Shake Shack to return small business loan after uproar

Other chains that reported receiving the loans include Potbelly, Ruth's Hospitality Group, Taco Cabana and J. Alexander's.

Shake Shack to return small business loan after uproar

Shake Shack plans to return a $10 million loan it received under an emergency small business rescue program, amid a growing backlash against big businesses that got the money before $350 billion in funding lapsed last week.

The burger chain was just one of several large restaurant operators and publicly traded companies that secured tens of millions of dollars in "Paycheck Protection Program" loans before the Trump administration announced Thursday that the funding was exhausted because of huge demand.

Other chains that reported receiving the loans include Potbelly, Ruth's Hospitality Group, Taco Cabana and J. Alexander's. The disclosures infuriated small business owners who were unable to get loans in time. The program, which is intended to avert massive layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic, is focused on businesses with fewer than 500 employees but allowed large restaurant operators to also apply.

In a post on LinkedIn, Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti and Chairman Danny Meyer said the company was fortunate on Friday to raise more capital in the markets — $150 million — and that it planned to return its entire Paycheck Protection Program loan "so that those restaurants who need it most can get it now." They called on Congress to adequately fund the program, as lawmakers near an agreement on another $300 billion.

"Our people would benefit from a $10 million PPP loan but we’re fortunate to now have access to capital that others do not," they said. "Until every restaurant that needs it has had the same opportunity to receive assistance, we’re returning ours."

The ability of major companies to receive funding before smaller businesses has emerged as the latest flashpoint in a program that has left many involved dissatisfied since its hurried launch on April 3.

Garutti and Meyer said the program "came with no user manual and it was extremely confusing."

If there is concern that the program will not have enough funding again, they suggested sending businesses that have more limited access to outside funding "to the front of the PPP line"

"It’s inexcusable to leave restaurants out because no one told them to get in line by the time the funding dried up," they said. "That unfairly pits restaurants against restaurants. This industry rises and falls together."

Restaurants have been among the businesses hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic because of stay-at-home orders across the country. On Monday, the National Restaurant Association planned to send a letter to top lawmakers calling for Congress to create a dedicated recovery fund for the industry.

Source : Politico USA More   

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Coronavirus Update: Family, Friends Line Long Island Neighborhood Sidewalk To Welcome Home Survivor

There was a special surprise Sunday for a COVID-19 survivor on Long Island.

Coronavirus Update: Family, Friends Line Long Island Neighborhood Sidewalk To Welcome Home Survivor

ROCKVLLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There was a special surprise Sunday for a COVID-19 survivor on Long Island.

Family and friends flooded his sidewalk to celebrate a life saved at one of our area hospitals, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported.

They honked and cheered as loudly as they could, so Robert Sidberry could feel their love from behind the safety of his screen door.

MORE: Coronavirus Update: New York State Set To Begin Critical Antibody Testing Survey

The 55-year-old survivor said it was their ongoing prayers and then the parade helping him pull through a brutal battle against coronavirus.

“It gives you that extra boost. Whatever aches and pain you are still going through, you can get past it,” Sidberry said.

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Sidberry is still regaining his strength to walk and talk after a 29-day hospitalization at Mercy Medical Center.

Two days after being admitted, his condition became so dire doctors had to intubate him. His wife, Kenneeda, said she remembers the phone call from the hospital.

“They told me that he stopped breathing. They had to put him on a ventilator. They had to sedate it. I just … I lost it. I honestly lost it,” Kenneeda Sidberry said.

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Over the next few weeks, Robert’s family lost contact with him, but they refused to wallow in despair. They said their constant prayers and called, even when he couldn’t hear them.

“It’s very hard on the families, but it’s just as hard on the patients because a lot of patients probably think we gave up, that there’s nobody there,” Kenneeda said.

MORE: Coronavirus Curve In New York Appears To Be On The Descent, Cuomo Says

From his send-off at the hospital, to Sunday’s welcome home parade, the Sidberrys said the cheers weren’t just to celebrate Robert, but to all the medical staff still fighting on.

“They don’t get the credit that’s due. They saved my husband’s life,” Kenneeda said.

Once Robert fully recovers and the pandemic is over, his family said they will be returning to the hospital to properly thank his doctors with hugs.

Source : CBS News York More   

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