Billions of dollars in help is on the way for small businesses and their employees who have been shut down by COVID- 19.
That means if you work for a small business, the government wants to pay your employer to keep you on the job, or bring you back if you were recently laid off.
It's a great plan in theory, but some business owners said it's not working for them yet.
Small businesses see huge drop in business
Don Stewart has been repairing cars for more than 30 years at Stewart Tire on Reading Road in Roselawn.
His employees are a second family to him.
But as his shop's business dropped off in March, with few people buying new tires, he says, "I've had to lay off five, six people."
Now, he hopes to rehire them under the government's new Paycheck Protection Program.
"The program is to bring back your employees, hopefully bring them back to work, and I really want to do that," Stewart said.
Auto repair shops are considered essential businesses, so Stewart Tire is able to remain open. Still, Stewart says business is down over 50 percent from the same time last year.
That's why he says they really need help from the government now, not in 30 days.
The stimulus is supposed to pay workers at small businesses everywhere, from restaurants to florists to clothing boutiques, for the months of April and May, to keep them off the unemployment rolls.
The best part of it is that the government will not require businesses to pay these loans back if they agree to no more layoffs.
Difficulties filing, getting approval
But Stewart says it's still difficult just to file, which owners need to do through their local banks.
"Some of the red tape is still out there, and some of the local banks have not uploaded onto their website yet," he said. Other businesses say they have been denied for not meeting certain requirements.
Customer Julian Thompson hopes the shop gets the money soon, because he wants it to still be here for years to come.
"They service all our vehicles and vans. It's a top-notch place," Johnson said.
Some banks say demand is already exceeding supply, and feel the government needs to add more money to the program very soon.
Don Stewart just hopes he'll see the money he needs to keep his men working.
As always, stay safe and don't waste your money.
If you are a small business owner, learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program HERE.
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