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Congress unveils $900 billion relief bill, 12.21.20

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[Updated Dec. 22, 2020]

On Dec. 21, Congress unveiled a $900 billion relief bill to provide short-term economic relief to the country in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill passed late that evening with an overwhelming majority in both chambers. President Trump is expected to sign the legislation, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

The plan includes several items that will benefit hospitality, most importantly a second round of access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

This plan targets hospitality relief in the following ways:

* Enhanced PPP loan size: The PPP provides a business with a forgivable loan based on 2.5 times its monthly payroll costs. Restaurants and hotels, however, can seek forgivable loans based on 3.5 times monthly payroll costs.

* Restaurants and hotels with 300 or fewer employees per location are eligible. Other industries are capped at 300 employees total.

* One-year extension for Troubled Debt Restructuring (TDR) relief (Section 4013 of the CARES Act). This will allow for banks to continue to work with borrowers to gain additional forbearance and debt relief through the end of 2021.

* 100% business meal deductibility for 2021 and 2022.

* Expanded Employee Retention Tax Credit.

* Deductibility of expenses associated with PPP loans.

According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the relief package also includes:

* Direct payments to individuals: $600 for an individual making up to $75,000 a year; $1,200 to a couple making $150,000 a year and $600 for each child dependent.

* An additional $300 a week will go to individuals receiving unemployment benefits.

* $25 billion for emergency rental assistance and an extension of the Cares Act’s eviction moratorium until Jan. 31.

See the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s comparison of the current legislation and the new bill here.

See the National Restaurant Association’s document on what this means for restaurants here.