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Legislation package introduced to assist New York's restaurant and hospitality industry

Industry expects 10,000 restaurants to close in next 3 months
Posted at 1:10 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 13:11:02-05

NEW YORK (WKBW) — New York State Senator George Borrello and members of the Senate Republican Conference announced a package of legislation has been introduced to help “Reset New York’s Restaurant and Hospitality Industry.”

Officials say a comprehensive bill sponsored by Senator Borrello is part of the package of legislation. The bill would:

  • Exempt small businesses from being penalized with higher unemployment insurance rates due to layoffs resulting from COVID-related, government-mandated closures. The exemption would extend for a period of one year from when they are permitted to return to full capacity;
  • Prohibit internet-based food delivery services from charging higher fees than they charged on or before March 1, 2020;
  • Provide small businesses additional time to pay monthly sales and payroll taxes, as well as, business and property taxes;
  • Offer interest-free loans or lines of credit to small businesses;
  • Provide a one year extension for renewal of liquor licenses; and
  • Provide businesses a 90 day grace period to pay any fees or penalties due to state and local agencies.

Also included in the plan:

  • Direct SLA-inflicted fines into a business relief fund to help small businesses get back on their feet (Senator Mike Martucci);
  • Provide for a credit on liquor license renewals for the amount of time bars and restaurants were forced to be shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Senator Joseph Griffo);
  • Create a limited state sales tax exemption for the sale of food and drink at restaurants and taverns from state sales and compensating use taxes and granting municipalities the option to grant such limited exemption (Senator Daphne Jordan);
  • Provide a tax check off box that will direct funds into a business relief fund (Senator Mario Mattera); and
  • Create an employee retention tax credit, modeled after the Federal Employee Retention Credit, to help employers keep workers on payroll (Senator Peter Oberacker).

“Unfortunately, our Governor does not seem to understand how important these restaurants, hotels, and their employees are to making our economy function. Using his executive authority, the Governor has put extremely damaging and burdensome restrictions on the industry without outlining any plan for how government will help reverse the damage it created. The Senate Democrats have been a voiceless non-entity in this situation, devoid of any plan of their own or proactive initiative to help. It’s high time state government – including the State Senate – roll up our sleeves and begin to restart, rethink, and renew our commitment to restaurants and hospitality businesses to make our State thrive again,” said Senator Borrello.

When presenting his budget proposal January 19, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the impact COVID-19 has had on all aspects of life, including restaurants.

The governor announced help could be on the way as part of a $130 million pandemic recovery and restart program which would include a $50 million credit for restaurants most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis such as New York City restaurants and those impacted by Orange and Red Zone closures.

During his proposal Cuomo said "Restaurants paid a really high price for what happened during COVID, many businesses were hurt, I believe restaurants would be at the top of the list. Even when other businesses reopened we still restrained restaurants because of the social gathering aspect of the business, but I did that with a very heavy heart."