Senate extends small business coronavirus relief program

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats drove a temporary extension of a popular subsidy program for small businesses through the GOP-controlled Senate late Tuesday, an unexpected development that came as spikes in coronavirus cases in many states are causing renewed shutdowns of bars and other businesses.

The move by Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin came hours before a deadline for applying for the program, which was created in March and modified twice since. Cardin, the top Democrat on the Small Business Committee, asked for unanimous approval of the extension of the Paycheck Protection Program through Aug. 8.

Minority lawmakers are hardly ever successful in such attempts, but the pressure swayed Republicans controlling the Senate, who have delayed consideration of a fifth coronavirus relief bill and are preparing to go home for a two-week recess.

About $130 billion remains of $660 billion approved so far for the subsidy program, which provides direct subsidies to businesses harmed by the coronavirus pandemic, which slammed the economy as consumers and workers were forced to stay at home through much of spring.

The subsidies come in the form of federal loans that can be forgiven if businesses follow rules such as utilizing 60% of the loan for payroll costs. The loans been a lifeline to more than 4 million businesses.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York took a victory lap after the unexpectedly successful maneuver, saying renewed economic troubles are reviving interest in the program.

“There are large numbers of businesses who are going to need to apply now. Had this program run out today, they would have been out of luck,” Schumer said. “Now with this renewal, short time, August 8, they at least get the chance to reapply.”

Restaurant Stocks That Still Look Tasty As the Economy Reopens

As part of our national response to the Covid-19 pandemic, many Americans considered it their patriotic, if not moral, duty to support the restaurant industry. And while many consumers were intensely focused on their small, local restaurants, the national chains were still open for business during this time.

And the reality is that the national chains are going to be the most adaptable to whatever pace of economic recovery we see. Hopes for a “V” shaped recovery have pretty much gone out the window. The new model suggests a stair-step recovery may be the best-case scenario.

The worst case scenario for the restaurant industry will be one where different regions of the country are subject to rolling lockdowns. In a business with notoriously low margins, an open/close, open/close recovery would be disastrous.

It’s one reason why I’m not sure I would be diving into restaurant stocks right now. But the same was being said of airline stocks and cruise line stocks. And sure enough, discount investors have been trying to invest in these stocks.

But as all 50 states have now re-opened in some fashion, it’s not unlikely that restaurant stocks are drawing attention from investors. We’ve put together this presentation that highlights seven restaurant stocks that you should consider looking at if you want to dive into this sector.

View the “Restaurant Stocks That Still Look Tasty As the Economy Reopens”.