Small Businesses Need More Aid to Keep Employees, SBA Chief Says

Small businesses need a new round of loans and aid from the government to keep employees working as the pandemic continues to spread, the head of the Small Business Administration said Tuesday.

SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said business owners have told her they need a renewal of the Paycheck Protection Program that was part of the last stimulus passed by Congress, but with changes that would help them expand.

Small Businesses Need More Aid to Keep Employees, SBA Chief Says

“They’ve told me that another round of PPP would be helpful, but with different dynamics,” Carranza said on Bloomberg Radio’s Balance of Power. They say they need loans that could specifically be used for business growth they had planned before the pandemic.

“They want to make sure they don’t lose ground or momentum in that particular area,” she said, adding that the funding would ideally support investment in things like square footage and machinery to keep growing.

Democrats and the White House have been unable to reach a deal on another stimulus package for the U.S. economy, despite agreement on individual provisions like renewing the PPP. The program ended Aug. 8 with almost $134 billion in funds left over. President Donald Trump and his aides suggested Tuesday that any virus relief legislation likely would have to wait until after the Nov. 3 U.S. election.

Carranza recently visited small businesses and parts of the lending community in Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. She said many businesses have been able to keep employees and add extra necessities, thanks to the PPP, which distributed 5.2 million loans worth $525 billion.

“They’ve been adaptable. They’ve been able to pivot some of their business plans and incorporate some of the PPP,” she said.

Many restaurants have been able to retain employees and regular business hours while still abiding to guidelines with outdoor dining and curbside pick-up, Carranza said. But she said she’s still particularly worried about them.

“When the winter hits, I don’t know how many more curbside meals you can have,” she said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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