A New Stimulus for Main Street: Save Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Today

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We are writing on behalf of local independent businesses, who represent over $4 trillion of our national economy and are the heart of our communities.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these businesses are experiencing severe hardship—and the current Federal stimulus package (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) does not adequately address their needs

Small businesses are seeing a 70 percent drop in sales nationwide due to coronavirus, according to data from in-store loyalty and rewards platform Fivestars.

If this continues for over 2 months, a majority of local businesses will close their doors forever. 

We are asking for:

  • Immediate interest-free deferral on commercial rent, mortgages, and commercial loans for impacted small businesses
  • $300 billion of funding specifically earmarked for small businesses under 20 employees to serve as restart capital, to help them reopen once the public health emergency is over, and for these funds to be direct grants or interest-free, forgivable loans*

The proposed provisions in the Federal stimulus package designate only $350 billion in loans for small businesses up to 500 employees, and has loan forgiveness terms that are contingent on retaining staff which are unrealistic given that:

  • 43 percent of neighborhood businesses have already been forced to reduce staff
  • Most local businesses can only afford to stay closed for a few weeks before being forced to shut down completely or significantly reduce staff
  • An average small business who employs 1 to 20 employees is now losing over $45,000 per month in sales and has limited cash reserves

The government is proposing a $500 billion Treasury loan program to support businesses impacted by the coronavirus, but it’s not clear how much of this will get to small businesses versus big corporations.

Here is a direct quote from a local business owner that captures the urgency of the situation:

"It’s been the most terrifying experience I’ve ever had. I’m fearful for my employees, the industry, my family, myself, my neighbors and the economy. I’m anxious, my customers are scared and my child is scared because he’s witnessed adults losing their cool. What is this madness?"

Time is of the essence, so we ask for you to act swiftly to protect small businesses and our local communities.

Respectfully,

Small Business Owners and Citizens who #LoveLocal


*Assuming local businesses can resume normal operations after 2.5 months (which is the timeline built into the CARES Act), the average business will need $17,000 to pay for back rent and $38,000 to buy fresh inventory and prepare for reopening. US Census data states there are 5.3 million businesses that employ 1 to 20 employees, which translates into about $300 billion total funding needs which are not provided for under the CARES Act.