Small Outdoors Businesses Protections

Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Proposes Payroll Protection for Small Outdoors Businesses

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable and its members are working tirelessly to support the outdoor industry’s small businesses, which make up approximately 90% of the industry, by urging the Small Business Administration (in a letter) and Congress to make adjustments to the Payroll Protection Program and move forward swiftly on another relief package. These actions include smart policy fixes and investments that will provide much-needed support to save small businesses in the outdoor sector and restart the outdoor recreation economy.

Specifically, ORR is urging the SBA and Congress to make the following adjustments:

  • Provide Flexibility for the way Seasonal Employers Calculate PPP Loan Forgiveness and Loan Eligibility
  • Extension of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)Beyond 8 weeks
  • Expansion of SBA Lending Authority to Meet Demand
  • Add C6 Nonprofit Eligibility to Help Trade Recreation Associations Stay Afloat
  • Waive Fees on Public Lands and Waters and Extend Contracts/Permits
  • Add Outdoor Recreation Businesses to Waived Affiliation Rules

For more information on these proposed adjustments, click here.

“Around 90 percent of the $778 billion outdoor industry is made up of small businesses with many of them being traditional ‘mom and pop’ shops and economic drivers in their rural communities. We are fighting for Congress and the administration to support these small businesses, as many of them will be gone before the summer is over if more isn’t done for them to qualify for these programs,” said Jessica Wahl, Executive Director of ORR. “If Congress and the administration make these adjustments, the outdoor recreation industry can do what it does best – revitalize communities, create jobs, support healthy people, improve quality of life and hopefully provide access to amazing outdoor experiences for generations to come.”

Wahl continued, “These proposed fixes to the system are not included in the most recent legislation providing additional funds to the Paycheck Protection Program. While many outdoor businesses will benefit from the additional availability of funds, and we urge the House to pass this measure, there are still challenges with the program for our seasonal sectors that needs attention.”

Outdoor recreation businesses, like many other sectors, are suffering and in danger of failing because of the COVID-19 outbreak and the ensuing efforts to mitigate the virus’ spread, including social distancing, travel restrictions, caps on group size, public land and retail closures, supply chain issues and more. This is amplified because recreation businesses oftentimes rely on seasonal trips and travel and should be kicking off the busy spring and summer months, but instead are shuttered. They also rely on accessibility to recreation assets on our public lands and waters, adequate infrastructure, and the certainty of manufacturing, retail and trade, all of which have been interrupted.

Over the last few weeks, ORR gathered the following accounts from outdoor recreation small business owners:

·One marine retailer said, “Our primary concern is cash flow. We will not be able to pay employees as we are forced to shut down. We will also be in a bind trying to cover operational expenses. With no income, we would not be able to pay bills.”

·National forest concessioners weighed in saying, “Federal land managers are trying to be flexible in their management of public land recreation concessioners – most of which are seasonal operators who may effectively lose an entire year of revenues – to address the current hardships they face but are telling concessioners ‘their hands are tied by existing laws and regulations’.”

·One rafting outfitter said, “We are an outfitter that does multi-day trips throughout the West. Our season was just about to begin, and we have spent a large part of our annual budget to get equipment, insurance, and office staff in place to run our trips. In the past week we’ve had many guests cancel plans and we’re now worried we could lose our entire income for the year, which comes from running trips March through August.”

·One outdoor apparel manufacturer said, “The effects of resuming production will be extremely disruptive to logistics and transportation as consumer product companies work to get deliveries back on track. Air and ocean freight congestion will be a challenge as soon as things start to move again.”

·One campground operator said, “If we cannot open there is no income to pay our mortgage, our electricity, our insurance, our water. Not only that, but it will impact our ability to pay ourselves the small salary we make. Our salary supports us and our five children.”