In an unparalleled attempt to contain the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of stores and other businesses are closing their doors to customers, according to reports on Wednesday (March 18).
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is forecasting a drop in sales of $225 billion over the next three months due to the outbreak.
The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) CEO Tom McGee told CNBC that the shopping center industry brings in some $400 billion in state and local taxes, and that action from the government is needed sooner rather than later.
ICSC sent a letter addressed to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, asking the government to step in with financial assistance.
“These closures are placing an insurmountable strain on our members, and we believe federal government action is urgently needed,” McGee said. “In the most immediate term, we believe the federal government should guarantee or directly pay for business interruption coverage for retailers, restaurants and other tenants as well as landlords.”
He pointed that even though some businesses have insurance, the coronavirus isn’t covered.
Many malls and retailers had to temporarily close due to local mandates. In New Jersey’s Bergen County, all malls were told to close. Hudson Yards in New York City also closed, in addition to the Mall of America in Minnesota, American Dream in New Jersey and King of Prussia in Pennsylvania.
The NRA asked for a $145 billion recovery fund from the Treasury Department for the restaurant and foodservice industry. It anticipates that more than a third of restaurant jobs –anywhere from five to seven million – will be lost if the industry closes for three months.
The lobbying group sent a letter addressed to President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, requesting the creation of a $145 billion recovery fund for the restaurant and foodservice industry.
“Without aggressive and immediate action from the federal government, many restaurants that are a staple of local communities will simply never resume service,” Sean Kennedy, vice president of public affairs for the NRA, said in the letter.
Grubhub joined local leaders in launching a relief effort for independent restaurants that are adversely affected by the coronavirus.