Struggling local small businesses react after federal relief program runs out of funds

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HAMPTON ROADS, Va (WAVY) — Small businesses in Hampton Roads are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic are wondering how they’ll get help moving forward.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) officially ran out of money on April 16, and won’t accept new applications until Congress adds additional funding.

Congress approved the PPP as part of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.

Angela Clark, owner of the Coffee Shoppe in Portsmouth, now offers curbside pickup and delivery options. She’s also asked her three teenagers to help out, since she had to let go of her staff.

Clark applied for an SBA grant with the help from TowneBank. The program helps businesses with payroll and rent during social distancing requirements. She said business is down between 50-60% every day.

“A lot of our business is business people, who are down here in Olde Towne. A lot of them are Coast Guard. A lot of them are tourists. Obviously the tourists are gone. A lot of the businesses are closed or teleworking. We see very few Coast Guard and that is a lot of our morning traffic,” explained Clark. 

She was approved for the grant and received her check on Thursday. The grant will help her bring back staff.

In Hampton, Asia Turner, the owner of Sit and Eat Bistro says she also applied for a SBA loan but has not received funds. She says the pandemic forced her to push back her grand opening. Now she is losing thousands of dollars every week. She says she is optimistic about getting some help, but understands not everyone will get money.

“Since everybody is going through such a financial fault, due to the circumstances. I’ve seen people like my neighbors, going out of business, not able to reopen after this. I do not have all of my eggs in one basket. I hope that I get at least a little money or relief for all that we have gone through, but at the same time I am not betting on it,” Turner said.

Now Turner is selling essential items like homemade masks, cleaning supplies and toiletries to stay in business.

President Donald Trump is calling for an additional $250 billion for the PPP, but that request has stalled in the Senate. In a tweet Thursday afternoon, President Trump blamed democrats for the impasse. 

Democrats argue they want more funding for small businesses, but also want to include emergency funding for states and hospitals, and that’s what’s holding up the funding. 

Stay with WAVY.com for updates.

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