With breweries across the country struggling to survive an extended period of on-premise closures during the coronavirus pandemic, 21st Amendment Brewery issued a “Call To Action” for state and local officials to act immediately.
On March 30th, the Bay Area-iconic brewery announced an urgent Call To Action asking local and state officials to advocate for commercial lenders to institute a 60-day moratorium on principal and interest payments for small businesses during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
While four big banks — Citigroup, JPMorgan, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo — as well as hundreds of state-chartered banks and credit unions are already delaying delay the collection of mortgage payments for those affected by the crisis, 21st Amendment is advocating that all commercial lenders follow suit.
Such an effort would allow small businesses to cover payroll expenses to retain staff employees according to Nico Freccia, Co-Founder and CEO of 21st Amendment Brewery:
“One month of bank principal and interest payments would cover 100% of our ENTIRE company’s current monthly payroll. And right now, with reduced and limited revenue, we need that money going into the pockets of our workers and our communities.
“Instead, we are faced with that revenue going into the pockets of the banks, in our case an international company owned by a foreign entity.
“All of us need to publicly call on commercial lenders now to voluntarily offer a moratorium for a minimum of 60 days on principal and interest payments during this crisis.”
Brewing serious beer since it first launched in 2000, 21st Amendment Brewery operates a brewery/restaurant in San Francisco and a production facility and taproom in San Leandro, California that employs over 110 people in the Bay area.
After the shelter in place order was mandated, the brewery was forced to lay off or furlough all of its hospitality workers, approximately 60 in total.
Although the production facility in San Leandro is still allowed to continue operating, the brewery has drastically scaled back its production payroll. And with a 60-day moratorium on principal and interest payments, 21st Amendment and many other local small businesses would be allowed to provide income to workers within their communities.
“We have repeatedly asked our bank for deferral of principal and interest payments, which are due in just a few days,” said Freccia. “They have yet to offer any relief, specifically stating that while Congress wants them to be accommodating, there has not been any official guidance released for them.”
Under a deferral program, banks will still receive their principal and continue to accrue interest. While there is no hardship to the banks, a 60-day moratorium on payments could substantially help Bay Area small businesses weather this storm and keep staff employed.