Small businesses struggle to keep doors open even with paycheck protections

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — Since the start of the Bay Area’s shelter in place order last month, Fil-Am owned Hula Hoops restaurant in South San Francisco has been providing Filipino – Hawaiian fusion meals to front line workers, sustained through GoFundMe donations.

In spite of its generosity, Hula Hoops, like many small businesses in America, are struggling to keep its doors open, even though it has applied for the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.

“Our sales have declined by 90%. But we stayed open for our community to support our community, to support some of the employees that we still have, but in the hopes that we are going to get loans from the PPP. But since I received an email a few days ago that the PPP $250 billion project has now been depleted. So we don’t know how long we are going to last,” said owner Sherry Chua.

According to the Associated Press — 75 companies identified as beneficiaries of the program received a combined $300 million in low-interest, taxpayer-backed loans.

Companies that received the maximum $10 million loans include national restaurant chains like Potbelly, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Shake Shack.

However on Monday — Shake Shack said it will return the loan to give smaller restaurants a chance to get government money.

But there’s still not enough help for small businesses.

“When it comes to the PPP, people have submitted their applications. They’ve submitted applications. The second day, the financial institutions are rejecting a lot of people. And therein lies the problem,” said Supervisor David Canepa, San Mateo County.

Through a partnership with the San Mateo County supervisors and the Silicon Valley community foundation — the San Mateo County strong fund will provide emergency grants to small businesses totaling $10,000 each.

While this won’t fix all the problems — Supervisor Canepa hopes it buys time while the Trump administration tries to fulfill its pledge to provide lasting help to small business owners.

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