery Regulations
  • Cap or reduce delivery fees for restaurants on third party delivery.
  • Allow restaurants with valid liquor licenses to deliver alcohol to customers or allow them to sell alcohol with carry-out or to-go orders.
Government Mandates
  • Suspend any government mandates set to come into effect in the next two months.
  • Extend the amount of time retailers have to pay wholesalers for alcohol purchased to 90 days.
Payment Relief
  • Prohibit landlords from evicting restaurants for non-payment of rent during the COVID-19 crisis. Allow restaurants to pay back rent over a series of months after the crisis abates.
  • Prohibit utilities from shutting off services to restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis due to lack of payment.
  • Waive restaurant payment of utilities for 90 days or other utility relief.
  • Extend the window for restaurants to make payments on COVID-19 related expenditures. 
  • Call on the banking industry to help with bridge loans and loan payments during the COVID-19 crisis.


Local

May 3, 2020: Requests for Reopening and Recovery
You can view the letter we sent to Denver Mayor Hancock here, the letter we sent to local governments across the state here, and the letter we sent to the county commissioners here. Highlights of our local asks:

  • Suspension or reversal of minimum wage increases so that minimum wage matches the state level
  • Permitting to allow expansion of seating with revised licenses to expand beyond current patios, into parking lots and neighboring properties – even into streets (with street closures) where possible
  • Forgiveness of local sales and use taxes through Q3
  • Reopening guidelines that match those of the state to avoid confusion
  • And more
March 18, 2020: Requests for Restaurants Entering Crisis
1. We were asked to provide Denver Mayor Hancock with a list of requests that could provide help for businesses in Denver. Read that letter here.

2. Additionally, we worked with our partners at the Colorado Municipal League to have a version of that letter sent to every Mayor, city manager, and city clerk in the State of Colorado asking them for relief for restaurants. Read that letter here. We are hopeful that this will bring minor changes to city regulations that will allow restaurants to operate more smoothly and maintain their cash flow.

Our specific asks:
  • Don’t charge for parking meters so that people can more easily pick up food
  • Call for rent and loan abatement for workers and restaurants/bars
  • Consider loan programs for businesses to get through the state of emergency
  • Waive penalties for late fillings of any kind from businesses
  • Provide relief for renewal costs of any licensure during the state of emergency
  • Ensure that staffing level are maintained for ALL departments interacting with businesses or their employees
  • Consider delayed payment of fines for restaurant health code violations
  • Quick refunds for overpayment of taxes
  • Delay remittance of sales tax for restaurants during the state of emergency
  • Suspend sales tax on “non-essential” paper goods sold to a restaurant (togo containers)


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