Main Street Alliance sent the stories of small business owners from across the country struggling without continued COVID relief to Congressional representatives today. Highlighting those who have been denied or left out of federal funding as well as those who are facing the end of their funding and again face incredible uncertainty and insurmountable debt.
This is a make-or-break moment for our country. As of June, more than 1.2 million business owners had closed up shop compared to February. The number of Black business owners has plummeted at a rate almost three times that for white owners. Nearly 200,000 people in the U.S. have lost their lives to the pandemic, and there is no end in sight.
These are the experiences of small business owners who are struggling to save their businesses, offer quality jobs to people in their communities, and keep their employees, customers, and families healthy in the face of a deadly pandemic.
Many of these business owners, operating establishments in Black or Latinx communities, were shut out of the temporary Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that kept some small businesses afloat through the spring. Others received PPP funds but, with those funds ending, again face laying off their workers, or impossible choices to take on debt. And all small business owners featured here know that their businesses can survive only as long as their customers have money to spend – money that to a large extent has evaporated with the end of pandemic unemployment benefits.
These small business owners call on their representatives to pass legislation that meets the needs of small businesses, workers, and communities most affected by the pandemic. Among the measures this legislation must include are the following:
- Equity grants to address the racially discriminatory effects of prior relief packages
- Robust payroll & fixed cost supports to match the duration of the crisis through a second draw PPP and expanded, more equitable Employee Retention Tax Credits
- Renewed federal pandemic unemployment insurance benefits, as well as other forms of direct cash relief for workers that does not discriminate against immigrants
They asked Congress to take the experience of small businesses seriously. To read and act on what small businesses need now. Not delays, or political grandstands, but real relief. Small businesses cannot wait for the virus to just die out or an administration that has given up on the investments necessary to contain it. Communities cannot wait for thousands more deaths. Relief is urgent and necessary.