The noise TRA has been making on the PPP loan and needed changes is working. Senator Schumer is introducing a bill that will have many of the fixes they want. The pressure is on and they know we need fixes and they know it is the restaurant industry that is making the most noise. Key things that are within the proposed plan include:
Moving from 2 years to 5 for repayment
Changing the 75/25 split so you can make it work for you
Extend the forgiveness period until the end of 2020
Change the covered period from eight weeks to 12 or 24 weeks
On a call, they specifically asked about any fixes being made retroactive, and it was confirmed they would indeed apply. Note, on Tuesday they moved the Safe Harbor (the period of time when you could simply return your loan and not use) from May 7 to May 14. They believe this is so Treasury can release guidance on forgiveness early next week. In summary, it would be great if the Treasury could give us several of these fixes, but if they will not, in Phase 4 aka CARES 2.0 we believe the key items we need will be addressed. We also believe tax credits and state allocation of funding will be a big piece of the bill.
Today TRA signed on with the AHLI regarding liability. They know we need liability protection with the current environment and believe signing on to this and making it part of CARES 2.0 will be important.
They also made great progress this week on pulling together our “Blueprint for Recovery” and this plan includes the creation of a Restaurant Recovery Fund that will be driven from the state level. Kelsey and I are putting the finishing touches on this over the weekend with the goal to bring to the governor and our legislators next week. We feel strongly that we need state support in the recovery and cannot bear all the costs of getting our restaurants back on track. Remember, we were closed due to government mandate and have done everything to support public health. With this proposed fund, we feel we can ask for a fair financial recovery plan supported by the State of Texas and dollars secured from the CARES Act. Our Blueprint for Recovery plan also includes consideration on taxes, expansion of the current alcohol waiver, and relief from any pending regulatory changes. We need to create the best possible environment for our restaurants to succeed.
They had an opportunity to meet with several bar owners and operators are helping to craft a plan to get them open as soon as possible. They hope to have the framework of a plan that we can complete by early next week. This will be submitted to the governor’s office, like they did with the Texas Restaurant Promise, with the goal to provide a comprehensive plan to safely reopen bars. While it will be the Governor’s team and his medical experts that have the final say, we know giving them a plan helps a lot. We have more than 5,000 bars in Texas and they need our help getting customers safely back in the door. We are stronger together.
Some San Antonio groups wanting to provide assistance to very small local businesses seeking federal stimulus money turned to bankers at Frost Bank for tips. They are targeting businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
On a conference call Thursday, Frost Bank CEO Phil Green and other bank officials shared the ins-and-outs of the Paycheck Protection Program — a stimulus program run by the Small Business Administration that is distributing millions to small businesses to use for payroll and other expenses like rent and utilities.
“We applied the things that we learned from the very strenuous process of applying for those PPP loans through the SBA and kind of put a presentation together,” Frost spokesman Bill Day said. Frost Bank was among the banks that processed the most loans in San Antonio during the PPP’s first round of funding, which provided $349 billion to businesses last month. The second round, with $310 billion, is under way.
Retail is already being reshaped by Covid-19 as shoppers are stuck at home and companies are forced to find new ways to sell their goods and stay relevant. Even as states begin lifting restrictions, it isn’t clear when and how consumers will be ready to shop. Longtime retail analyst Dana Telsey, who heads up Telsey Advisory Group, says executives are comparing the crisis to wartime, and trying to reinvent themselves for a rapidly changing new normal.
Telsey, one of Barron’s 100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance, had a long history as a retail analyst and money manager before starting her own business. The New Yorker has seen retail go through various iterations, not just in her career but also growing up: Her family owned a bookstore on Madison Avenue and her mother and grandmother both worked in retail. We talked with Telsey to see what retailers need to do in a postpandemic world, which companies can make the transition, and whether it’s time to start shopping. An edited and condensed version of our conversation follows.
Barron’s: What is the mood among retail executives?
Dana Telsey: Even the strongest of the strong companies are saying there is no road map—and [things] can change by the hour. They are watching their cash, evaluating their cost structure, and looking at store bases. When you think about fixed and variable costs, almost everything has become variable.
The COVID-19 outbreak has wreaked financial havoc around the globe, leaving many small-business owners struggling in its wake. According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), as of March 30—still early in the crisis—92% of small businesses said they had suffered negative effects as a result of the pandemic. Just 5% of small-business owners said they had experienced no effects at all.
While the short-term outlook for small businesses varies greatly by industry, it’s important to consider what recovery mode will look like once the economy begins to return to a state of normalcy—or establishes a new normal. Having an exit strategy in place for after COVID-19 can help you be prepared to hit the ground running and rebuild. If you’re not sure what your coronavirus exit plan should include, this guide can help with getting your business back on track.
1. Assess the Financial Damage
The first step in developing a rebuilding plan for COVID-19 is determining just how deeply your small business has been affected.There are different layers involved, starting with the hard numbers. If you haven’t updated your financial statements—such as profit and loss or cash flow statements—recently, it’s helpful to do that now. You can then compare them to last year’s numbers to see how much your business may be down. And while only a small percentage of business owners say they’ve benefited from the pandemic, 3% according to the NFIB, it’s possible that the damage might not be as bad as you think.
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