Amy Wright’s coffee business has five locations and about 120 workers, all of whom have intellectual or developmental disabilities. When the Coronavirus pandemic struck, she had to close her stores and temporarily lay off these hardworking employees.
For most of them, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee is their first job. It offers a source of stability and meaningful wages to help them save for the future. Like many Americans these past few months, they felt fear and uncertainty about when the next paycheck would come.
This month, Wright’s small business was approved for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. As a result, “all of our employees are back on the payroll today,” she says.
“At Bitty & Beau’s, we like to use the phrase called ‘not broken,’” employee Michael Heup said today. “I know the great country of the United States isn’t broken, either.”
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) officially relaunched yesterday. After distributing $350 billion in loans to 1.6 million small businesses earlier this month, the program ran out of funds in just 14 days. Thanks to pressure from President Trump, Congressional Democrats eventually agreed to replenish the popular program.
The President signed that $310 billion funding refill into law on Friday. This afternoon, he welcomed small business owners to the White House to share their stories from the first successful round of loans in early April:
- Wright has said that her business-saving loan “is a game-changer for us.”
- Ed and Jim’s Body Shop in Pennsylvania has been in business for over 50 years. As Coronavirus forced Americans to stay home, owner Brandon Hutson had to lay off most of his workers. Now, the shop can reemploy its furloughed staff and provide each of them with a paycheck—a “live-saver for us,” Hutson says.
- Tony Stafford had to furlough over 100 employees when he was forced to close the dining rooms of his 3 restaurants in Virginia. “I promised every one of [my workers] we would get through this,” he said. “When we applied and received the PPP loan, I knew that I would be able to keep that promise.”
- JD Clark is a construction and maintenance firm specializing in low-income and affordable housing. All of its contracts were put on hold because of Coronavirus. Owner Tisa Clark describes talking to one of her employees, a single mother, after securing a PPP loan. “I could just see the relief coming to her!” Ms. Clark said.
With last week’s signing, President Trump has now allocated more than $670 billion for the loan program in total. During PPP’s first run, the Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department processed 14 years’ worth of loans in less than 14 days.
These loans have helped save 30 million American jobs so far. That number is expected to climb to over 60 million with this latest round of support.
🎬 President Trump: Americans are ready for our great economy to REOPEN!
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