But it’s going to be hard to apply for and slow in coming

This article will focus on what’s being done to help small businesses to survive the economic disaster caused by the coronavirus.

Small businesses create the nature and character of Austin, maintain our city’s unique culture, and collectively employ a tremendous number of workers who keep these enterprises hustling and bustling to everyone’s benefit.

Or at least they did in normal times.

These are not normal times.

Austin’s small businesses are being slammed by the impact of coronavirus that’s keeping customers away. Normally bustling restaurants are reduced to offering takeout. Liquor stores are barring entry and offering curbside service. Live entertainment is being webcast by musicians trying to keep a following, keep our spirits up, and maybe make a few bucks.

Grocery stories are militantly policing lines of customers waiting to get in, limiting the number of people allowed to shop at the same time, and placing employees on every aisle to enforce distancing of customers from one another to at least six feet. And we appreciate their efforts to help keep us safe and fed in these trying times.

Small business help is coming … eventually

As customers, we’re adapting and learning new survival techniques.

But as business owners, if we’re not selling groceries, gasoline, or medicine we’re already in deep trouble and no end in sight. We’re worried about paying rent, helping our employees as best we can, and trying to keep from going belly up in the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.

Breaking news: National news reports indicate the U.S. Senate passed a stimulus package of $2.2 trillion early this morning to help multiple sectors of the economy, from supporting people who are out of work to propping up major corporations.

The Washington Post reported early this morning that the legislation includes $377 billion in zero-interest loans for firms of fewer that 500 employees, “loans that could be forgiven if the firms follow certain conditions, such as not firing their workers.”

The money would be made through lenders certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Post reported, such as banks and credit unions. The maximum loan is capped at $10 million.

“The money could be used for covering employee salaries, rent, paid leave, utility payments, health insurance premiums or other necessities or worker protection.”

“Loans given to firms with tipped employees, such as bars and restaurants, could be forgiven in they are used to provide additional wages to their employees. Nonprofits can also apply for these funds,” the Post reported.

The House is scheduled to vote on the legislation Friday and the president has said he’s going to sign it into law immediately.

That’s really good news.

The not so good news is that after Congress passes and the president signs this crucial legislation and details are made known, it’s going to take considerable time to draw plans and devise methods to implement these vital relief measures.

Then when the tools are finally put in place and the money flows, there’s going to be an application process for small business owners to deal with.

You think you waited in line at the grocery for a long time? Wait till you’re trying to elbow your way through the long line of business owners itching to get the lender’s approval. At this stage no one knows what kind of applications may be necessary. READ MORE.

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