It’s beginning to look like we’ll have to wait until the Georgia runoff elections are over and decided until we see any further movement on a new COVID relief bill out of Congress. Although momentum seemed to be building over the past week or so, control of the US Senate may be getting “in the way” of effective legislation – now, when it is needed. If republicans win one of the two Georgia runoffs, they will maintain control of the Senate next session. Senate Republicans appear to be holding out for the business liability shields that Majority Leader McConnell established as his priority, while the #2 Democrat in the upper chamber, Senator Dick Durbin, has taken the lead in blocking liability shields. House Democrats (in the majority through 2022) have drawn their line in the sand as well with the amount of state/local government aid being their deal-breaker. Caught in between those two issues is the relief that restaurants and other small business owners so desperately need. In fact, the National Restaurant Association, which is pleading with Congress to pass a new relief bill, reported this week that 110,000 restaurants have closed permanently in 2020 (10,000 of which happened within the past 3 months). Further, the latest NRA survey of 6,000 restaurant operators revealed that 87% of full-service restaurants reported an average of 36% drop in revenue, while 65% of franchisee limited-service restaurants saw revenues decline 14%. In perhaps the worst news of their survey, NRA found that 37% of restaurants saw it “unlikely” they will still be open in 6 months! Congress needs to pass a new coronavirus relief measure now!