Stimulus Package Offers Lifeline To Businesses Struggling Through The Winter
If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Usually the last column for any given year is an easy piece, just hit a few of the year’s high points, if there are any. Polish the 500 odd words up by adding a few nice comments and modifiers about the highlights and put an optimistic spin on the coming year. Done like that and send it to the weary editor for the headline, hoping he catches the usual obvious errors in the text I was oblivious to.
But this is 2020 and it has been a different year and let’s hope it was one of a kind. So no glib review.
Let’s do some pandemic relief details, as it might help the many businesses that are struggling on this Main Street.
Over a week ago both houses of Congress passed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act ending the almost five month-long stalemate in the Congressional response to the pandemic. They sent the bill to the President, he made a video that he wanted more individual money for folks and then he flew to Florida and golfed. The bill sat in limbo for a week and then he signed last Sunday
Anyway, it has passed and been signed, and it is important as it provides essential immediate relief for small businesses. The National Main Street Association’s recent downtown small business survey indicated that the vast majority (88 percent) of small businesses are at risk of closure, with 29 percent anticipating closing their doors within three months without this additional Congressional support. This package will offer a lifeline to businesses through the winter.
Specific highlights of importance to Main Street districts and small businesses included in the larger bill are details like the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, which includes $285 billion to extend the Paycheck Protection Program. This also offers additional targeted relief to certain businesses, including eligibility for PPP loans for 501(c)6 organizations and destination marketing organizations.
Second draws of PPP loans are available for small businesses and non-profits demonstrating a 25 percent reduction in revenue to a comparable quarter in 2019. Plus, a streamlined forgiveness process for loans under $150,000.
Also for businesses are expanded eligibility of COVID-19-specific expenses for forgiveness, including outdoor seating, drive-thru windows and PPE purchases. Included in the bill is a dedicated $15 billion for grants to live music and entertainment venues.
There is the establishment of the Emergency Capital Investment Fund, which provides $12 billion to Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) to provide investments in low to moderate income and minority communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
There were a number of things that could have also helped aid Main Street and the coming administration has promised continued and more timely assistance relative to the on-going impact from the pandemic.
The new year, nor this bill, won’t magically make the pandemic driven economic issues go away. There’s a hope that six months from now things will be sorting out, at least pandemic wise. The post-holiday impact, if Thanksgiving was any indication, will be grim in the next month. That’s not very cheery, is it? Have a safe New Year’s Eve and Day.