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House Votes to Change Paycheck Protection Program After Urging From Restaurants

Plus, Necco wafers have returned, and more news to start your day

Man wearing face mask in the kitchen.
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

The new Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act includes desperately needed changes

Of the restaurants that were able to access the initial PPP loans, many found the program woefully inadequate. Funds needed to be spent within eight weeks, and 75% of the loan had to be go to payroll, a difficulty especially for restaurants running at limited capacity — or not running at at all — that often must spend a fair amount of budgets on things like supplies and rent. Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted to extend the Paycheck Protection Program, and to amend it.

The new rules, which were passed with nearly unanimous support, say small businesses have 24 weeks to use the funds, and that just 60% of the loan has to be used for payroll expenses. The bill would also extend the loan limit from two to five years. It now faces a vote in the Senate. “The passage of the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act is a sign that both parties agree that the Paycheck Protection Program can work better for independent restaurants,” said the Independent Restaurant Coalition in a statement. However, the organization notes,even if these changes to the PPP become law, independent restaurants face nearly insurmountable odds to staying open over the next year as they face increasing costs and are forced to operate with reduced seating.” And given that only 7.8% of small businesses across the country have been approved for PPP funding, a lot more needs to be done.

And in other news...

  • Have you been snacking on communion crackers but wish they were a little sweeter? Good news, Necco wafers are back. [Food & Wine]
  • Starbucks employees are petitioning the company to extend the extra $3/hour service pay, as employees “risk our lives every single day going into our stores and providing for our customers and front-line workers.” []
  • Frozen foods, especially entire frozen meals, are more popular than they’ve been in a long time. [CNN]
  • What reopening looks like for a Michelin-starred restaurant in Germany. [NYTimes]
  • Would you dine under a “shield pod”? [Insider]
  • Even though the CDC says the risk of contamination from surfaces is low, the pandemic is making contactless payment appealing. [AdWeek]
  • It’ll take more than a pandemic to slow the sales of the Popeyes chicken sandwich. [QSR]
  • In Huntington, NY, you can get your beer delivered by two adorable dogs. [October]