Small Business Majority Urges Congress to Immediately Provide a Massive Stimulus to Small Businesses
Statement from John Arensmeyer, CEO at Small Business Majority, on the insufficient resources being directed to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has left America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs on the brink of collapse through no fault of their own. People are struggling, businesses are closing, and employees are being let go en masse. Immediate action is needed by Congress and the Administration, and we call on them to provide a massive and bold stimulus package for Main Street.
While preliminary discussions between Congress and the Administration about an economic stimulus package is a step in the right direction, the figures that are being floated just begin to scratch the surface and address only the immediate needs of the small business community. Currently proposals are circulating that include $250 billion in small business loans. This is encouraging; however, if social distancing and quarantines go on for any length of time, these loan proposals and stimulus figures will be a drop in the bucket. America’s entrepreneurs need an immediate cash infusion—otherwise business owners will still struggle to keep their doors open, rehire staff, and pay off mounting debt.
The long-term economic hemorrhaging that is happening before our eyes will require more than a Band-Aid. Lawmakers must act with urgency to pass a robust stimulus for small businesses now and be prepared to unleash additional money as needed in the very immediate future.
A sampling of the stories Small Business Majority has heard from its network of business owners is included below:
Restaurateur Lays Off Entire Staff:
Pam Gueldner, owner of Manndible Café (located on Cornell University’s campus) in Ithaca, NY
Pam had to lay off every single employee on Monday morning while scrambling to sell all her fresh food inventory. Pam has instructed all her employees to immediately file for unemployment, and she is also filing for unemployment. She's been devastated by the impact of COVID-19 on her business and expects she will not be able to recover. Pam expects to lose $300,000-400,000 by the time things get back to normal.
Hospitality Owner Worries About Her Freelance Employees:
Karen DiPeri, president and owner of HMG Plus, a staffing and events firm in New York City
Karen shared that as a hospitality and events provider, there are absolutely no opportunities for work right now for her employees—many of whom are freelancers and part-time employees. During what is typically the busiest time of year, she has noted that there is simply no work and this is causing a massive loss of revenue. In one week, her revenues have come crashing down and Karen expects she will have to let go of some staff. While Karen has applied for loans provided to small businesses, she is still waiting to hear a decision.
Manufacturer Experiences Dramatic Profit Decline:
Diana Ijames, co-owner of Ace Manufacturing in Sullivan, MO
Diana co-owns a tractor clutch and racecar clutch manufacturing business and since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out her business has experienced a 15% profit decline. Over the last few weeks, several of her employees have been sick with some of the related symptoms, but because testing is not widely available and they are quite a distance from St. Louis, those who are sick have not been tested.
Business Owner Projects Shedding Almost Entire Staff:
Melissa Medick, owner of Beechnut Kennels in Edgewater, MD
Melissa has spent the last two days studying what the best course of action is for her business. She operates a kennel and daycare for pets, and business has fallen off a cliff this week. Just yesterday they had 60 cancellations. Right now, she is cutting employees’ hours and keeping everyone on staff. However, she expects that if the situation persists future layoffs could be a possibility. Her employees live paycheck to paycheck and she does not know what to do to help them because she feels that the guidance or information she is receiving from the government is inadequate.
About Small Business Majority
Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of a thriving and inclusive economy. We actively engage our network of more than 58,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.