VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — One industry decimated by COVID-19 is is charter fishing.
For Captain Bill Pappas, coronavirus has left a large hole in his business, causing him concern he may eventually lose Playin Hookey Charters all together.
Pappas remembers the good old days. On Friday, he rewatched a video of a huge catch and the ensuing joy and high-fives aboard “Playin Hookey.” The catch was a 60-pound wahoo caught 65 miles east of Virginia Beach last November.
Today, it’s a different story.
“I’ve had a rough go with this coronavirus… going to the point that I could be losing the business… It’s sad to watch it all go down the tubes if we can’t get reopened soon.” Pappas said, with his dog Mango perched on his shoulder on the stern of the “Playin Hookey.”
The charter boat industry has its hands tied. They are allowed to take charters, but under such strict regulations many can’t afford to go out.
Pappas puts it this way: “Bookings are limited because of the uncertainty of whether beaches will be fully open, so people are not making reservations to come here because they don’t know what they are going to find… The regulations on how many [people] we can take has been cut in half depending on the length of your boat. I could take six before, now I can only take two with a first mate… They don’t book now because the cost is split by fewer people, so they can’t afford it.”
“… I saw Matt Potter who is a close friend at Chicho’s [Pizza]… He was hurting and they were able to give him a loan,” Pappas said. “So, I went ahead and applied, and sure enough Pete Snyder did come through for ‘Playing Hookey’ and they did provide us something and we were more than thankful for what they did for us.”
That amount was the standard $3,000.
Snyder, a small business entrepreneur and CEO of Disruptor Capital, said he was happy to help, thanks to support from Hampton Roads.
“Captain Bill is going to be back on the seas, and back in business, so that is a direct result of all of the help we’ve had from Virginia Beach and other areas in Hampton Roads,” Snyder said.
Since WAVY News’ story ran May 1, other small businesses are getting loans. Snyder has nearly doubled the number of loans from 121 to 223, giving $700,000.
The VA 30 Day fund for small businesses caught the eye of Virginia’s U.S. Sen. Mark Warner who has contributed thousands of dollars of his own money.
“Well, what Pete Snyder put together was the idea how do you get emergency money to businesses who are struggling with no bureaucracy, and get them the money quickly. It just makes enormous sense,” Warner said.
Warner also went to the IRS on behalf of small businesses. Snyder says Warner cut through the red tape bureaucracy and got the VA 30 Day Fund tax-exempt status.
“That unlocked $450,000 that was pledged that we couldn’t use, and we were able to get that instantly to these struggling small businesses.”
“This tax status freed up additional money, and that money is going to businesses in need in real time, and it’s something I’m really proud of,” Warner said.
If you are a small business operator and you need a $3,000 loan, visit the VA 30 Day Fund website.
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