U.S. senators return to Washington next week and on their agenda is the Paycheck Protection Program and other economic stimulus benefits related to the coronavirus pandemic.
WAAY 31 spoke with the Alabama Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration to learn why another round of the program is so important to keeping small businesses open.
More than 67,000 loans totaling almost $6.2 billion were distributed during the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program.
And that's just in Alabama.
"Small businesses in Alabama represent 99, almost 98%, of all the businesses in Alabama. It's crucial to preserve those to the greatest extent possible, so anything we can do to help them is honestly going to help all of our communities," said Tom Todt.
The director of the Alabama District Office for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Tom Todt, says it's more important than ever to support small businesses.
The Gold Sprint Coffee shop is one of the Alabama small businesses that received a PPP loan.
"During the pandemic, I would say the small businesses are the ones who are hurting right now. The big businesses are making more money than they ever have," said manager at Gold Sprint Coffee, Alexis Christakes.
Christakes says it has been rough at times at the coffee shop during the pandemic.
"We laid off all of our part-time employees and we just kept on our four main full-time people. And we were working one person a shift for a while," said Christakes.
That's even with the Paycheck Protection Program loan.
"Almost all of it went to payroll, which you know is the biggest expense, so we're just trying to keep everyone employed and able to pay their bills and stuff," said Christakes.
Todt says supplemental funding for another Paycheck Protection Program is crucial to helping small businesses survive.
"Well the Paycheck Protection Program was designed to be able to enable small businesses to keep their employees or to call back employees that had been laid off because of the pandemic," said Todt.
There are other loan options for small businesses such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to help keep small business afloat during the pandemic.
It's easy to help our North Alabama small businesses. Just stop in to make a purchase or grab a bite to eat.