The Trump Administration and Democratic leaders are close to a deal to replenish a popular program to help small businesses survive during the coronavirus shutdown. It's the latest step in sweeping government efforts to deal with the consequences of the pandemic.
Many local business owners are irate as they wait for Congress to replenish funding so they can get their piece of the pie. They want to know how did big companies get help touted for small businesses and who exactly is eligible to apply?
"All we can do is wait," said Anthony Guerrera, owner of Skincare Lounge Spa in Center City.
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But the weeks-long wait is excruciating for Guerrera, especially when there's rent to pay.
"$6,000 a month, $8,000 next month so we're already negative," he said.
Guerrera normally employs 15 people and has applied for Small Business Administration relief programs, including the EIDL Loan Advance, the SBA Express Bridge Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program.
"We have spent a lot of time, Nydia, and to no availability," he said.
That's right, so far, Guerrera hasn't seen a dime.
"It's pretty, pretty bad," he said.
Guerrera's frustrations are compounded by the news that more than a dozen publicly traded companies with revenue of more than $100 million reportedly did get SBA money before it ran out.
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"I'm pretty upset over that," he said.
Shake Shack is now returning the $10 million loan it received after getting funding from another source.
"The banks, they're holding back, I believe they're concentrating on large businesses," he said.
The Paycheck Protection Program is intended to help companies that employ up to 500 people. So how did companies that employ 5,000 or more get millions of dollars? It's because the 500-employee cap refers to a single location operated by hotel and restaurant companies. So whether a location is a franchise or not, it falls under what some consider a loophole that benefits big businesses, leaving truly small business owners like Guerrera to flounder and continue to wait.
Of course, we will let you know as soon as more money is approved for the Paycheck Protection Program. And when that happens, be aware gig workers, freelancers, and the self-employed can also apply. Those folks are also now eligible for unemployment benefits.
Small business funding options
Unemployment Insurance Relief During COVID-19 Outbreak
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
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