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Relief Updates 3/25

March 25, 2020
We have a lot to share so please read this email in its entirety.   
Thank you for being patient as we guide you through this most difficult and unexpected journey.  We are all learning as we go each day and our commitment is to get you through this period with resourceful information.  Here are updates for your Wednesday as well as resources you can use for your employees as needed. 
Congressional Federal Relief Legislation, Phase 3 
A bipartisan agreement was reached late last night on a recovery bill, with votes expected in the Senate (and possibly the House) today. The text of the agreement has not been released formally. We believe it will be out around 10:00am ET. As a result, we do not have guidance for you yet on the substance or its impact on the industry. Democratic Leader Schumer released a letter to his colleagues identifying what he secured in the bill. A summary of that list is below. More to come.
  • 4 months of extended unemployment insurance, instead of 3 months
  • $55 billion increase in the Marshall Plan for our Health Care System
  • $150 billion for a state, tribal, and local Coronavirus Relief fund
  • $10 billion for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs
  • $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans
  • $30 billion in emergency education funding and $25 billion in emergency transit funding
  • $30 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as private nonprofits providing critical and essential services
  • More than $10 billion for the Indian Health Services and other tribal programs
  • Make rent, mortgage, and utility costs eligible for SBA loan forgiveness
  • Ban stock buybacks for the term of the government assistance plus 1 year on any company receiving a government loan from the bill. 
  • Establish robust worker protections attached to all federal loans for businesses
  • Create real-time public reporting of Treasury transactions under the Act, including terms of loans, investments or other assistance to corporations
  • Create of Treasury Department Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery to provide oversight of Treasury loans and a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to protect taxpayer dollars
  • Add a retention tax credit for employers to encourage businesses to keep workers on payroll during the crisis
  • Provide income tax exclusion for individuals who are receiving student loan repayment assistance from their employer
  • Save hundreds of thousands of airline industry jobs and prohibit airlines from stock buybacks and CEO bonuses
Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker Letter
All across the region in DC, Maryland and Virginia, there are effective mandates ordered or currently in effect to include closures of nonessential businesses. DC’s Order that closes all nonessential businesses goes into effect tonight, March 25th at 10pm. Both Maryland and Virginia’s nonessential Orders are already in effect. 
Restaurants offering take-out and delivery are considered essential businesses, and restaurant workers are considered essential employees that can be asked to come to work even when there are federal, state, or local, shelter-in-place Orders.  Still, more and more states and localities are restraining travel, particularly during certain hours of the day, while restaurant workers need to arrive earlier than the time restrictions to make bread, brew coffee, etc., and stay past curfew to clean, disinfect, and close the premises. Meanwhile, some restaurant workers are running into issues with law enforcement restricting workers movement to and from work.
The Restaurant Law Center drafted a letter specifically for restaurant employers that they can amend to give to their essential employees stating that the holder is an "Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker" under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security guidelines. Thus, the worker should be allowed to continue to or from his place of employment. Click here to access letters for DC, MD, and VA. 
DC Small Business Microgrant Applications
We collected your questions, issues, and glitches with the microgrant application process and we shared them with DMPED last night so they can address important issues. The Mayor already issued a clarification last night to say that given input from our industry, they are updating the application to appropriately reflect the date of the public health emergency period. Also, revenue loss is a factor but not a qualifier, and they are ensuring the application reflects that. 
Collectively the most issues reported, that needed to be addressed, were focused on the following:
  • The comparative periods of sales in demonstrating losses is flawed. Jan-March does not work as a comparative period and demonstrating sales loss during this period should not be a qualifier.
  • Bank statements older than 18 months are difficult to access.
  • Pending litigation should not be a factor
The deadline to apply is March 31, 2020.
The link and application platform are being tested as we speak.  We are working to ensure all kinks have been ironed out before we encourage applicants to continue with the process.  
As soon as we get that confirmation we will send out an update by text to inform you that the link is updated.  
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act Explained: U.S. Department Of Labor Publishes Guidance Explaining Paid Sick Leave And Expanded Family and Medical Leave 
The U.S. Department of Labor just issued some preliminary guidance, in the form of Questions and Answers, in advance of the implementing regulations on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) a/k/a COVID-2, which takes effect April 1. Click here to access. The Department advises that they will continue to provide compliance assistance to employers and employees on their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA, and we will be sure to keep you updated as that information is made available.
Additionally, the Department is hosting a creative opportunity for public input via a national online dialogue to provide employers and employees a way to offer their perspective as the Department develops compliance assistance materials and outreach strategies related to the implementation of FFCRA. The ideas and comments gathered from this dialogue will inform compliance assistance guidance, resources, and tools, as well as outreach approaches, that assist employers and employees in understanding their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA. The deadline for input is March 29, 2020. Anyone interested can participate online at now through March 29, 2020.
We will send additional updates as we have them. If you have questions regarding any of the topics mentioned in this email or anything else, please email, as this will help ensure you receive a timely response on your pressing issue.  
Little by little, we will make our way through this.  
More to come, always.  
Kathy Hollinger | President and CEO
Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington
1625 K Street NW, Suite 210 | Washington, DC 20006