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 June 10:
- Senator proposes using PPP funds to help small businesses hurt by vandalism
- Secretary Mnuchin and others urge further measures to relax PPP requirements
- Business owners on their own when it comes to testing employees
One senator proposes giving PPP money to SMBs impacted by vandalism
“I’m going to introduce a bill that I would like … the Treasury to look at to take some of that money and make it available to the businesses, mostly small businesses, but to the businesses that have been lost as a result of the burning and the looting and the felony rioting.”
There’s nearly $130 billion left in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) fund and at least one lawmaker would like to see that money directed toward helping business owners whose businesses were damaged by vandalism and theft during recent protests.
Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana noted in a recent Senate hearing that the deadline for new loan applications is quickly approaching, making it unlikely that the remaining funds will be used for their original purpose. His idea? Give the money to SBOs hard hit by the violent rioters who wrecked havoc amidst otherwise peaceful protests.
The senator signaled his intention to introduce this legislation, including a provision that would allow authorities to seek civil damages from looters to help offset the cost of the program.
Another bipartisan legislation needed to pump more money into the economy
“I definitely think we are going to need another bipartisan legislation to put more money into the economy.”
Despite, or maybe because of, the significant amount of money left in the PPP fund, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin added his voice to the chorus of lawmakers who believe that more bipartisan legislation is needed to get more money flowing through small businesses and into the economy.
Critics of the PPP continue to push for modifications to the program that make it easier for businesses to have the loan forgiven or rehire laid off workers. Others would like to make it easier for Fintech groups and CDFIs to participate in the program, giving minorities and other groups who have trouble accessing funds more access to aid.
Lack of COVID-19 testing guidance leaving SMBs in the dark
“It’s the Wild West out there when it comes to testing.”
Most employers know that testing employees for the coronavirus will play a large role in safely reopening businesses and offices, they just don’t know how they’re supposed to do it. The lack of guidance from public health officials have left business owners to muddle through on their own. Without specific recommendations on who to test, how frequently, where to procure supplies or answers to other questions, SBOs become liable for the implications of their decision. Furthermore, they are often in direct competition with hospitals and healthcare providers for scarce testing resources.
Last month, Democratic lawmakers took OSHA officials to task for not being more visible in the public discussion about workplace safety issues surrounding reopening responsibly amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.