December 23, 2020
by Rachel Ellis
Some in the Lowcountry hospitality industry said a new COVID-19 stimulus deal would be a sigh of relief, but small business advocates believe a package needed to be signed off months ago.
Local food and beverage leaders said a completed COVID-19 relief bill could be the difference between some restaurants staying open or being forced to shut down for good.
Home Team BBQ, a Charleston area restaurant, is one restaurant holding onto hope for stimulus money.
“A second round of PPP really gives us some security as we move through the winter,” Aaron Siegel said.
Siegel is an operating partner at Home Team. He said new stimulus funding is needed industrywide.
“Even a 25 percent reduction in sales or a 20 percent reduction in sales can really decimate a restaurant,” he said.
He explained that bar and restaurant owners are hardworking and want to keep their doors open.
“You want to keep your teams together when this whole thing is over. We have already had to erase our teams and close down once. If we had to do that again and let people go because of really tight margins, and things like that, it would be really tough on our industry,” Siegel said.
Leaders with the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce said a new COVID deal needed to be approved a long time ago.
“It’s unconscionable that they waited to the last second of 2020 to do something to help save small businesses,” President and CEO of South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce Frank Knapp said.
Knapp urges business owners to get organized now.
“They are still going to have to get all of their documentation together. They are going to have to demonstrate what losses they had in 2020 versus 2019,” he said.
Home Team is already planning ahead.
“We’re going to stay on top of our applications and we have already been working on them for the last couple of weeks,” Siegel added.
Siegel said it’s an effort to do what’s best for his staff.
“We spent all of our money the first time around on payroll. Every bit of it. And we’ll probably do that the second time around too,” Siegel said.
South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce believes the COVID-19 bill is improved this time around.