ICSC’s McGee asks Congress to create fund for ailing retail businesses
Noting that the shopping center industry plays a vital role in the economic, civic, and social viabilities of communities nationwide, International Council of Shopping Centers president Tom McGee has urged Congress to pass a recovery fund bill for businesses debilitated by the coronavirus pandemic.
McGee praised the passage of the CARES Act, but added that “a bolder step is needed to address the unprecedented economic challenges facing our nation.” Otherwise, he warned, “long-term damage to the financial markets, rampant unemployment, and irreparable harm to communities are a near certainty.”
The COVID-19 Business and Employee Continuity and Recovery Fund, touted by a broad coalition of businesses, would be underwritten by the federal government and operate under the authority of a special federal administrator, who would facilitate the distribution of funds and liquidity to needy businesses. Payouts would help them maintain payroll, benefits, and meet debt and rent obligations.
ICSC, with a member network of nearly 70,000, represents owners, developers, financial institutions, professional service providers, and shopping center tenants such as retailers, restaurants, gyms, health centers and service providers. Nearly 70% of shopping center tenants are small businesses that employ fewer than 10 people.
Of the estimated $6.7 trillion of consumer activity generated by these businesses, ICSC holds that the majority occur at shopping centers. Nearly one out of every four American jobs is retail-related, the organization stated.