In pandemic, small businesses take a hit

In pandemic, small businesses take a hit

Drive anywhere in Fayette and Coweta counties and look at the number of empty parking spaces in some of the region’s shopping area.

Some national outlets have not reopened and may not be coming back. Local restaurants are begging for business and offering specials to try and lure customers back into their businesses.

On Thursday, the news got grimmer for the economy. The national Gross Domestic Product dropped by an annualized rate of nearly 33 percent in the second quarter. Unemployment claims nationally remained high and showed no signs of leveling off anytime soon.

In mid-July, a survey by Goldman Sachs found that more than 80 percent of businesses that got loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program would run out of money during the first week of August.

Peachtree City Manager Jon Rorie said the city does not keep records of how many businesses have closed, and Fayette Chamber of Commerce President Colin Martin said the Chamber does not maintain a database of shuttered businesses either.

With Congress unable to decide on another stimulus bill, the options are narrowing for small businesses to weather the pandemic storm.

One resource that many business owners may not know about is a federal disaster loan.

One type of loan is an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

If you have suffered substantial economic injury and are one of the following types of businesses, you may be eligible for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL):

• Small Business

• Small agricultural cooperative

• Most private nonprofit organizations

The interest rate on EIDLs will not exceed 4 percent per year. The term of these loans will not exceed 30 years. The repayment term will be determined by your ability to repay the loan.

Additionally, the Fayette Chamber has enhanced its website with a COVID-19 resource page, which includes guidance for businesses and employers, lending resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration, and resources for managing a remote workforce.

In cooperation with other chambers of commerce in Georgia, the Fayette Chamber is cohosting a series of teleconferences and webinars on managing a business through this crisis.