Less than two weeks after the announcement that small businesses would be able to apply for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act as the novel coronavirus’s spread has impacted their sales and revenue, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza issued a statement revealing that the program has run out of money. 

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In the statement, Mnuchin and Carranza write, “We urge Congress to appropriate additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program—a critical and overwhelmingly bipartisan program—at which point we will once again be able to process loan applications, issue loan numbers, and protect millions more paychecks.”

Small business owners are panicking in response to the news and growing fears that they’ll have to say goodbye to their businesses as well as their employees. According to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, 47% of the U.S. workforce is employed at small businesses, which house less than 500 employees.

On Wednesday, April 15th, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation launched a fund to help small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19, Forbes reports.

According to NPR, retail sales dropped a whopping 8.7% last month. Economists predict that April and May will have even more significant drops as shutdowns and shelter in place orders continue. Across the country, millions of workers have either been furloughed or laid off in an attempt to save at-risk businesses.

It’s not all about money, though. Small businesses are important contributors that drive and support the cultural landscapes, relationships, and connections within communities. Amidst continued economic uncertainty, restaurants are donating meals to healthcare providers on the frontline of the pandemic. They’re providing warm meals to houseless people who don’t have consistent access to food and supplying them with masks, cleaning supplies and blankets.

It is unclear whether Congress will appropriate additional funds to the program to support debt relief and recovery for small businesses; however, the unwavering commitment that some small businesses have shown in combating food and housing insecurity in their communities will not be forgotten.

ESSENCE is committed to bringing our audience the latest facts about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Our content team is closely monitoring the developing details surrounding the virus via official sources and health care experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Please continue to refresh ESSENCE’s informational hub for updates on COVID-19, as well as for tips on taking care of yourselves, your families and your communities.

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