Plattsburgh restaurants push for another round of payroll protection

New York

To make ends meet, Plattsburgh restaurants are making a push for another round of federal aid.

Until the latest round of assistance wrapped up in early August, the Paycheck Protection Program provides some $620 billion in loans to businesses as an incentive for businesses to keep workers on their payrolls. Supporters of the program say Congress needs to reauthorize another round of PPP to help businesses continue to recover from the pandemic.

Garry Douglas, president and CEO of North Country Chamber of Commerce, said two-thirds of North Country restaurants have taken advantage of the program already, and without another round of PPP, they will experience a second crisis.

“Outdoor seating is about to fade away,” Douglas said. “It’s a natural function of weather in our region. And the effect of the PPP program is behind us. That helped get them through summer.”

According to the Chamber, 74 percent of restaurants have added outdoor seating to make up for restrictions on indoor dining. But as fall weather rolls in, and fewer people dine outdoors, restaurant’s will be limited to 50 percent capacity indoors, which many restaurants say isn’t profitable.

“I am hoping that people remain just as loyal as they have been through this through the fall and into the winter months,” said Julie Lilledahl, owner of Mickey’s Restaurant and Lounge.

Lilledahl says outdoor dining has helped. But when it’s time to move indoors, she’s hoping she can seat more customers. “Every day, we keep hoping that Gov. Cuomo is going to say let’s try 75% percent,” she said

Just down the road from Mickey’s at, Anthony’s Restaurant & Bistro, owner and Executive Chef Scott Murray, said he’s not had to rely on take-out and outdoor dining, but shutting down wasn’t an option for him. He used his personal savings to stay open, but is hoping for another round of PPP.

“I’ve never had to tackle some of the environments that have been thrown at us,” he said. “The PPP really allowed us to stay open and understand that the cash flow would be there.”

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