As COVID-19 infection rates surge, unemployment rates spike and millions of small businesses face imminent closure, small business owners are increasingly frustrated by the failure of Senate Republican Leadership to articulate a workable, long term, comprehensive strategy to combat COVID-19, keep our economy on track and shore up the struggling small business sector.
As millions of small businesses and working families face extreme economic hardship, GOP leadership, apparently, fails to comprehend the urgency of this moment. Small businesses are nearing the end of their PPP loans, causing a second round of layoffs and with many minority small businesses left out of the program entirely nearly half of a million Black-owned businesses have closed. Emergency unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of the month threatening tens of millions of Americans with a dramatic loss of income that will result in a sharp constriction in consumer spending, further damaging already struggling small businesses.
The GOP Senators’ plan, or what we know of it, appears to want to simply ignore the pandemic and prioritize forcing everyone back to work as usual. By doubling down on loans, which have contributed to inequity, and prioritizing corporate immunity rather than accountability or real business supports to retrofit, the GOP plan will not stop the pandemic. And consumer confidence will not return until customers feel safe and have money in their pockets to spend.
Since the beginning of this crisis, Main Street small business owners have demanded a comprehensive, long term strategy to maintain our public health and economy that is designed to respond to the severity and potential duration of this crisis. There is still time to set our country on a path to recovery. As layoffs begin to rise again and consumer confidence continues to nosedive in the uncertainty of increasing COVID cases and the threat of unemployment benefits expiring, small businesses need a comprehensive set of programs that support them for the long term.
Join us for a Press Call Monday at 2pm ET to hear directly from small business owners across the country on what’s actually needed to support them. Call will be open to questions from reporters.
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Reactions from Small Business Owners:
Ana Remos, Founder, AzureAzure, Miami, FL: "I have been patiently waiting for a new stimulus package that could save my business. I ran out of PPP funds weeks ago. We cannot afford to keep waiting, and I have had to make the difficult decision to cease operations. Senate Republicans seem to be ignoring the urgency of small businesses like mine. The GOP bill is too little, too late. The slowness of the response has directly caused the uncertainty that forced us to close. I live in Florida, one of the worst hit states, and am a Latinx business owner -- Latinx-owned businesses are closing at higher rates that other small businesses. Did they really think anyone would be able to survive with 2 months of PPP, a loan that was very confusing and limited to begin with?”
Adam Orman, Co-Owner, L'Oca d'Oro, Good Works Austin member, Austin, TX: “Senator McConnell has said that he will not pass anything that doesn’t include liability protection. If he’s going to sacrifice what small businesses in this country actually need to be able to make it through this reduced revenue, reduced capacity world, like grants & loans & unemployment benefits, in order to protect employers who are taking risks, that is a wildly misplaced priority. Liability protection puts no money in my pocket or my employees pockets. It does not create any work for our restaurant. It is cruel to the workers of this country to pass liability protection without strongly mandated federal guidelines for businesses operating during the pandemic and those do not exist."
Apollo Woods, Owner, OKC Black Eats, Oklahoma City, OK: “The question for our local business is: How do you prepare, knowing this pandemic and recession can last 18 months? And politicians can’t approach this pandemic with solutions thinking of how our more successful and adaptable businesses can survive, because that eliminates a whole segment of the population, from startups to black- and minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, and people who leaped out right before all this started.”
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