Federal financial relief for restaurant industry — covid-19 pandemic

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The current economic environment created by the spread of the novel coronavirus has decimated the hospitality industry; specifically the restaurant sector. It is unique in that the restaurant industry is one of the only industries where citizens have been mandated to avoid these establishments. At the time of writing at least 15 states and several cities have mandated restaurants and bars to close. In addition, the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America stated, “Avoid eating or drinking in bars, restaurants, and food courts — use drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options.” Drive-thru, pickup, and delivery options will not replace full service revenue for businesses, nor tipped income for employees; these options are also impossible for bars and nightclubs.


These small businesses are currently being torn apart by the shearing forces of market implosion and government dictations; the latter is preventing them from creating solutions without assistance.


Even if the federal government issues direct and specific financial assistance to individual Americans to supplement their loss of work, it still would not fulfill the needs for business owners to cover overhead: i.e., fixed costs such as rent, amortization, and insurance. These costs do not influence the demand chain and the financial risk must be addressed as well as mitigated. We agree with the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) that we must provide immediate assistance in the form of both state and federal grants, tax deferrals, eviction protection, and rent mitigation as it pertains to federal, state, and local economic prosperity to ensure the survival of each and every business. The ultimate risk if we do not assist restaurateurs in tempering the economic impact of this crisis is that we could lose over $1.5 trillion dollars in impact to the United States Economy, and add to the unemployment rate with over 15 million individuals out of work. 


If the federal government does not issue direct financial assistance to American citizens then the employees of the restaurant and hospitality sector will rapidly fall behind on financial obligations and risk propagating a crisis in the financial industry.


Projections from the TRA expect Texas to lose up to 500,000 restaurant jobs out of the 1.4 million restaurant workers in the state — another 500,000 more jobs could be lost in the supply chain that supports restaurants. This will, in turn, affect the agricultural and manufacturing industries; two of the most critical pillars of the Texas Economy. Similar situations are expected to occur in most, if not all, states.


We request immediate and thorough legislative and financial action to assist the hospitality industry with a specific focus on the restaurant sector of Texas.