Many small businesses managed to land a PPP loan — the loans given by the federal government primarily to keep staff on payroll for an eight-week period following the receipt of the loan. That wasn’t much help to bars, restaurants and music venues that were closed during that period and beyond, and will likely be reopening with limited capacity. Businesses rushed to apply before the money ran out, and the eight-week period began when the loan was received with without such businesses having any idea when they could reopen.
Now Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) and Todd Young (R-Indiana) have introduced the Restart Act, S. 3814, which tries to fix some of the original act’s shortcomings.
Bennet and Young propose to extend the eight-week period to use the PPP funds and earn loan forgiveness to 16 weeks after the loan is disbursed for businesses whose revenues have declined by at least 25%. They are also proposing a new RESTART Program to provide funding to cover the next six months of payroll, benefits, and operating expenses for businesses that have lost significant revenue, with a share forgiven based on the losses suffered in 2020 with generous repayment terms for the rest, including a seven-year repayment period and no interest in the first year.
Such a program would benefit small music venues, whose existence is threatened — some projections have said 90% could go out of business if they don’t reopen soon, and they just won’t, not with the same capacity and types of shows they had before. So the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) is asking music fans to contact their congressperson and senators, asking them to support the act. Go here for a form letter, or, still better, email or call your representatives yourself to ask them to sign on.