Last week, in a Goldman Sachs survey of 1,500 small business owners in the United States, 51% of them said that, amidst the COVID-19 crisis, their business could only continue to operate for 0-3 months.
In that same survey, 96% of business owners said that their business was already impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. The survey was taken from March 16-March 17.
Today, after the House passed a $2tn stimulus package — the largest bailout in U.S. history — President Trump signed it into law.
The package will ensure that all individuals whose income is $75,000 or less receive a $1,200 check. Couples who make up to $150,000 will be eligible to receive $2,400.
Small businesses that have 500 or fewer employees will also have access to federally backed loans. The package will even extend unemployment by 13 weeks, and offer $600 for each of those weeks. “Pandemic employment assistance” was also added to the bill; this offers unemployment to freelancers and contractors who aren’t typically covered.
In Milpitas, once the shelter-in-place order took effect on March 17, small businesses have struggled to stay afloat. Restaurants, considered essential businesses, were allowed to stay open, but only for take-out or delivery orders. However, some restaurant owners quickly decided to close up, as the amount of orders coming in didn’t make staying open worthwhile.
Louie Perivoliotis, the owner of Mil’s Diner, decided to close down one day into the shelter-in-place order. “….I got 5 calls for food. And that’s it. It’s not worthwhile to stay open from morning to afternoon. And I can’t keep the food fresh for each day, if I don’t serve it,” said Perivoliotis.
The City of Milpitas recently had their first virtual meeting of its Economic Development Subcommittee, newly formed to help struggling small business owners in the community.
When asked how the meeting went, Councilmember Carmen Montano, who sits on the Subcommittee, said, “I feel it went well. There were a few glitches in the beginning with the webinar technology. We also discussed how we have to be mindful and realistic of how cities are also being impacted with loss of revenues to the city which point to a recession budget.”
Montano also mentioned that they focused on three things during the meeting: creating a survey to access the immediate impacts that the shelter-in-place order has had on small businesses, how the City can help with advertising/marketing strategies, and potentially asking Council for a relief fund of $100,000 to support business owners.
The Milpitas Chamber of Commerce is also stepping up to do what they can to support fellow business owners and spread the word by sharing information on helpful resources.
“We want our businesses to stay alive,” said Chamber Vice-President Inderjit Mundra. “If we can help them to stay afloat over these next few months, that’s very critical.” Mundra believes that business owners shouldn’t hesitate to apply for loans to ensure that their businesses are able to weather these tough times.
The Chamber recently launched a COVID-19 section on their website, which is full of resources, including where to apply for business loans.