New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined other elected officials at Hudson’s Public Square/7th Street Park Monday to promote legislation to help small businesses recover from months of limited operations.
Closures and cutbacks that were mandated by the coronavirus pandemic have decimated small and mid-sized businesses. Gillibrand says the bipartisan "Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery in Twenty-Twenty" or RESTART Act would create a new loan program to fund six months of employer and operating expenses for businesses that have lost substantial revenue and need support beyond the Paycheck Protection Program.
"COVID has been with us for the majority of this year, and the recent uptick in cases are reminders that it will continue to be with us well into next year. During that time, most hospitality businesses will not be able to operate on the scale that they would have, if at all. Our recovery plan must recognize that the need for extended relief is greater now than ever. New York restaurants, bookstores, cafes, theaters, venues make this state a great place to live and visit. They are the cornerstones of their communities, job creators and engines of our local and state economies. We need to help all those businesses weather the storm."
Gillibrand and fellow Democrat Antonio Delgado of the 19th House district say the RESTART Act should be part of the next coronavirus relief package. Delgado points out that March was the last time Congress passed something on a bipartisan basis.
"It is now October. The cares act gave small businesses back in March, access to three major programs: the PPP program, the idle loan, and my small business repayment Relief Act, which gave six months debt relief. These important resources were utilized by folks and helped them sustain themselves through these challenging times. But guess what? It hasn't lasted forever. The PPP program expired in early August, in early August. And here we are, in October, more than seven months into this public crisis. We must extend the life of these programs and provide additional specialized funding for small and mid-sized businesses. And that's where the RESTART act comes in. This legislation builds on the PPP and creates a new forgivable SBA loan that would provide up to $12 million for businesses hit hardest by the pandemic, experiencing at least a 25% loss of revenue."
Delgado adds the six-month program would give employers flexibility when it comes to utilizing funds that will not be tied to payroll. He says the money can be used for rent and utility payments.
"Now that time is ticking, and has been for seven months, and we're heading into, now we're in, the fall, heading into the winter months, trying to make sure that we are focusing on a comprehensive package that meets the needs of every American across this country has got to be the focus."
Gillibrand is hopeful the Senate will soon vote on the issue.