Life After PPPBy David Helbraun
on April 30, 2020 in Coronavirus
It’s a cruel, cruel summer…
Did you get your PPP loan? I hope you did. It takes us off life support and provides a few months of easier breathing. We can pay a little rent and hire back our employees for no show jobs and it just feels good to have some cash in the old bank account. But what happens two months from now when the money runs out?
Well, if you listen to our dearly elected, this is just a passing shower and grey skies are gonna clear up and put on a happy face because America is back in business baby!
Oh yeah? As Americans galavant in parks and butcher meat in processing plants, infection rates are spiking across the country and we are still admitting a thousand people per day to hospitals in New York. The virus is strong and smart and no amount of bleach or vaccine dreams or wishful thinking is going to make it just go away. Especially in the city.
And when the political pressure becomes overwhelming and the Governor “reopens” New York, you can bet your bippie that restaurants will be the last on the list to get the nod. For good reason. And when you can reopen your ER-themed restaurant at 30% or 40% capacity, are you going to want to?
We need a plan for July and beyond if we want to survive. We need a few things that are just non-negotiable.
1. Rent relief – Can’t pay it if we don’t got it. No rent until tourists are tripping over themselves in Times Square and Tinder is back online and the virus is no longer a threat for real. How? Appease the apex predators, the banks. Force them to give mortgage relief to commercial landlords so they can pass it down to us little minnows. We have to work our way up the chain by stressing the landlords. The “no personal liability bill” sitting in City Council is a good start. Then, once landlords really start to feel the pinch, the real estate lobby may turn its attention to mortgage relief from the banks and then we may get some action. But if landlords are not feeling the pain, then banks won’t move and then it’s game over.
2. Cash Money Dollars – Restaurant owners need an income too! This has been lost in the discussions. They have families and rents and, you know, real people expenses. Plus, it costs money to reopen. Business owners must get a cash infusion in the form of grants, not loans, and it has to be enough to last for more than eight weeks.
So what’s the plan? How do we make it happen? Let’s start by being laser focused on these issues and cutting out all the distractions and noise. Let’s put all of our weight into the support of City Council Int 1932. It’s not direct rent relief but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s so easy. Just click below.
Dave Rosen, prolific Brooklyn bar and restaurant owner, has penned an interesting white paper on the state of the industry. It’s titled “Save NY Nightlife” and it covers PPP, rent subsidies, landlords and other topics. A must read: https://www.savenynightlife.com/
In the words of martial artist and philosopher, Bruce Lee “Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.”
David Helbraun is the Founding Partner and Chairman of the firm. He is a lifelong entrepreneur who has been running successful businesses in New York City for years.