Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Small Business News Highlights for April 21
- White House and Congress reach a deal on next round of COVID-19 aid
- Some Southern states set to begin opening economy next week
- Unemployment claims continue to grow while states worry about running out of money
Senate approves nearly $500 billion coronavirus relief bill
“The American people are counting on Congress to put aside reflexive partisanship and work across the aisle to help our nation through this pandemic.”
The White House and Congressional leaders reached a deal today on a new round of COVID-19 legislation. The bill will dedicate nearly half a trillion dollars to help small businesses and hospitals, while also expanding testing for the novel coronavirus. The bill will add $321 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program, while also providing additional funds for Small Business Administration disaster relief loans. The Senate approved the bill minutes ago, paving the way for a House vote on Thursday.
3 Southern states set to begin opening economy
“Whoever opens up in the spa industry is crazy, you are asking for it! And who is going to come back and work? It’s not worth the risk.”
Despite warnings from public health officials, the governors of 3 Southern states have signaled their intentions to start opening businesses. In Georgia, “Gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians” and others can start opening on Friday as long as people wear masks and gloves and practice social distancing. South Carolina has already opened department stores and restaurants, placing restrictions on the number of consumers allowed in the building at a time.
While small business owners feel the pinch of the mandatory closures, many report that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is not worth the limited businesses they expect to see.
Unemployment claims continue to grow, states struggling to keep up
“It’s unbelievable. One thousand people just to take the incoming unemployment calls. That’s how high the volume is and they still can’t keep up with the volume.”
State unemployment systems have been overrun as they’ve struggled to keep pace with the burgeoning number of Americans filing for unemployment. New York state alone has already paid $2.2 billion worth of unemployment claims and nearly half of all states have already drained more than 50% of their unemployment funds.
As of last week, 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits and the process has been difficult for most. The situation is further complicated by the fact that many people who have the opportunity to work for markedly less pay, such as restaurant employees, have opted instead to file for unemployment.