Restaurants hoping for a safe reopening plan as more federal aid becomes available

North Texas restaurant owners are eager to hear what Gov. Greg Abbott will say on Monday. Many are in danger of closing for good if they cannot reopen safely and soon.

The restaurant industry has been hit harder than many others because of the coronavirus crisis in terms of sales and job losses.

The second round of financial help for small businesses will get underway Monday that millions of restaurants will be looking to access.

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Funding in the first round of the CARES Act was allocated in days and only 4.5% of that first aid package went to the restaurant industry.

The head of the Texas Restaurant Association said the much-needed help was unattainable for most restaurant owners. She’s a little more optimistic about the latest round.

“Yeah, I think we’ve seen the latest round of funding, another $300 billion that goes to the Paycheck Protection Program. We know it’s not perfect. We’re actually working really hard right now with our congressional delegation to try and make some changes to ensure that as we start to get reopening news today that our restaurants can qualify for that loan to turn into a grant and be forgivable,” said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, the association’s president and CEO.

But supporters are already warning that the additional $310 billion will be used up in a very short amount of time.

Knight believes about 40% of restaurants in North Texas won’t survive the COVID-19 closures.

The Texas Restaurant Association has formed a task force that’s working with the governor to establish rules to keep customers and employees safe. They include a shared commitment from customers not to come in sick.

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