Instagram Live Q&A from Thursday, April 9th – Transcript
Kevin Boehm: Good afternoon, my name is Kevin Boehm, I’m a restaurateur in Chicago. I’m here again with Chris Lamond, Founder of Thorn Run Partners, a top 20 bipartisan government affairs and lobbying firm with offices in DC, LA, & Portland, who has been working with the IRC. Chris is also involved in the restaurant business, as his family owns 9 restaurants in South Carolina, and he’s also a super cool guy.
I want to start by saying, those of you that are frustrated with banking, or the SBA, or things changing all the time, and the lack clarity, or the ambiguity, we deeply commiserate with you. This is a seriously bumpy ride, and every time we get more guidance and scope, we are trying to share it here. And it seems, even though this is not the clarity we wanted in some cases, we have more of it today.
Today we are going to talk about where we have been, where we are, and where we want to be
The IRC mobilized about 3 weeks ago. We mobilized when Congress had already written a bill, and kind of jumped on a moving ride. We did what we could as fast we could. Congress built this boat, and we recognize that the boat had some holes in it. We are hopeful that we can have some impact on this moving forward. This is not a finished product.
We chose Instagram so that we can capture your questions, and we are going to do our best to answer them.
I’m going to turn this over to Chris. Chris, do you want to summarize kind of where we have been and also shine some light on the new clarity that we have.
Chris Lamond: Sure, thanks, and thanks everybody for joining. Just to reiterate Kevin’s point, feel free to populate questions on the feed, because we’re going to be taking notes on those and answering them at the end of this quick update, so don’t be shy.
So, last time we spoke, Congress had just finished the CARES Act, a Phase III bill that provided things like the Paycheck Protection Program. They have already, since the Paycheck Protection Program opened up for applications last Friday, April 3rd, just a week later they’ve already agreed to add more funding to that package. They have competing proposals right now that I first want to go over, and then talk about some of the guidance that has come out since our last call, that provided a little bit more clarity on a couple issues we care about.
So, starting today, Congress is working on what they are calling CARES 2.0, the second iteration of the CARES Act, which they haven’t quite finished yet - it’s just kind of on the starting line - but the Senate Republicans and the Trump Administration have proposed adding $250B to the Paycheck Protection Program, which would take the total cap from the $350B level to $600B. In a counter-proposal, the House and Senate Democrats came together and submitted their own draft legislation that was a little different. It added $185B to PPP, also added $50B to the EIDL grant program, which we talked about last time, as well as $15B to the “Grant” portion of that EIDL loan program – so, remember we’re talking about two potential loan opportunities, one the Paycheck Protection Program and second one is this EIDL loan program, both are different and we’ll get to that in a little bit. But, importantly what the Democrats did in their proposal was also start to make some needed changes to the PPP, and what they proposed today was a good start. We need it to go further, but it was a good start in that it takes the maximum PPP loan from 10 weeks to 12. So, in theory, in application you would multiply your payroll by 3 instead of 2 ½ , so a good change there. It didn’t change the forgiveness period of 8 weeks, so we have to see more clarity on that. And, again, that’s just a proposal, it’s not law, it hasn’t been voted on by House or Senate yet, but we’re in the early stages of the back and forth negotiation between the House Republicans and the Democrats. Good news is, both sides see a real, urgent need to add more money to the program. That’s really good.
In addition to that, the SBA did provide some new guidance on a couple of the sticky questions we had and they provided real clarity on three that I really wanted to go over with you as you look toward submitting your own applications.
We talked a lot about the origination date that’s included in the act - the law now - and our concerns about when the 8 week period started. Was it on loan application? Was it on loan approval? Or was it when you could draw down the money? Well, the SBA came out yesterday and said “the 8 week period begins on the date that the lender (your bank) makes the first disbursement of the PPP loan to the borrower.” So, that’s good. They made it clear that the date, your 8 week clock, starts when you can take the money.
Kevin Boehm: And to be clear, they said it was 10 days AFTER approval, and the bank has 10 days to fund after that approval, correct?
Chris Lamond: Right, the lender must make the first disbursement of the loan no later than 10 calendar days from approval. So, if you get approved, they said the bank must, in 10 days after that approval, allow you to have access to the money - and THAT’s when your 8 week clock starts.
Kevin Boehm: And Chris, that was not necessarily good news, was it?
Chris Lamond: The first part of it was, where we read it and it included a definition of origination date about being when you can get the money. The 10-day window is not great, and we’ve already been up on the hill talking about that and the need for why it needs to be extended out, and we’ll get into that, too.
Kevin Boehm: Yes.
Chris Lamond: The second thing they did was, they talked about the time period of determining your maximum loan amount. The application said the 12 months in 2019, so that was what we were using as guidance, and that’s what we talked about last time. The new guidance said that borrowers can calculate their aggregate payroll costs using EITHER the previous 12 months from your applications or 2019, so it gives more clarity for the restaurant owner to pick one or the other, if one is more favorable in terms of number of employees, that would increase your maximum loan amount.
The other one was really simple, and we thought this was the case but they made it crystal clear, that when you calculate payroll, you DO NOT include the employer’s portion of federal taxes that you pay on behalf of your payroll, so you can’t use that.
Kevin Boehm: And do clarify that, if you paid an employee $3,000, it includes their share of the federal, but not the employer’s share of it on top of that.
Chris Lamond: That’s right. And of note, tomorrow opens the window for sole proprietors to submit applications. You’ve seen the astronomical numbers of applications that were submitted from the 3rd through today, and I think we can expect that number to be even a lot higher tomorrow when sole proprietors can start applying. So, expect to see some more bumps in this road that’s already been a little bumpy, as the application pool is opened up to more applicants. So, we’ll see that starting tomorrow.
Kevin Boehm: And I want to clarify something, because I saw somebody mention it down there, this new 3x payroll is just a proposal, it’s not happened yet, correct?
Chris Lamond: Exactly, yep. I wanted to make that really clear, these are just offerings from the House and Senate Democrats on changes they want to make to the program, and we expect more. We expect them to pass this CARES 2.0 at some point, and then come back and do even more changes, so this is just the next phase of the whole operation. But, again, it’s important to make sure everyone knows, and feels comfortable, that Congress and the administration are in lockstep - Republicans and Democrats - that this program needs to be extended to include more money, and they’re doing that this week. So, even though things have been bumpy at your bank, and banks have had trouble understanding the process or accepting applications, we are very confident that no one is going to be left out in the cold, that the administration and congress have been very clear on the idea that we will continue to fund this program as long as it’s needed.
Kevin Boehm: Got it, so that’s a good transition - rewinding back to Friday, when everybody was furiously putting their loans in, it was pretty clear that all banks were not created equal, right? I’m talking to people who have been funded already, I’m talking to people who haven’t even gotten into the portal already, I’m talking to people who are in the portal but not been approved yet, so it’s all over the place, right Chris?
Chris Lamond: It is. And banks are, even the biggest banks have had trouble getting their online portals up and running, there’s a lot of complication with staffing right now, they’re all staffing up to try to get as many servicers in as they can to deal with these applications. But, I think the leading point is that even the banks have said they want to get these applications through, they want to do the best they can to get as much money from the SBA and the federal government to small business owners’ hands. So, that desire on both sides is what we’re leaning on, and hoping that continues as more problems will certainly arise - but the response from government has been really unique and overwhelming in their support of small business in this effort.
Kevin Boehm: Do you want to talk about what, specifically, is happening with the banks?
Chris Lamond: So, one of the specifics we can talk about is, you know, Wells Fargo has capped their loan ceiling on the amount of loans they want to issue - we’re hopeful other banks don’t do that. The SBA also opened up, today, the opportunity for non-bank lenders to participate in the program, so you’re seeing folks like PayPal get into the game of accepting applications and other non-bank lender applications go in as soon as today to expand the pool of financial instruments that can accept loan applications. So, we’ll see more of those as they come out and are approved by the SBA.
Kevin Boehm: There’s lots of questions still from people about calculating payroll. Can you go over the calculation really quickly? And, how to determine FTE and salary compensation comparisons?
Chris Lamond: Right, so backing up, the definition of what is included in payroll is your salary, your wages, your commissions, and your tips. And the tips, there was additional guidance on this from the SBA, that your tips are based on employer records of past tips, or, in the absence of these records, a reasonable good-faith estimate of the tips - so that’s how restaurants would calculate tips for their employees. It allows you to pay benefits like leave, sick leave, FMLA, retirement benefits. Also includes state and local taxes; but again, does not include your federal taxes that we mentioned earlier. So that’s what calculates your total payroll number, and your average payroll for that 12 month period, and you multiply that by 2 ½ to get your maximum loan amount.
Kevin Boehm: Got it. Let’s talk briefly about EIDL and its relationship with PPP. And, this might be more important than ever before now that PPP is in an interesting place. Our last call we talked about using both - any new information there?
Chris Lamond: Yeah, we have confirmation that you can apply and receive both the PPP and the EIDL loan. You can’t use them for the same purpose, that’s crystal clear, as well. As we talked about last time, it might make sense to apply for both. The EIDL grant program, which is included as part of CARES, allows you to take a $10,000 grant from the EIDL loan program and convert it to a PPP, if you decide to take a PPP as well. So, it can’t hurt to take the $10,000 and roll it into PPP. The statute said you could get that within 3 days of the SBA receiving your application for the EIDL loan. You can get both loans, they’re very different. The EIDL loan has a $2 million cap, and everything over $200,000 is personally guaranteed. The PPP has a $10 million cap with no personal guarantee. The terms are different. The terms of a PPP are 1% for 2 years with the first 6 months deferred; and then the EIDL is 3.75% over 30 years.
Kevin Boehm: Chris, here’s the most difficult conversation, and one that we have had several times. Most operators want to be able to use this PPP and that 8 weeks while they’re actually open, and we’re all sitting in a period right now where there’s civic mandates that we can’t open our restaurants. So, now, we’ve put all of these loans in, we’re going to all get approved, and the clock is going to start ticking on us when we can’t even open our restaurants. So, why would I do a PPP, when I have to use all the money to hire back workers when I can’t reopen yet. Do you recommend waiting to apply until there is more clarity on when we can open our doors? Or what should we do?
Chris Lamond: First and foremost, this is the leading request that the IRC has in Congress. It’s to acknowledge that this program does not fit for restaurants, specifically, and that they have to tie that 8 week window, and hopefully expand out that window to beyond 8 weeks, to the time when we can open. That’s our top request to Congress. And we’ve gotten good responses, and they seem to understand that. In the interim, because we don’t have that as law quite yet, we recommend that everyone applies for the loans. Both loans, especially the PPP. There’s no pre-payment penalty; you can apply, be accepted, and not take the money, and simply pay it back with no penalty. That’s where we are right now. We hope that changes are made, but even if you take the money from the PPP, and you don’t hire your workers back, you can still use that 25% on things like rent and utilities. Those costs we know are already adding up for restaurant owners. Your rent’s going to be there, utilities are going to be there, use that 25%, perhaps, for those purposes, and just pay back the 75% that’s not forgiven.
Kevin Boehm: There seems to be some more money that’s coming out from the fed, too, right Chris? This just came out today, I don’t know if we have a lot of color on it yet.
Chris Lamond: In terms of what, backing up these loans?
Kevin Boehm: No, there was just an article that additional funds were coming out, I don’t know if you have much color on that yet or not.
Chris Lamond: I haven’t seen that yet, all I’ve seen today is the support of additional funds from PPP.
Kevin Boehm: Got it. If your personal bank isn’t participating in the process, what do you recommend?
Chris Lamond: I would stay in communication with your local bank. If they’re not accepting applications right now, try to find out when they will. But also, shop around to other banks. As I said, folks like PayPal, Square, are trying to get in the game. Square might even be up and running, so there are a number of opportunities and avenues to submit applications; so if your bank is giving you a hard time, or not accepting applications, there are many other opportunities for you to use.
Kevin Boehm: Or if they aren’t accepting applications for more than one location, you could use multiple banks.
Chris Lamond: Well, they really need to be understanding that you CAN submit for more than one location, that was crystal clear in the law. If anybody is having any banks tell them they can’t submit more than one application for more than one restaurant that they own, please contact us because we can arm you with the right information to push back on your financial institution to make sure that they understand the purpose and intent.
Kevin Boehm: That’s when you should drop several curse words to them, is that what you recommend?
Chris Lamond: (laughs) Sure.
Kevin Boehm: So, at what point do I pivot to another bank? We hear all of these stories, Wells Fargo’s not taking anybody else, or someone doesn’t have their portal up. Should you be talking to different people, trying to “date” different banks?
Chris Lamond: I would. I think it makes sense to establish a line of communication with a bank down the street if you feel like you’re not getting the right answers, or getting too much of a slow movement from them. It cannot hurt to keep as many lines in the water as you need.
Kevin Boehm: Got it. Still getting questions about whether we can include independent contractors in the payroll costs?
Kevin Boehm: Got it. One of the big confusion parts has been this JUNE 30th date. There’s some confusion about when we are required to get up to full employment. This is a tricky one. Do you want to...
Chris Lamond: Yeah. So, we touched on this earlier in a question that I don’t think I actually answered the entire portion of your question that talked about Full Time Equivalents. The 8-week period that is used to determine your forgiveness requires you to get up to the same number of Full Time Equivalents. That is important to understand, if everybody doesn’t understand what an FTE is. It doesn’t mean you need to have the same amount of workers, it means you have to have the same amount of hours being worked in that same period. So, you can have people working part-time and include those hours into that computation. It’s just a matter of making sure you have that same equivalent FTE number in the 8 week period as you do compared to the previous average months that were computed. Wanted to clear up that real quick in case I didn’t.
This June 30th date plays into that 8-week period, because the statue was a little bit fuzzy on how it actually plays out and we haven’t seen guidance on this, but the intent of the legislation was to require employers to get employees rehired during the 8-week period. In order to do that, they set up this 8-week window, which you were supposed to get back to this Full Time Equivalent level. But, the bill, as written, appears to have an opportunity for employers to avoid any forgiveness penalties if they get back to FTE by June 30th. Now, if you were to get your loan today, and 8 weeks from a couple of days from now almost gets you to June 30th anyway - we’re looking into figuring out how it all works, but the guidance isn’t as clear as it needs to be - but our best interpretation is that you should focus in on that 8-week window to make sure you’re up to FTEs, but if you’re not, make sure you are by June 30th.
Kevin Boehm: Are a lot of these problems, Chris, because when they were building this bill, they were kind of working with best possible scenarios right, maybe thinking at one point that everybody was going to reopen by April 12, which is not going to happen, so that’s where a lot of these mistakes happen, yes?
Chris Lamond: Absolutely. I talked to someone on the Hill earlier this week who said, “We thought this was going to be a three week problem, we’d be up and running certainly by Easter, back to work sooner.” And that’s what drove a lot of the writing of the bill, so, you know, a June 30 deadline obviously will be extended, so we’re trying to get that 8 week window extended as well with it, and more flexibility with when that 8 week window starts.
Kevin Boehm: Got it. Should I wait to apply for when Congress amends the program to include some of the IRC’s recommendations like extending out the 8 weeks?
Chris Lamond: Every person in the restaurant industry should be applying for these loans. Let’s start there. Apply and then see what happens this week and then maybe in the next couple weeks. The latest draft introduced takes into account that individuals have already started applying and maybe in some cases are starting to get the money, but we wholeheartedly recommend that you start the process and apply for both. Again, you don’t have to take it, you can always give the money back without any penalties. But get in the queue with the banks, get the ball rolling, and then if we get additional guidance that takes it in a different direction we can pivot at that point. With all the trouble that the banks have had, it just makes sense to start to move forward as quickly as you can.
Kevin Boehm: Yeah, while we’re waiting for questions to populate, I’ll just let everyone know what we did at Boka Restaurant Group. We looked at the PPP and the EIDL at the beginning, we applied at the beginning but we didn’t have full clarity that we could do both. We just applied for the PPP loans at one bank, those uploaded on Friday night, I called my personal banker about 746 times, and she actually answered which is really great. Now we are waiting like everybody else, so we’re waiting to see what is going to happen with this next section and are waiting on approval and that sort of thing.
Let’s jump into some Instagram questions, shall we Chris?
Chris Lamond: Sure.
Chris Lamond: Well, as it relates to the PPP program, you have to take into account the requirement to get back to full time equivalence within that 8 week window whenever it starts. As quickly as you can get the money is when you might want to start thinking about rehiring those individuals.
Kevin Boehm: Got it. Are there things we can do locally to help with the federal government?
Chris Lamond: Absolutely. If you have relationships with anyone in Congress, with a member or even a staff member you may know, reach out to them. You can go to saverestaurants.com and find our top priorities in our letter that we sent to Congress. We may be issuing a new letter today focused on PPP only. Speak with the same talking points that we’re using if you can. If you have relationships it certainly makes a difference to hear from their local constituents. We have a pretty good grassroots movement here at the IRC, they’ve done a heck of a job getting in touch with their members and senators, and the good news is there’s a really strong, large, vocal constituency that is making all these issues known to members and it’s seemingly making some progress – and we’re really excited about that. If you can, do it.
Kevin Boehm: Why isn’t there any help for rent and utilities since the shutdown data March 16?
Chris Lamond: The intent of the PPP program was to have employers rehire their workers. And that is why we have seen a little bit of pushback on some of the changes we want to make because we did talk about, well, is that 75% requirement to use the proceeds for payroll too high? And some of the answers we got back were “we really need this money to go to workers” – it’s not really about getting you up and running, it’s more about getting the employees back to work and getting money in their pockets. They do allow for 25% of the loan proceeds, the maximum, to go towards rent and utilities – so there is some cushion in there to use it – but not much more than that at this point. There aren’t any other credits or loans other than the EIDL program which you can use for rent or utilities as well as private loans. PPP can cover payroll and some rent, and you can use EIDL for rent and utilities as well.
Kevin Boehm: So Chris, there’s a lot of confusion on this 25%/75%. To clarify, if people don’t spend 75% on payroll, is the balance forgivable? So will 25% be forgiven even if the 75% that’s supposed to be used for payroll is not met? How does that all work?
Chris Lamond: The most important factor to consider is if the 75% floor on the amount of your loan that needs to go towards payroll. So if you take out a $100,000 loan, $75,000 needs to be allocated towards payroll. So your payroll costs on that $100,000 loan need to be at least $75,000 for that 8 week period. The remaining $25,000 can be used for allowable expenses like rent, utilities, and transportation is also included. It’s unclear how the sliding scale of penalties will work; again, we lean into the idea that the intent is to forgive even though the guidance is unclear right now. The intent is to try to have it all forgiven, so use as much of it as you can on payroll, and the rest you can on rent and utilities.
Kevin Boehm: What, if anything, is being done for restaurants that just opened or were about to open, and don’t have payroll records?
Chris Lamond: If you’ve opened up within this calendar year, and you started in January, you can use January and February payroll numbers. There’s a cut off, I think it’s March 13, you had to be in business by March 13, to be able to apply for the loan. There is specific guidance on new restaurants on your payroll number, I can get those for anybody who has just started up.
Kevin Boehm: What happens if PPP is approved and the SBA treasury changes things? Will 3X be retroactive?
Chris Lamond: Yes. The recent drafts that have been included take into account a guidance that has been issued since the application program started, takes into account new applicants that are already in line or recipients that have already gotten the money. There is an understanding that people who have already applied and been approved won’t be penalized if the new terms are more forgiving. If they’re in our favor, I feel very confident that they will write this new law in a way that allows anyone who has the money to use the latest and best interpretation of the law.
Kevin Boehm: I see a lot of people asking these questions about, “Can I delay taking the money?” We brought this up before, Chris correct me if I don’t have this right. The way they’re talking about it now is that the way the clock starts on your 8 weeks, is 10 days passed approval with your bank, and your bank has to issue your funds in those 10 days. That is unfortunate for everybody because no one is open right now. I don’t think there is any delaying the money right now. That would be really nice if you could say “hey, don’t approve me yet, I just want to be in a holding area but don’t commit the money to me,” but I don’t think that’s possible right now. What we’re hoping for is a change to the way that’s written.
Chris Lamond: We hope, but we haven’t seen legislation come out, but we’re hopeful that that is what happens.
Kevin Boehm: Yes. Any updates on talks for the forgiveness items? Payroll is restricting, we should be able to use these items for our food and liquor vendors. But that’s really what EIDL is for, right Chris?
Chris Lamond: That’s right. So, opening up new opportunities for how to use that 25% hasn’t been a focus. We’ve really been sharply focused on getting that forgiveness of that origination date of when that eight weeks starts. That, along with extending out the number of weeks we can utilize the money seems to be the most important thing that we should be focused on. Haven’t talked yet about flexibility of funds, but you’re right, we could use the EIDL loan monies for those purposes.
Kevin Boehm: Here’s a good question - can you let your employees go after June 30th? I think what they’re saying is, after you get up to that FTE level on June 30th, is that all you need to do to satisfy it, and the next day you could just let them go?
Chris Lamond: Let me say this - as the law is currently written, June 30th is the end of the program. They will extend that out and in theory they will provide an explanation as to what the final, sunset date for the program is, but there are no additional requirements in the law for employers to keep employees on staff. Just through that eight week period, the employee number and the salary compensation level is important.
Kevin Boehm: Got it. Somebody asked, what if when you ask your employees to come back to work, they say they don’t want to come back to work? Would you be penalized for a lower FTE count? We brought this up before, it does not have to be the same person.
Chris Lamond: Right.
Kevin Boehm: So if they say no, you go out and you hire another person. The restaurant is not penalized for that. People are wanting to know how many loans approximately have been approved so far. Do you know those numbers, Chris? They put it out there a couple of times, but I haven’t seen a number in a while. The last number I saw was like 66 billion?
Chris Lamond: I’ll look online real quick - I haven’t seen the latest number. It’s a lot - it’s enough for them to add another $250 billion.
Kevin Boehm: Yeah, I think they know how many people are applying for those loans and it’s a lot more than the number. I think I saw 300 billion was applied for the 50 million that was in EIDL.
Kevin Boehm: Am I wrong, or is taking the PPP instead of the tax credits a good idea? I think that depends on your situation, sort of.
Chris Lamond: I think it depends on the number of employees. If you’ve got a large employee count, the 5,000/employee number may get you higher than the PPP. It certainly seems to be a bit of an easier road to take the tax credits. But I think by calculations that they’ve made on determining your maximum loan amount and the forgiveness opportunities, you know — They want PPP to be used more than the tax credits, but you’ve got to make your own determination.
Kevin Boehm: Any news on the government helping with business interruption claims?
Chris Lamond: Haven’t seen any news on that. It seems to be a fight between other groups and we’re not really playing in that at this point.
Kevin Boehm: I think we answered this one already — Are restaurants required to rehire the same staff? Will they be able to rehire from scratch? They just want you to get to the same level, it doesn’t have to be the same person. I mean, hopefully you can rehire the same people, but if you can’t and someone declines, then — you know there probably will be some people who say no, I’ll just stay on unemployment right now, but you can hire other people then.
Chris Lamond: That’s right.
Kevin Boehm: If I use PPP to pay purveyors, is that a two-year loan at 1% interest?
Chris Lamond: Yes. If you use the money for an expense that’s not allowed under the law, then it’s not allowed to be forgiven. So, it’s essentially a two-year loan at 1%, correct.
Kevin Boehm: Still, a lot of people are asking about how we calculate FTE. It’s basically the number of employees you have, divided by the amount of hours used, correct Chris? So if you had two people that worked 20 hours per week, that would be one employee.
Chris Lamond: Right.
Kevin Boehm: Do you think there will be a six month period at 50% occupancy? Anything that Chris and I would say at this point would be complete and total conjecture. We don’t know the answer to that question. I think that we are all having conversations right now and think that it’s going to be a different world that we’re living in after this thing is over and we have no idea. You know, the hope is that this thing flattens out and by the time that we get to mid-June, late-June, we’re in a lot better of a place. Right, Chris?
Chris Lamond: Let me just add, that is a real large part of the message we’re delivering to Congress, which is that we’re a very unique industry. Our margins are really low. And a 75% occupancy level really hurts us. So they have to take into account the idea that it’s going to be a little bit of a ramp, if not a long ramp, for us to get back to 100% occupancy. It may even be a year — maybe 18 months. That has really driven a lot of our discussion to make sure Congress understands the real mechanics of the restaurant industry. And making sure they understand the economics of it is critical because we’re not going to be at 100% occupancy. We know with these new social norms — and maybe social distancing requirements that state and local governments put on us — that we may have a long road to get back to 100%. So we lead with that every chance we get.
Kevin Boehm: Do we know the effects of taking the PPP or the EIDL on our own balance sheets? Affecting our future credit-worthiness?
Chris Lamond: Well, the PPP is not guaranteed — not personally guaranteed. The EIDLs aren’t personally guaranteed up to $200,000. So, it would not impact individuals negatively if they, for some reason, weren’t able to pay those loans back, as it appears right now.
Kevin Boehm: So we spoke at the very beginning about where we’ve been, and where we are and where we want to be. The where we want to be part is in a letter on the saverestaurants.com website, which we ask everybody to go on and sign. It basically has a few things that we’re asking for in wanting to help shape this bill. We want the eight week forgiveness period to begin after any mandated closing and once we draw the money. That would be great. We would like the eight week period to be extended to 12 weeks. We’d like the loan repayment of PPP to go from two years to ten years if you have a balance. We want to launch a restaurant stabilization program with $100 million in grants to independent restaurants. Create some new tax rebates, and ensure that business interruption insurance covers COVID-19. Those are the things that the Independent Restaurant Coalition is working very hard on and we’re going to do our best to help shape this thing.
I think it’s always important to end these conversations with hope. I think if you look at any time in our country’s history after a catastrophic event, we have come back better and stronger. After the 1918 Spanish flu, that brought forth the “Roaring Twenties.” After WWII, we had lots of babies and great economic prosperity, and even the great recession of 2008 led to unprecedented growth. If Congress can help us sustain our businesses through this, I do think there are great things on the other side. People will be hungry for interaction, for communing with others, and restaurants and bars will be the soft place that they can land after all of this, if we can all survive. We’re all in this together. One love. Our best to all of you guys. This video will live on the Independent Restaurants Instagram if you guys want to go back and take a look at it. Our very best to all of you through these difficult times. Chris, thank you very much.
Chris Lamond: Just one more note — we want to keep doing these, as guidance comes out and more questions come out about the program. So look out for more chances like this to interact and ask questions and we appreciate everyone getting on today and hopeful we’ll talk soon.