Courtesy of NBC
By Chris Carey
Much like Mom and Pop’s shoe store in Seinfeld, the small businesses we know and love may soon be packing up and closing their doors for good. With the arrival of coronavirus, those hit financially hardest are arguably the owners of small businesses across the nation.
Luckily, there are several provisions in the immense stimulus package recently authorized by Congress and implemented by the Fed that may save a select few of our beloved neighborhood markets and mainstays. Unfortunately, even this limited supply of emergency cash, $350 billion to be exact, may run dry.
According to MSN, the Small Business Administration which oversaw the implementation of this stimulus package has announced that they had processed “1,661,397 loans from 4,975 lenders before [the fund] was exhausted.”
As NBC reports, there are over 30 million small businesses which would qualify in the United States. This $350 billion provision in the multi-trillion dollar relief spending package will likely do little to nothing to alleviate the pain that many small businesses feel all too well today.
For those lucky few who managed to process their request when the Small Business Administration opened the application on April 3, this money will serve one main purpose.
Primarily, it will be used to pay the employees who are still employed by small businesses, defined as companies employing fewer than 500 individuals. If the company does not lay off or fire any of its employees, and keeps their jobs up to 90 days after the crisis concludes, these low interest loans will turn into grants.
Essentially, it gives these few small businesses some quick loan cash on hand to pay their employees with the promise that the loans will not ever need to be repaid if all goes according to plan.
Unfortunately, as with many aspects of this stimulus plan, not everything is quite right. Due to holdups with the participating lending organizations, as well as technological faults on the side of the Fed, many of these small businesses have not seen any money hit their bank account.
Many of these businesses are now faced with the difficult choice of laying off employees they cannot pay, while acknowledging the business will now have to pay back the eventual loan received from the government. On the other hand, small businesses, many of whom rely on monthly revenue to do payroll, can scramble to put together enough money to pay employees as the end of the month looms with the promise of a grant some time in the future.
All told, small businesses are still being hit the hardest, and the Trump administration’s limited and flawed bailout plan for the mom-and-pop shops has seemingly failed before it even got off the ground. In the meantime, ten airlines have accepted what amounts to nearly $25 billion combined in grants from the government during this crisis, the Washington Post reports.
As far as what individuals can do, look on community Facebook pages and to fantastic organizations in your hometowns that are in desperate need of your commerce. If faced with a choice for takeout, maybe opt for the family-owned deli instead of Subway. Maybe order a burger from Local Burger instead of McDonald’s, because in this fight, if the small businesses which serve as the backbone of our country go under, our recovery will be long and painful well beyond this virus.