ARLINGTON, Texas - Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive orders do not provide an immediate path for restaurants to resume in-dining options.
Some restaurant owners were hoping to take advantage of the government's stimulus package and paycheck protection loans, but missed out on money that's now gone.
There are North Texas business owners struggling to stay afloat, who are now without the government help they needed.
This was a huge blow to a lot of business owners who were counting on that money to keep their doors open and employees on staff.
Many restaurant owners said they filed for the loans the first day they were able to and sent in all the documentation asked of them, only to still be left without.
“This has been a dream of mine for probably three or four years now, so to finally have it and feel like it’s going to be taken away, it’s difficult,” said Brandon Hurtado, owner of Hurtado BBQ.
Hurtado opened the doors to his BBQ restaurant earlier this year.
But just three weeks later, coronavirus restrictions shut down their dining room, and he lost more than half his business
Still, he continued to hire in order to ramp up his new enterprise
“So we brought more people on with the hopes of getting government funding through the PPP program,” he said. “So that was kind of our saving grace at the end of the day, but when it didn’t come through, it’s been really disappointing for us.”
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Hurtado applied for the PPP loan the first day of the program, but said there was confusion among banks about what information was required for the federal loan.
He finally got an email Thursday that the money for the program was out.
“We were depending on that wholeheartedly. That’s the future of our business, and like I said, that’s the difference between us having to lay employees off and not having to lay them off,” Hurtado said.
Next door, the owner of the Tipsy Oak had to furlough 95 percent of her staff, and is sitting on a new restaurant that was supposed to open March 16 – the week many restaurants started to close.
She applied for a PPP loan, but said the process required jumping through many hoops.
“We applied four weeks ago now, and now we’ve submitted it four different times. Each time it’s come back with a new guideline or a new step we have to go through,” said Julia von Ehrenfried, owner of The Tipsy Oak.
Though they’ve been approved, they’re still not sure if the money will come through since the program is out of funding.
“It makes us feel uneasy and nervous because we need that money for our team, and we need that money to continue to grow,” she added.
The Texas Restaurant Association said more than half of their members who applied for a PP loan haven’t heard back, and now the money is gone.
But there may be light at the end of the tunnel, as Gov. Abbott said an announcement on re-opening restaurants and other businesses may be soon.
“We’re going to keep working hard, keep grinding, rely on the community and our customers to continue to support us, and pray that we make it through this,” Hurtado said.
The Texas Restaurant Association is lobbying federal lawmakers to keep funding the program and revise the loan restrictions to make it easier for restaurants to apply.
They’ve also created a Texas restaurant relief fund to provide grants up to $5,000 for business owners in need.