Bennet, Young Build Momentum for RESTART Act

Senators’ Bipartisan Proposal Would Support Hardest-Hit Small- and Mid-Sized Businesses Through Next 6 Months

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) continue to build momentum for their bipartisan Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery in Twenty-twenty (RESTART) Act to support the small- and mid-sized businesses most affected by the novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis. Over 25 national and international trade associations, from music venues to manufacturing companies, have endorsed the proposal, and 10 senators – 5 Republicans and 5 Democrats – have joined Bennet and Young in co-sponsoring the bill.

The proposal, which the senators introduced in May, responds to the urgent needs of hard-hit restaurants, gyms, hotels, retailers, concert venues, and other businesses and nonprofits by creating a loan program to help keep them afloat through the remainder of 2020 and provide loan forgiveness as a backstop against continuing economic challenges. Today, Congressmen Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) introduced a companion bill for the RESTART Act in the House. 

“If we’re going to get our economy back on its feet – which I’m confident that we will – we have to make sure the tens of millions of Americans who are unemployed have jobs to return to. For that to happen, we need to make sure the hardest-hit businesses across Colorado and the country stay in business – and survive – as we face our new normal,” said Bennet. “Businesses across a wide cross-section of industries – from concert venues to restaurants to hotels and manufacturing companies – endorse the RESTART Act because they know it’s tailored for their needs and allows them to take out the loan with flexible options for forgiveness and ample time to repay it. Unless Congress acts, we’re going to see a lot of businesses close their doors and never reopen – turning temporary job losses into permanent ones. We cannot let that happen, and it’s why we need to pass the RESTART Act.”  

“Since introducing the RESTART Act in May, we’ve received widespread support from organizations across the country. I recently visited eight small businesses in eight Indiana cities to learn more about how the RESTART Act would benefit them. The overwhelming consensus was that Hoosiers want this legislation to pass and help restart the economy,” said Young. “When the Senate reconvenes later this month, we will begin debating the next round of coronavirus relief. I will be pushing very hard for the RESTART Act to be included in any relief package, and I’m hopeful that we can come together to pass this bill quickly. Our businesses need this relief or many will not be able to survive.”  

In addition to Bennet, the bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). 

RESTART Trade Association Endorsements: American Gaming Association (AGA); American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA); American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA); American Sportfishing Association (ASA); Broadway League; Coalition for Preserving American Furniture & Fabric Manufacturing; Economic Innovation Group (EIG); Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA); The GRAMMY Awards ®; Hotel Association of New York City (HANYC); Home Furnishings Association (HFA); International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA); International Franchise Association (IFA); International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA); International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA); Live Events Coalition; Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA); National Association of Manufacturers (NAM); National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (Nareit); National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO); National Independent Talent Organization (NITO); National Independent Venue Association (NIVA); National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA); National Restaurant Association; Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA); Outdoor Industry Association (OIA); PLAY Sports Coalition; Snowsports Industries America (SIA); Sports Events and Tourism Association (Sports ETA); Vail Valley Partnership; American Pyrotechnics Association (APA); Minor League Baseball (MiLB); Sport and Social Industry Association (SSIA); Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI); RV Industry Association; SESAC; Sport and Social Industry Association (SSIA) 

What business leaders are saying:  

Shuttered Businesses (organized by National Association of Theater Owners - NATO)

“We are representatives of the large community of shuttered businesses in the motion picture exhibition, entertainment, recreation, travel, live music, and restaurant industries that collectively employ millions of Americans. The RESTART Act provides a solution to the desperate need for capital we are facing[, and] without a loan program such as the one contemplated in the RESTART Act, we fear our businesses simply will not survive this crisis.” 

American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)

“Thank you for your show of bipartisanship and support for #smallbiz hotels through the RESTART Act. The hospitality industry needs access to these critical funds to ensure we can welcome back employees and doors stay open.” 

National Independent Venue Association  

“The National Independent Venue Association applauds Senator Todd Young (R-IN) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO)  for introducing the RESTART Act to support the small- and mid-sized businesses most affected by the COVID-19 crisis...The RESTART Act will go a long way toward enabling the survival of shuttered small businesses like ours that  are operating with zero revenue, high overhead, and an uncertain time frame for reopening.” 

A full list of statements of support is available HERE

Throughout this pandemic, data has demonstrated how small businesses are bearing the economic brunt of COVID-19 with no sign of relief. With a still-declining economy, high unemployment, and rapidly increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, it is imperative that small- and mid-sized businesses have the flexibility to spend PPP money in the most effective manners for their businesses. The RESTART Act provides businesses with the support they need to face this economic downturn before it’s too late. 

The Case for RESTART: Small and Medium-Sized Business Data 

Small Business Data 

From the Census Small Business Pulse Survey,[1] updated for the week of 6/14 to 6/20:  

  • 83% of small businesses reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a large or moderate negative effect on business

  • 45% of small businesses reported a decrease in operating revenues/sales/receipts during the second week of June.  

  • 11% of small businesses reported a decrease in the number of paid employees during the first week of June.

  • Some businesses that have not reduced employees have still reduced employee hours: around 25% of small businesses reported a reduction in total number of hours worked by paid employees during the same timeframe.  

  • 75% of small businesses do not have enough cash on hand to cover more than two months of business operations, including financial assistance and loans.  

  • 75% of small businesses have requested financial assistance from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) since March 13, 2020. 

  • 40% of small businesses believe it will take more than six months for business to return to its normal level of operations relative to 2019. 

Real time economic data indicates a potential stall in small business recovery:[2] 

  • As of June 16, total small business revenue decreased by 16.7% relative to January 2020.

    • Revenue for businesses in high-income ZIP codes decreased by 23.7% compared to January 2020, while revenue for businesses in low-income ZIP codes decreased by 10.2 %

  • The number of hours worked at small businesses has decreased by 28% since January 2020. 

  • The number of small business locations open is down 22% since January 2020.

  • The number of employees working at small businesses is down 27% since January 2020. 

Hardest-Hit Industry Data 

Travel and Hospitality[3] 

  • 8 in 10 hotel rooms are empty across the United States.

  • The hotel industry is projected to suffer revenue losses of 57.5% in 2020

  • In April 2020, U.S. hotel operating profits fell by 117% compared to 2019.

  • In mid-June 2020, total rooms sold were half the amount of the total rooms sold last year.[4]  

  • With 70% of hotel employees laid off or furloughed, hotel workers are losing over $2.4 billion per week

  • As of June 16, leisure and hospitality small business revenue has decreased by 40.6%  since January 2020.[5] 


  • Between March and May 2020, restaurant sales fell nearly $27 billion from pre-coronavirus sales in January and February 2020. 

  • April 2020 saw $29.3 billion in sales, the lowest sales level since February 1983.  

  • Between March and May 2020, total sales were down more than $94 billion from expected levels.

  • As of mid-June, 1 in 5 food and drink locations are closed relative to the beginning of March, and 30% fewer employees are working than were working prior to the pandemic.[7] 

Music Venues and Theaters[1] 

  • 90% of independent concert venues expect to permanently close down in a few months if shutdowns persist and no federal funding becomes available

  • Independent venues are forecast to lose almost $9 billion in revenue if the rest of 2020 remains dark. 

  • 92% of small businesses in the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation industry reported that the pandemic had a negative effect on their business.  

  • As of mid-June, 1 in 3 leisure and entertainment business locations are closed relative to pre-pandemic levels, and 1 in 3 employees in the industry are no longer working.[2] 

A PDF of the new data is available HERE