Small business owners fear they’ll go under because of coronavirus pandemic, hope from ‘Paycheck Protection Program’


CONNECTICUT, (WTNH) — Small businesses are being crushed by the coronavirus, but there is help in the form of the “Paycheck Protection Program” from the federal government.

“I’m hoping it doesn’t go past another month, otherwise I don’t know what anyone is going to do,” said Cindy Rispoli. “It’s just the unknown for everybody.”

Rispoli hasn’t had any money coming in. Her salon, Creative Hair, has been closed for two weeks. 

“I made arrangements with the mortgage company. I contacted creditors.”

Some businesses are losing half or all of their revenue and they don’t know if they can survive. 

RELATED: New Haven Board of Alders votes to help low-income workers during pandemic

“It’s been bad,” said Peter Vouras, owner of Freskos restaurant. “You’re doing maybe half of what we normally do.”

Freskos has two locations. The owner said they had to temporarily close one restaurant in New Haven and lay people off. 

“The bar next to us is closed and even the whole block is; a whole block is like a ghost town,” Vouras said.

But there is hope for Vouras and Rispoli in the form of the “Paycheck Protection Program.” Mike Maksymiw, tax partner at Marcum, said small businesses can get help through the program.

“The point of the program is to get the funds into the business owners’ hands so they can pay themselves and they can pay their employees so they can buy groceries and continue to live while we are in this isolation period,” Maksymiw said. “You can have a loan that’s a 2 1/2 times your average monthly payroll. So, if you normally spend $10,000 a month on payroll, you can get a $25,000 loan.”

Maksymiw said there’s the potential for the loan to be completely forgiven. 

“You can run your business for two months on it, and you spend the money on the appropriate things [and] at the end of the day you submit a forgiveness application to the bank and you don’t have to pay the loan.”

Small businesses said soon they’ll have to make some big decisions. 

“I can probably see by May 1 where we are and if the curve has been flattened then that is a positive sign, but if it’s still going on then we have to make a decision,” Vouras said.

As of Sunday morning, the Connecticut Bankers Association announced that $4 billion in loans have been processed nationwide since the program launched Friday.

They say banks are working so that anyone who qualified for a PPP loan will have access to one soon.

For help, small business owners should check out the following resources:

 Marcum coronavirus resource center

Payroll Protection Program application

Economic Injury Disaster Loan application

Economic Injury Disaster Loan SBA

U.S. Treasury

AICPA resource center

U.S. Chamber of Commerce small business guide

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