March 26, 2021
Senate passes PPP extension
On Thursday, the Senate passed a bill extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline from March 31 (next Wednesday) until May 31, 2021. This buys more time for the 190,000 small businesses who have pending PPP applications to get funding, as well as for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to process applications. The bill grants the SBA an additional 30 days beyond May 31 for processing. While the bill has passed both houses of Congress, it still needs the president to sign it into law.
If you need funding for your business, there’s still $50 billion in available PPP funds left in the program. A Gusto lending partner can guide you through the application process.
Winter is coming to a close, vaccines are rolling out, and the reopening process is underway—but it’s far from smooth or simple. For businesses on the front lines—like restaurants restarting indoor dining, for example—the road to reopening has many challenges. These stories from business owners shed light on a few:
In Austin, Texas, Italian restaurant L’Oca d’Oro is finally getting ready to reopen soon for outdoor dining. Co-owner Adam Orman said he’s trying to hire about 30% more staff. “We need service staff. We need line cooks. We need a sous chef,” he said. And so do most of the restaurants he knows. In fact, Orman said, there are so many restaurant jobs open now that he’s having trouble finding people. “We guarantee a living wage, we provide health benefits, we provide paid time off. And it’s still really difficult to attract folks.”
“Many of our staff have found it very difficult to navigate the vaccination appointment websites that are out there and how it funnels you into the different third-party corporate sites. We’ve actually had to help make appointments, set appointments, even helping their frontline working family members make these appointments,” Vanda Asapahu, chef and co-owner of LA’s Ayara Thai, tells LAist.
“For my restaurant, the vaccine prioritization didn’t coincide with indoor dining reopening at 25% capacity recently in the Bay Area. My staff and myself do not feel safe to reopen indoors because we’re still trying to find vaccine appointments and ensure our community is also protected against COVID-19. For now, I made the decision to hold off on reopening, which wasn’t an easy decision to make, but a necessary one for the safety of my employees and customers,” says Gusto customer Jazmine Lalicker, owner of The Shuckery in Petaluma, CA.
That pressure is real, says Sylvie Gabriele, owner of Love & Salt in Manhattan Beach. She’s not sure when her restaurant will reopen for indoor dining but if it doesn’t and nearby restaurants do, “That puts us in a difficult position. Because as they open up and we stay closed, we’re pretty much just handing over our business to other restaurants. So I have mixed feelings about it.”
How has the vaccine rollout been impacting your business? We want to hear from you. Submit your story here.
New from Gusto
The ARP COBRA subsidy, explained
There’s a provision in the recently passed American Rescue Plan that can help out both employees and employers. The new legislation provides a temporary subsidy for COBRA premiums for many employees who have lost their jobs or had hours cut during the pandemic. Employers will pay the upfront costs of COBRA premiums and receive a tax credit against their share of the Medicare payroll tax. Learn more about it here.
The small business owner’s guide to outsourcing
One of the never-ending challenges of being a small business owner is making sure you spend your time most wisely. Are you outsourcing all the work you should be? And for that matter, are you insourcing all the work that needs doing in-house? Inc. writer Jeff Haden has two formulas to help you find out for sure. Read more here.
The SBA will begin accepting applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program on April 8. If you’re interested in applying, the SBA is hosting a free educational webinar on the application process on Tuesday, March 30, at 11:30am PT | 2:30 pm ET. Register here.
Top relief options for the week
- Round 5 of the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant is now open to applicants. Those who applied during rounds 1 through 3 and were waitlisted are also eligible to receive the grant and do not need to reapply; they will be moved automatically into round 5.
- Working Washington Round 4 offers grant relief funds to small for-profit businesses in Washington State, especially those that were required to close due to public health and safety measures. Applications open on March 29.
- City of Marietta, Ohio’s Small Business Relief Fund seeks to help small businesses restart their operations after being closed for a period of time due to the pandemic. Qualifying businesses can receive up to $3,000, and a total of $84,000 is available. Applications will be reviewed and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted.
- See more relief options in our Small Business Relief Finder.
Want more small business news and resources? Check out past editions in our archive.