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Customers wait for to-go orders outside Shake Shack in Miami Beach, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Shake Shack will return its entire $10 million Paycheck Protection Program loan from the federal government that it received as part of the coronavirus stimulus bill, the burger chain's leaders said in a LinkedIn post Sunday night.

Why it matters: The New York-based firm was among several restaurant chains to attract criticism for taking the loan, designed to protect small businesses from the fallout of lockdowns and other restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

What they're saying: "The "PPP" came with no user manual and it was extremely confusing," said Danny Meyer, Shake Shack's founder and CEO of its parent company, Union Square Hospitality Group, and Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti in the statement.

  • "Shake Shack was fortunate last Friday to be able to access the additional capital we needed to ensure our long term stability through an equity transaction in the public markets," they continued.
  • "We're thankful for that and we've decided to immediately return the entire $10 million PPP loan we received ... so that those restaurants who need it most can get it now."
"We now know that the first phase of the PPP was underfunded, and many who need it most, haven't gotten any assistance. ... Our people would benefit from a $10 million PPP loan but we’re fortunate to now have access to capital that others do not. Until every restaurant that needs it has had the same opportunity to receive assistance, we're returning ours."

What he's saying: When asked about big publicly traded firms being deemed eligible for PPP funds, President Trump noted at Sunday's briefing that "a lot of times they’re owned by franchisees, where they own one or two places, so a lot of that would depend on what the formula is."

Go deeper: Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer discusses the decision on Axios Pro Rata Podcast

Go deeper

Updated 12 mins ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

25 mins ago - World

North Korea launches 4th suspected missile test this month

A news broadcast in Seoul, South Korea, of an apparent North Korean missile test on Monday morning local time. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired "two suspected short-range ballistic missiles" eastward from Pyongyang on Monday morning local time, per South Korean and Japanese officials.

Why it matters: The fourth such launch since Jan. 5 comes days after North Korea's military warned of "stronger" action if the U.S. moved to have more sanctions imposed on the country.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.