Tester Pushes to Ensure Montana’s Taverns are Included in Coronavirus Relief Programs

Tester: “These establishments are important employers…in some of our most frontier communities”

As the Small Business Administration (SBA) finalizes new coronavirus relief initiatives, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is urging the agency to make sure Montana’s mainstreet taverns are not left behind.

In a letter to Administrator Jovita Carranza, Tester outlined the concerns of Montana’s tavern owners that establishments making more than a third of their revenue from gaming machines might be excluded from the Paycheck Protection Program in the CARES Act, which Tester helped pass, and urged her to make sure taverns would be eligible for all CARES Act relief programs.

“While Congress clearly intended for this program to help the hardest hit mainstreet businesses deal with COVID-19, there are some questions about the eligibility of mainstreet taverns that receive more than one third of their revenue from gaming,” Tester wrote. “These establishments are important employers…in some of our most frontier communities…These family-run small businesses must have access to the resources that Congress provided to ensure economic stability in our rural communities. We cannot leave them behind.”

Tester fought to ensure the CARES Act included the Paycheck Protection Program-a critical lifeline intended to help small businesses keep the lights on.

Tester has been working tirelessly to ensure that Montana is prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Senate last week, after 72 hours negotiating substantial, bipartisan improvements to COVID-19 stimulus legislation that had previously fallen far short, Tester voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and others hardest hit by the outbreak. This funding includes $1.25 billion for the state of Montana.

Tester’s letter to the SBA is available HERE

Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresouces for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak