Small enterprise house owners look ahead to unique PPP utility interval

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Starting Wednesday, the state’s smallest businesses have exclusive access to a popular federal aid program. Two days earlier, President Joe Biden announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for companies with fewer than 20 employees.

“We below are the ones hit hardest,” said Leon Lewis, the operator of Lincoln Cafe in Columbus’ King-Lincoln District.

When a statewide home stay ordinance was enacted in the spring of 2020, Lewis closed the doors for two months while adjusting the business and implementing new health restrictions.

When the business reopened, Lewis temporarily laid off two of his six employees and reduced hours to keep the business going.

“Everyone wanted to go back to work,” recalls Gladys Alvarez, who has worked for many years. “It was really hard for him, hard for everyone who is used to working here,” said Alvarez. “You have to pay bills and the bills are still the same.”

Small Businesses in Ohio are Preparing for Round Two PPP Lending

Lincoln Cafe qualified for a small loan in the first round of the 2020 paycheck protection program, but Lewis said it was barely enough to cover a round of paychecks and rent.

“Every little bit helps, even though it wasn’t essential,” he said.

The early version of the PPP met with criticism when large, apparently wealthy companies qualified for assistance and scooped resources from smaller employers.

“Bigger companies obviously make more money and can afford to do certain things. We’re difficult again downstairs, ”said Lewis.

During a speech Monday, President Biden claimed that small businesses make up 90 percent of American businesses and said the PPP changes will now affect self-employed workers and independent contractors.

He believes this move will cover more endeavors by women and people of color who some lawmakers say have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The Lincoln Cafe is adjacent to the historic Lincoln Theater in an area known for its cultural significance to the city’s black community. The restaurant and cafe also serve as a meeting point for community gatherings, live entertainment, and charity events.

“I always call this a community business,” said Lewis.

“We all have different ones [kinds of] People who work here, ”added Alvarez. “We have always worked with the community. I like that about it. “

Lewis said he was grateful for another round of support, though he wasn’t sure the help would be enough to keep the business going.

“This second round of PPP will also be helpful. But then we talk about it – what have we really lost? ” he said.

According to NewsNation Now, the latest PPP, which began on Jan. 11, has already disbursed $ 133.5 billion in loans. It’s roughly half of the $ 284 billion allocated by Congress, with an average loan below $ 74,000. The program is scheduled to end on March 31st.

Small businesses that have already applied cannot change the loan amounts already determined. Larger companies that have already applied will not lose their place in the queue.

Another renewal of the program is not included in Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which he hopes will be passed by Congress in the coming weeks.

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