Tavern’s now qualify for COVID-19 aid

The members of Montana’s congressional delegation have announced that most taverns have been added to businesses eligible for federal assistance in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several Montana taverns were not eligible because of the income they received from gaming machines, but the U.S. Small Business Administration has expanded eligibility for aid like the Paycheck Protection Program to include taverns that make one-third of their income from gambling will now qualify as long as the profit is less than 50 percent of their total revenue and does not exceed $1 million.

Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., all had called on the SBA to loosen the restrictions to allow Montana taverns to qualify.

“Montana’s main street taverns are important small businesses that provide jobs and food, especially in frontier communities,” Tester said in a press release. “I’m glad the administration heard us loud and clear and reversed course, giving these employers much-needed relief as we deal with the effects of COVID-19.”

“Like small businesses throughout Montana, bars and taverns have been shut down by government order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. We need to help them keep workers on payroll and set them up to reopen after the public health threat has passed,” Gianforte said in a press release. “I appreciate the SBA responding quickly to my request to ensure all Montana small business have access to emergency resources as we confront this pandemic.”

“Montana taverns and bars have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic which has impacted over 40,000 Montana jobs,” Daines said in the same release. “I fought hard to ensure Montana’s taverns and bars are eligible for the same relief as other small businesses across the state to keep their workers employed. I’m glad the Small Business Administration acted quickly on my request to protect jobs and get this done for Montana workers.”