HEALS Act Shows Promise but Changes Are Needed
Proposed Legislation Requires Changes in Order to Provide Effective Financial Assistance to the Foodservice Industry
Contact: Meghan Cieslak, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703.962.9950
Statement by Mark Allen, President & CEO of the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) about the recently introduced Health Care Economic Assistance Liability Protection and Schools, or HEALS Act.
“We are pleased to see the strong progress the HEALS Act makes to ensure America and its many businesses can recover from the COVID-19 crisis. As the pandemic affects communities everywhere, the foodservice industry continues to be adversely impacted as states begin to roll back on-premise dining and will require further financial assistance. Though the HEALS Act contains a new program to provide further financial assistance to businesses, some of the proposed restrictions are too burdensome and should be revised in order to achieve their purpose and provide much needed relief to the foodservice distribution industry and their restaurant industry partners.
Senator Rubio’s proposal requiring employers to show a 50 percent revenue loss to qualify for a second Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan is particularly problematic. This puts the focus on businesses on the brink of failure. The legislation should be designed to help struggling, yet viable, employers before they are on the brink of failure. The restaurant industry goes into the red well before reaching that 50 percent threshold. In support of our partners in the restaurant industry, IFDA believes this threshold should be set at a more reasonable 20 percent.
We applaud the Senate’s efforts to allow business owners to use PPP funds to pay suppliers which will be helpful to restaurant owners, among the hardest hit by the pandemic. This change will provide the necessary support to help them pay for the food and supplies they need to keep their kitchens cooking.
The next phase of PPP funds should be designed to ensure relief goes to as many businesses, who have been deeply, and adversely impacted, as possible. This is especially true with the situation we are in now, where tens of thousands of restaurants are determining whether they can afford to stay open for another month much less through the fall and beyond. Many will base their decisions on what Congress ultimately enacts. We look forward to working with the Senate to improve the bill and ensure that our nation’s restaurants and their distributor partners can survive this crisis.”
The International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) is the premier trade organization representing the $303 billion foodservice distribution industry and the 350,000 people it employs. This industry ensures a safe and efficient supply of food and products to more than one million restaurants and foodservice outlets in the U.S. every day. For more information, visit www.ifdaonline.org