Small businesses desperately wait for relief money

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Small businesses across the country are doing their best to survive another few weeks of closures amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the relief they’ve been promised can’t come soon enough.

"Right now we’re just looking at probably a few weeks we can stay open,” said Robin Brammer. Brammer owns The Bank Restaurant in Pendleton with her husband Garry.

The Bank Restaurant is operating with carryout only, but that only accounted for 8% of their business before the closure. They’ve laid off 90% of their staff and are trying to hang on to the few employees they have left.

“We want all of our employees back obviously," Garry said. "In our industry, if you lose good employees, somebody wants to grab them right away. So it’s in our best interest to keep as many people as we can so we don’t start over.”

They’re hoping to be able pay those employees with help from the new Paycheck Protection Program which launched on Friday. It would give small businesses a loan to pay employees, and the amount would be forgiven as long as it was used properly. While some have reportedly struggled with applying, the Brammers said they were able to put in an application. They are still waiting for more information.

They also applied for the SBA's disaster loan, and are still waiting for the emergency advance that has been promised.

“We were supposed to see $10,000 in an advance into our account within three business days," Robin said. "That was two weeks ago this coming Friday, and we’ve seen nothing”

The Brammars aren’t alone. Other businesses in need of relief are also waiting for that money.

“They've been promised relief, and I don’t know a single small business owner that’s received it yet,” said Barbara Quandt, the State Director for NFIB Indiana.

Quandt and the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) represent hundreds of small businesses in Indiana. For some businesses, these loans are their only chance at survival.

"These folks need help right now. In some cases they’ve been shut down for several weeks, and without any money coming in they’re just not going to make it,” Quandt said. “We’re going to be shuttering businesses and losing jobs everyday that this goes on.”

Carryout alone is not keeping The Bank Restaurant afloat. The decision to close or stay open for carryout will have be made soon, and they're hoping the relief money comes sooner.

"When the bank account is empty, the bank account is empty. So yeah, that decision isn’t far away,” Garry said.

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