Three weeks after the shelter-in-place order, small businesses are still waiting on badly-needed federal funds to help stay afloat. Congress approved $356 billion in small business relief but even applying for the money hasn’t been easy.
“We are still open, but we’ve lost 40-50% of our business and it is challenging,” said Erika Minkowsky from The Heirloom Chef.
She’s been doing her best to keep the personal chef and catering company she co-owns serving up meals.
Minkowsky and her business partner are desperately hoping to get a slice of the billions of dollars Congress has approved for small business emergency loans and grants but so far, no luck.
“I don’t know anybody who’s gotten a loan we are very frustrated,” she said.
Co-owner Maggie Lawson says she had a hard time just finding a bank to accept their application for the highly-touted Payroll Protection Program and she’s heard nothing back about her request for an SBA disaster loan.
“Dealing with the bureaucracy has become a full-time job for me,” Lawson said.
The owner of Wing Man, a small restaurant in Cotati says he hasn’t gotten any response either. He says without relief many small businesses simply won’t make it.
“They say the money’s coming but so are the bills too,” said owner Joe Trez.
Minkowsky says she’s determined to keep providing healthy meals for her clients, but the Heirloom Chef needs all the support it can get.
“Where’s the money?” she said. “We need help to stay open so we can endure what’s happening. It’s been hard.”
Officials across the Bay Area say the delay in getting federal funds to small business is a huge problem. The Golden Gate Restaurant Association says it’s surveyed its members and found only one restaurant who has actually gotten a relief check.