The HEALS Act- What’s In It for Bars & Restaurants

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The GOP released their $1 trillion stimulus package meant to help the economy and Americans as businesses continue to struggle and unemployment remains in the double digit in the face of COVID-19. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnel was the one to release details around the HEALS act (which stands for health, economic, assistance, liability protection, and schools,) yesterday and the key points include:

  • Swapping out the generic $600 per week federal bonus to a 70% unemployment insurance
  • Until states are able to come up with a system to calculate a worker’s previous wage, the weekly benefit will be set at $200.
  • More direct payments at $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. The threshold that would start to phase out the checks is set at $75,000 and those above $99,000 may not receive anything
  • There is legislation that would protect businesses, a major sticking point between the right and the left. Cases of ‘gross negligence’ and ‘willful misconduct’ would be exempted from this legal shield.
  • The bill would re-up the Paycheck Protection Program with another $190 billion and would allow businesses that saw revenues decrease by 50% and have less than 300 employees apply again. 
  • $16 billion earmarked for helping states with COVID-19 testing capacity
  • $26 billion toward the development of coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics
  • Business meals would be 100% tax-deductible, something that President Trump brought up several times during the Restaurant Roundtable hosted at the White House several weeks ago.
  • Tax credits and enhanced employee retention credits

In a sign of the debate ahead, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, cited the proposal was ‘pathetic’. The Democratic led House has had their own $3 trillion relief plan named the HEROES Act that has been sitting since May. 

It will now be up to leaders from both parties to iron out the details and come to a consensus as the benefits for millions of Americans runs out this week. Congress is hoping to pass a bill by mid-August but bridging this divide will not be an easy course.

Stay tuned, we'll be updating this story as more details and developments arise.

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