COLUMBUS, Ohio — The coronavirus pandemic has placed unprecedented stress on the country's small businesses, and with no end in sight, almost half of small-business owners recently surveyed said they anticipate needing additional financial support over the next six months.
The Paycheck Protection Program deadline is now Sat., Aug. 8, after Congress extended the deadline to allow more small-business owners to participate.
Kevin Kuhlman, vice president for federal government relations with the National Federation of Independent Business, said four out of five small-business owners already have applied for relief, and almost all them were granted loans.
"But, seven in 10 small-business owners have already extended all of that funding," Kuhlman said. "So, many are in the process of applying for forgiveness. That timeline begins on August 10th, and about half are looking for additional financial assistance in the next 12 months."
The survey found 21% of small-business owners have or anticipate having to lay off employees due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Ohio is home to more than 944,000 small businesses, employing 2.2 million people, according to data from the federal Small Business Administration.
Kuhlman added on the positive side, almost half of small-business owners said they are nearly back to where they were in sales, and some have even surpassed pre-COVID profits. But he pointed out the uncertain nature of the pandemic means companies' situations could change overnight.
"But, they still face challenges, whether it's shutdown orders or stay-at-home orders, or constraints on some of the financial assistance that has been provided," Kuhlman said.
He said small businesses are an economic powerhouse for many communities, and believes their resistance is vital for long-term economic health.
"Small businesses, pre-pandemic, provided almost half of the jobs," Kuhlman said. "They created two-thirds of all new jobs, and they provide about half of the GDP to the economy."
The HEALS Act, a fourth-round relief package backed by Senate Republicans, would allow small businesses to apply for a second forgivable paycheck protection loan, but only if they can show their revenue has decreased by at least 50% during the pandemic.