As nearly 3 million more Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total to over 36.5 million in two months, business leaders continue to raise the alarm that current federal economic recovery programs are not enough. Without further congressional support, business owners say, they are unsure how long they can keep their doors open.
America’s Recovery Fund will help business owners navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, providing financial assistance for tangible, real-world use – helping rehire employees and cover essential operating expenses such as rent, utilities, and state and local taxes.
What They Are Saying: American Enterprise Needs More Support
“Danny Schwartzman, the owner of Common Roots Cafe in Minneapolis, was approved for a more than $200,000 PPP loan, but decided not to accept it. The reason: Uncertainty over the criteria used to determine if a business qualifies for forgiveness under SBA rules, he said. ‘For businesses like mine, there are so many unknowns with the federal programs. The question was always how will forgiveness work for a business like mine that is very severely impacted by this crisis,’ Schwartzman said. ‘The expectation was they’ll figure it out and make the rules for forgiveness clear. But they didn’t, and everyone had a different perspective on how forgiveness would work.’” (CBS News, 5/11/20)
“Kelly Conklin and his wife, owners of Foley-Waite Construction in Kenilworth, New Jersey, went through the SBA loan process before when they took out a loan to buy their building. The document his bank gave him for his PPP loan looks different. That’s not what he needs now. ‘I don’t want any loans, I’m not asking to borrow money,’ he said. A loan, he noted, is something he would take out to cover the cost of getting more business — and with the knowledge of exactly how much it would take to get him there. This money, instead, is ‘filling the hole for this event over which we had no control.’” (The Intercept, 4/24/20)
“[Andrew and Brianna Volk] own the Portland Hunt and Alpine Club, a 50-seat restaurant in downtown Portland, Maine. ‘We really value our staff,’ Andrew Volk said. ‘I want to hire people back.’ But until there are more details, he’s holding onto the money, and his bank had no answers. The couple’s loan document made no mention of forgiveness at all. ‘Nobody seems to know specifically how do you get forgiven for this,”’ he said. ‘There aren’t answers to these questions because they haven’t written the rules yet.’” (The Intercept, 4/24/20)
Business Owners Concerned About the Future
“Chris Guerrero has worked double time to sell online memberships to bring in revenue at Westchester Fit, a boutique fitness training business in White Plains, New York, where he is founder and president. ‘My objective was to keep people employed as long as I possibly could,’ he said. ‘But if the shutdown isn’t lifted in New York and I cannot open for business by next month, I may have to shut the business down and move on to something else.’” (CNBC, 5/11/20)
Roy Surdej, founder of Peaches Boutique, said, “If something does not happen soon, it’s going to be a domino effect — from the producer that makes the raw material to the manufacturer who makes it to the distributor and the wholesaler to the retailer, to the real estate owner who owns the property, (and) to the consumer…If something does not happen, there is going to be a really bad situation in the future.” (WBBM Newsradio, 5/1/20)