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'Stressful is an understatement' | Local businesses hope for PPP as Congress continues stimulus talks

With leaders still debating over a possible second coronavirus relief package, at least one small business owner in DC hoped on Sunday that aid would come soon.

WASHINGTON — As Congress continues to debate over a second coronavirus relief package, many small businesses in the region and around the country hope for help soon as the pandemic brings plenty of hardship and concerns.

One plan, which totals over $900 billion and has received support from both Republicans and Democrats, would allocate almost $300 billion to refresh the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses.

On Sunday, Brown Beauty Co-Op owner Kimberly Smith said she was closely following developments on the discussions between leaders that are expected to resume this week.

"We’re following everything just to see what’s going to happen," she said. "Not only are we hoping that it gets passed but we’re hoping everything happens in a timely manner so that in that time span, we don’t have to close.” 

Smith opened the beauty shop near Dupont Circle with a friend two years ago and has seen other businesses close their doors along the street during the pandemic.

Following months of challenges brought on by the pandemic, the holiday rush from customers looking to buy items for Thanksgiving brought a boost for some stores. WASHINGTON - Following months of challenges and drops in revenue due to the pandemic and economic downturn, the rush to pick up items ahead of Thanksgiving brought a boost to some small businesses in the region on Wednesday.

After the spread of coronavirus led to shutdowns and economic upheaval, she said revenue dropped around 75% for her store.

While the holiday season has led to a bit of resurgence, she said a full recovery still seems far off.

"It’s been kind of scary. I am an owner-operated business. This is my full-time job," Smith said. "We are financing a lot of this on our own. When rent is due and customers aren’t coming in, we are paying for that.” 

Smith told WUSA9 that she did not qualify for the first round of PPP funding earlier this year.

However, with the second stimulus package now in the works, she hoped for better luck in the weeks ahead.

"It would make sure that this space is here, that we can pay our rent, and make sure that we can keep the lights on," she said. 

Due to shutdowns and restrictions, including curfews and capacity limits, the economic downturn has led to some shops and restaurants wondering if they can stay open.

As cases of coronavirus surge around the country, the situation could grow even worse over the next few weeks and months.

According to data from the National Federation of Independent Business released in late October, more than one-in-five small businesses may need to close their doors if conditions do not improve.

The group also released findings from a survey in late October that found 75% of small business owners would apply or consider applying for a second Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.

Smith is one of the owners hoping for PPP and she hoped Sunday that congressional leaders wouldn't keep small businesses waiting." If it’s a matter of a month, two months, three months that time for some may seem short but for a business, that’s an eternity," she said. "We are looking to see what’s going to happen with this new round of potential funding and if we as a small business qualify. We hope we do.”

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