Restaurants call for changes to PPP restrictions, timeline

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The National Restaurant Association is calling on Congress to get rid of red tape around the federal assistance aimed at helping small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

The association sent a letter to leaders in Congress urging them to make changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

It offers loans to small businesses to help cover costs like paying for employees.

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"It could take weeks or months before we really are sustainably profitable and keep our doors open,” Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association Sean Kennedy said. “The current system right now assumes things like restaurants have the ability to bring their entire workforce back even if they’re shuttered. It has some restrictions on how we can use our funding.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) read a portion of the letter on the Senate floor Thursday.

“Equally important is the need to address the limitations of the program that do not recognize the unique and evolving changes to the restaurant business cycle and our path to recover,” Van Hollen said while reading the letter aloud.

The letter asked Congress to lift loan restrictions and extend the timeline for PPP.

"What Congress has done has been a great first step but the way it's being administered is not giving restaurants the real relief that we need right now,” Kennedy said.

More than 15.5 people work in restaurants around the country, according to the association.

The impact of the novel coronavirus is being felt all across the Mid-South where new cases are being announced every day and new steps are being taken to help limit the spread. Keep checking back for the latest COVID-19 updates throughout the day.

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