The Paycheck Protection Program Hasn’t Served Restaurants Well

More than 417,000 restaurant and bar workers lost their jobs in March ― the biggest job loss in any industry by a mile.  But the most recent numbers suggest the food service industry is not among the top three beneficiaries of the Paycheck Protection Program, a new initiative that could turn out to be the…

The Paycheck Protection Program Hasn’t Served Restaurants Well

More than 417,000 restaurant and bar workers lost their jobs in March ― the biggest job loss in any industry by a mile. 
But the most recent numbers suggest the food service industry is not among the top three beneficiaries of the Paycheck Protection Program, a new initiative that could turn out to be the federal government’s most important effort to reduce the economic damage of the coronavirus outbreak. 
The Small Business Administration said this week that as of Monday, it had approved 108,179 loans to accommodation and food service firms, which rank fourth among the industries receiving loan approval. 
The construction industry, which lost 29,000 jobs in March, according to payroll data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, received the most money ― 13.7% of the $247 billion in approved loans. The accommodation and food services industry, with 15 times as many job losses, got only 9.1% of the pie. 
On Thursday, the program reached its statutory limit of $350 billion in loan approvals, and the Trump administration has said it will approve no more until Congress comes up with more money. Republicans want to add another $250 billion immediately; Democrats want to make sure the funds are distributed equitably. 
The program has operated on a first-come, first-served basis since it opened two weeks ago, a chaotic process that likely disadvantaged firms with weaker relationships with banks, such those that are smaller or minority-owned. Banks are essentially
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