Image shows furniture showroom buildings
The spring High Point Market was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ask your representatives for the help you need

Congress and President Donald Trump have enacted several measures to provide relief and recovery assistance in response to the coronavirus outbreak. More help is needed. Please write to your senators and representatives and urge them to support these measures. You can find their contact information here.

A sample letter follows:

 

The Honorable ________________

 

Dear Senator ___________________

Dear Senator _______________________

Dear Representative ________________

Furniture store sales plummeted 66.5 percent in April 2020 as compared to April 2019. While I thank you for your support of the relief and recovery measures enacted so far, my business needs more help to survive. Please include in the next legislative package:

  • The RESTART Act.
  • Liability protection.
  • Loan and rent forbearance.

A better lending program

The RESTART Act, proposed by Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), would accomplish two critical objectives. The first is to extend the eight-week period to 16 weeks as the timeframe for businesses to use loan funds secured through the Paycheck Protection Program to pay employees and earn loan forgiveness. Eight weeks does not give us time to reopen, resume full operations and bring all our employees back to work.

The second important feature of the RESTART Act is to create a new lending vehicle with favorable terms, fewer restrictions and up to seven years to repay loans. Because recovery is likely to require several years, sustained support through low-interest, partially forgivable loans will be needed for businesses like mine to climb out of a very deep hole and return to long-term viability.

Liability protection

Liability protection related to the COVID-19 crisis is needed as my business reopens. I will implement social distancing, restrict the number of customers in my store, promote the use of personal protective equipment, clean frequently and follow other measures as set out by the Centers for Disease Control, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other agencies. I will do everything I can to maintain a healthy workplace for my employees and a safe shopping environment for my customers.

I am afraid, however, that an unwarranted legal claim against my business could force me to spend thousands of dollars at a time when I am already in a fragile financial condition. Please craft legislation to relieve businesses like mine of liability concerns provided we adhere to applicable government guidelines for health and safety.

Lender, landlord forbearance

Finally, I am asking you to provide short-term forbearance of obligations to lenders and landlords. While income is suppressed, being held to existing payment schedules can lead to ruin. Temporary forbearance will allow time for my business and others to get back on our feet, rebuild revenue and restore employment.

I understand that there are many needs throughout the country that have yet to be addressed. My state and local governments must have the financial resources required to support public health systems, first responders, law enforcement, schools and other services that all businesses depend on to operate in a stable environment. Employees who can’t return to work need help to feed, clothe and shelter their families. We all rely on the medical professionals and others who are on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.

As you see to all these needs with the goal of preserving the welfare of the American people, I ask that you also enact the RESTART Act, provide protection from liability for COVID-19-related claims, and enforce short-term loan and rent/lease forbearance. Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

[HFA COVID-19 Recovery Resources]

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