White House says relief for restaurants is in the works

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says measures will allow closed restaurants to continue paying their employees. Loans and direct payments to consumers would be part of a $1 trillion relief package.
Photograph by Heather Lalley

The White House is working with the Senate to push through a $1 trillion emergency relief bill, with provisions included specifically to help shuttered restaurants and other closed small businesses continue to pay employees.

We’ve told people, ‘Don’t go into restaurants,’” said Steve Mnuchin, secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department. “We want to make sure those businesses have money to pay their employees.”

The relief package will also include measures intended to bolster consumer spending. The Trump administration has said it intends to give consumers $250 billion in direct payments. Mnuchin said earlier that President Trump wants those payments in consumers' hands within two weeks.

The White House has also aired hopes that an increasing proportion of all dollars spent on food will go to restaurants offering drive-thru service.

Mnuchin said the relief package will consist of the direct payments, a cut in payroll taxes and loans to businesses in need of liquidity.

The secretary said negotiations are ongoing with the Senate’s Republican leadership to push through a package quickly.  

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he’s formed three task forces to work with Treasury to come up with a bill that Senate Republicans will support. The Republican caucus will then negotiate with Congressional Democrats, McConnell said.

He said he will not allow senators to leave Washington to recess until a measure is pushed through.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


7 Brew is coming to your town, whether you like it or not

The drive-thru coffee chain is one of the fastest-growing concepts in the U.S. and has deals to keep it going. The company believes it has the training in place to make it work.


It's time to send 'ghost kitchen' to the graveyard

Tech Check: The catch-all term for delivery restaurants is no longer accurate. Let’s lay it to rest and come up with a new label.


Higher-end consumers may be slowing their spending

The Bottom Line: There is some evidence that higher-income consumers may be cutting back. Or maybe there was just some pent-up demand.


More from our partners