Congress to Pass $900 Billion COVID Relief Legislation

~Florida Restaurants and Hotels to Get Much-Needed Financial Assistance~

TALLAHASSEE – Today, Congress is expected to pass a $900 billion relief bill to provide short-term economic relief to the country in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The plan includes several items that will benefit restaurants and hotels, most importantly a second round of access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), with unique provisions aimed to assist Florida’s hospitality industry, which continues to endure catastrophic job and revenue losses.

“Millions of hard-working families in Florida’s hospitality industry have been given hope at the end of a very hard year as Congress will pass substantial COVID relief legislation today,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA). “As a top tourist destination, Florida’s hospitality industry has suffered unparalleled damages from the COVID-19 pandemic. From the beginning of this crisis, FRLA has worked with local, state, and federal leaders, alongside our national partners at the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), to advocate for relief for tens of thousands of Florida restaurants and hotels and their 1.5 million workers. The value to our members cannot be overstated. Simply put, for many, this means the survival of their business and the livelihood of their employees.”

The plan announced today targets industry relief with provisions including:

  • Enhanced PPP Loan Size: The PPP provides a business with a forgivable loan based on 2.5 times its monthly payroll costs. Restaurants and hotels, however, can seek forgivable loans based on 3.5 times monthly payroll costs.
  • Enhanced Access to PPP: Companies that employ a total of 300 or more employees at all locations (combined) are deemed ineligible for the PPP. Today’s bipartisan plan reflects the reality that many mid-sized and larger restaurant groups are on the verge of bankruptcy and allows restaurants to qualify for PPP if they do not employ more than 300 employees at each physical location.
  • One-year extension for Troubled Debt Restructuring (TDR) relief (Section 4013 of the CARES Act), which will allow for banks to continue to work with borrowers to gain additional forbearance and debt relief through the end of 2021.

The relief package is also expected to include the following:

  • Direct payments to individuals: $600 for an individual making up to $75,000 a year; $1,200 to a couple making $150,000 a year and $600 for each child dependent.
  •  An additional $300 a week will go to individuals receiving unemployment benefits

Other provisions in the bill that will benefit restaurants and hotels include the deductibility of business expenses paid with PPP loans, enhancement of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), extension of the augmented Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), and increased tax deduction for business meals.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and the National Restaurant Association have shared a resource document with additional information here.

For more information, visit the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association website, and follow FRLA’s social media channels linked below.