Restaurant owner expresses Paycheck Protection Program concerns

Local News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – “What we were originally told was a couple week lockdown has turned into, what nine months so far? Ten months?” Sneaky’s Chicken Owner Dave Ferris said.

It’s been almost a year since we first spoke with Ferris in March of 2020. Since then, Ferris says catering at Sneaky’s Chicken has been virtually nonexistent, with the exception of a few sporadic events–primarily for healthcare workers.

“Thirty-eight weddings on our books–every one canceled. One large company in the area [was] a $15,000 job, twice a year for us–canceled,” Ferris said.

The ongoing hit to catering comes amid new concerns regarding the next round of the Payment Protection Program.

According to the National Restaurant Association, businesses must show a 25 percent loss in revenue compared to the same quarter in 2019 to qualify. Sneaky’s is down 23 percent. Ferris calls the 25 percent threshold arbitrary.

“We’re down over $300,000 when you figure out everything in play over last year,” Ferris said.

Although certain mandates have been lifted, Ferris says it isn’t enough.

“For a place that seats 80 people, you start socially distancing, and you cut in pretty hard,” Ferris said.

Ferris says he spoke with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds when she last visited Sioux City before the November 2020 election to get some answers.

“I said ‘You tell me what has to switch on the dial’, and she was very honest with me, and she said ‘I don’t know’,” Ferris said.

While Ferris is unsure of how 2021 will play out for Sneaky’s Chicken, he says the continuous support of his staff and the community has made all the difference.

“A person [who] is really impaired and has underlying conditions–they need to take care of themselves and stay home. But if you’re young and healthy, and you have a chance to go out and help the economic conditions in your community, I say go for it,” Ferris said.

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