Last Friday, as Americans waited to find out who would be their next president, Deb Andrews-Lewis of Nebraska Lincoln knew his life was going to change in some way. At the end of the day, she would lose her boutique, The Funky Sister.
She had built it from scratch to honor the memory of her late husband – they always wanted to run a shop together in retirement. He had quick success selling antiques and oddball items, which allowed him to expand the business and hire his daughter, who took her young son to work every day.
But then the Kovid-19 pandemic hit, keeping the shop closed for two months last spring. When Andrews-Lewis reopened, a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program – part of an emergency relief bill passed by Congress in March and signed into law by President Donald Trump – covered only a brief stretch of his daughter’s salary. did.
He expected more help from Washington, but it never came. And with road traffic down, more residents buying online and little signs of improvement on the horizon, there was no longer much time to continue it.
“When I looked at the leasing, I couldn’t justify allocating another $ 100,000 for rent and utilities for just three years,” she said.
The election may be over, but the White House and Capitol Hill are not in the context of a new Kovid-19 relief plan. And even if a deal happens, it’s too late to help save over 100,000 small businesses who were forced to close while waiting for more help, like The Funky Sister is. Everyday shops around the country are in mortal danger, Washington fails to act.
“Many small businesses are sinking right now,” said Sung Won Sohan, an economist at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. “They have little financial pillow to begin with, many of them have hand-to-mouth operations, and they have no place to turn to except the government.”
The situation is terrible. Local news outlets are full of stories of beloved institutions that are doing well as they face a severe winter outbreak of coronovirus, viewers of new health restrictions and no signs of federal vaccine so they can Be available in the vaccine.
From a New York City barbershop famous for an influential music venue in Georgia, NBC News viewers have shared the names of nearly 200 favorite businesses they’ve said goodbye to in recent months. This is a list that will undoubtedly evolve.
But the government is not moving forward. While there is little dispute in Washington that aid is needed, the White House and Democratic and Republican leaders are far from an agreement. Even though the major parts of the previous financial stimulus package expired more than three months ago, each side is still ready for what will be better.
In May the Democratic-led House passed the HEROES Act, a $ 3 trillion relief bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said it was too big to refuse to take. McConnell instead pushed for a $ 500 billion bill, which Democrats said was too narrow. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Treasury Secretary Steven Menuchin, meanwhile, have failed to reach a deal in the $ 1.8 trillion range.
McConnell, out of his new election, has said that he will again try to pass another limited relief bill that includes support for small businesses that he Will not accept “Absurd multitillion-dollar socialist wish list demanded of Democrats.”
Trump, still fighting over an electoral loss he vowed to fight, is an unexpected factor in the negotiations. For the past several weeks, he abruptly terminated and resumed negotiations and from November 3 showed little interest in resolving the crisis.
Meanwhile, according to business listing site Yelp, 60 percent of the stores that have closed since the epidemic began have done well.
More than just represent losses to their communities, termites can reduce the economic damage of coronoviruses and lengthen recovery. It is far easier for a business that survived an epidemic to improve conditions than for bankrupt owners to start once again.
“I think the permanent damage is already done and more damage will happen until we do nothing,” Sohan said. “Unfortunately, Washington is gridlocked.”
Debris is everywhere.
In Willington, North Carolina, the Dock Street Oyster Bar has managed to survive a barren storm in the past 21 years. Owner Steve Maillard said it was saved from an early low point by the teen drama “Dawson Creek,” whose production crew became a late night regular.
But last month, Maillard decided he could not justify continuing the debt, given the low turnover and uncertainty over whether health regulations would allow him to remain open with sufficient ability to break. It did not consider him fair.
“When you close the business, I don’t care what path you’re on, you’ll help get them back,” he said. “I’ve paid several million in taxes, and you’ve seen its abuse going to big corporations that don’t really need it and people like us need to go without.”
The economic climate is particularly strange for restaurants, bars, theaters, gyms, and other indoor businesses, which are losing revenue due to stricter health regulations and the double loss of customers, who avoid eating at home and eating out in winter. More likely.
Health officials are insisting state and local leaders face a growing number of Kovid-19 deaths to shut down or scale back indoor food, but without funding for reimbursement to owners from Washington, they are transitioning. And community businesses are forced into a cruel choice between dismantling.
“Small businesses dominate the services sector, where human interaction is an essential part of the business,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist at the Federation of Independent Businesses.
For some owners, luck is as much a factor as anything else. Muriel Ultiquity closed the New Orleans bar, Lost Love Lounge, as it became impossible to turn a profit under tight restrictions.
But another time he co-owns a few miles is Pirog’s Whiskey Beau, thanks to a larger outdoor space and a clientele more responsive to socializing in the epidemic.
“If you have a bar with a courtyard, you’re great right now, but so many bars don’t have that,” Ultiqueti said.
Even lawmakers have so far failed to acknowledge the threat to businesses, granting more than $ 100 billion in bipartisan bills and lending to independent bars, restaurants and theaters. Federal aid – even if it is approved this month – may take a few weeks or months before delivery.
Ultikriti said she knew of legislation pending in Congress, which might help, but it was impossible to hold back any short-term rent payments, but she was unable to negotiate any less.
“I can’t base anything to find out what was next. I can only see the next month or two in my picture,” he said.
Zaidi, a family-owned ghetto known for matzo ball soup in Denver, also closed its doors in October, yet relief is expected.
Jason Rudowski, whose father founded the restaurant in 1985, felt the business was already alive, and had little trouble getting a paycheck security loan. He credited the state authorities for taking proper health measures and keeping them well informed.
While the restaurant struggled to enforce regulations and accommodate new customer habits with limited capacity and staff, they assumed that more federal loans and grants would help cover the gap. Instead, it gradually came to dominate that Congress and the White House had other plans.
He said, “I am looking at the saw on the wall right now that we will not get any money in the near future.” “They care more about their election, and they don’t realize what’s happening in America.”