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COVID-19 Resources For Restaurants – Proactive Solutions & Virtual Consultations – Part 1

Auction Masters – The 2 Part Series That Will Help You Find Business Solutions 


Part 1 – Resources For Restaurant Owners

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted businesses in a way we’ve never seen in our over 40 years of operations at Auction Masters. Business environments are changing every day. Laws around business are changing just as quickly. Companies that were thriving a month ago have been forced to shut their doors with no real answer as to when those doors may re-open. Employees with steady work and living wages have filed for unemployment and have no idea what the future holds.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve likely realized that this crisis will change the way business is done from now on. You’re probably making some changes to your business as well. 

And if you own (or are employed by) a restaurant, you’re feeling the devastating economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, arguably, more than anybody. As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, there is no doubt that the restaurant industry is being dealt with one of the heaviest blows.

The National Restaurant Association estimates “economic losses from COVID-19 on America’s second-largest private-sector employer to reach at least $225 billion during the next three months, with 5 million to 7 million jobs lost.”

Since March 1, the industry has lost more than 3 million jobs and $25 billion in sales, and roughly 50% of restaurant operators anticipate laying off more people in April.  

This is a grim picture, but the hope is far from lost. As a matter of fact, if you have the grit and vision this situation requires, there’s a great chance that you can pivot during this time and come out as a stronger, more organized company on the other side. This could also be an opportunity for you to make a clean and valuable exit.

Auction Masters has created a 2 part series with the goal of giving restaurant owners the most up-to-date resources you can find, not only now, but as we move forward. Each of the resources below are being updated almost daily in most cases. We’ve organized and expanded on these resources and opportunities in a way that allows you to revisit this article when you need, knowing that you will be receiving the latest information published. So let’s get started by looking at the list of programs becoming available for the restaurant and foodservice industries.



The passage of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) is a solid first step towards helping the restaurant industry through this crisis. It involves a series of programs that are designed to provide small businesses with financial resources that will spur them through COVID-19. To assist people with better understanding the new programs, the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship has created a guide to the provisions in the CARES Act. You can access the website here and learn more about different programs that may best suite your needs. It’s a great idea to regularly visit this page for updated information on the CARES Act. You’ll find resources and guidance for taking advantage of the funding available to restaurants. 


Restaurant Employee Relief Fund 

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) set up the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to help restaurant industry employees experiencing hardship during the Coronavirus outbreak. According to the NRAEF, “Through this Fund, grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have been impacted by COVID-19, including a decrease in wages or loss of employment. Grants will be awarded as soon as possible to those individuals who meet the prescribed eligibility criteria.” The NRAEF has partnered with several organizations who are making donations to help eligible food services workers. You can access their website here to apply for assistance or make a donation.

SBA Paycheck Protection Program 

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released the official rule for the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including the formula for calculating loan amounts and what the loan can cover. Small businesses and sole proprietors can begin applying for the federal loans through their lenders today. Independent contractors and self-employers can apply beginning April 10. 

Under the rule, businesses with 500 or fewer employees and 501(c)3 organizations are eligible to apply as long as they were in operation on Feb. 15, 2020. Sole proprietors and independent contractors are also eligible, but independent contractors need to apply themselves. A company cannot apply on behalf of a contractor.   

The maximum loan amount is $10 million at an interest rate of 1% and a two-year term. PPP loans will be provided on a first-come-first served basis, so we recommend contacting your current lender as soon as possible to apply. Lenders will prioritize their current customers’ applications. You can access the SBA’s PPP webpage here to find a host of resources and guides available to small business owners.

Resources From The U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Temporary Paid Leave & Family Medical Leave Guide

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides new temporary paid sick leave and paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) programs that are 100% reimbursable by the federal government. You can access the U.S Chamber of Commerce webpage here to view the guide which provides information on requirements, employee eligibility, paid leave calculations and exemptions.


Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist – Infographic

The U.S. Chamber’s Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist serves as a comprehensive step-by-step tool to help small businesses, independent contractors, gig economy workers and other qualifying individuals prepare to file for a coronavirus relief loan under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The guide is also available for download in Spanish here.


Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program Guide

The CARES Act expanded the Small Business Administration’s long-standing Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program to help you during the current pandemic. The EIDL program was created to assist businesses, renters, and homeowners located in regions affected by declared disasters. The program is applicable to small businesses and most small nonprofits (less than 500 employees), sole proprietors and independent contractors. Access the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Guide by clicking here to check eligibility, understand loan parameters, and find out how to access $10,000 emergency grants. 


Employee Retention Tax Credit Guide

The CARES Act also created a new employee retention tax credit—that does not have size restrictions—for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Access the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Guide by clicking here to help your businesses check eligibility, calculate your credit, understand which employees count toward eligibility, and find other important pieces of information. 


Coronavirus Small Business Guide

The U.S. Chamber’s own interactive digital platform has created an array of tools for small businesses to help navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. You can stay up-to-date with the latest news and update to digital guides, social media graphics and tools, small business advice, resources, and proposals for government action. Click here to access the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website that will help you navigate the pandemic.


Continue Reading: Part 2 – 3 Proactive Solutions & Virtual Consultations