coronavirus

‘This Is a Huge Blow’: Small Businesses Fight to Survive Amid Pandemic

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Business after business is shut down in Union Square in Somerville, Massachusetts.

"It's terrible," said Sheila Borges-Foley, whose family has run the Neighborhood Restaurant and Bakery for 40 years. "This is a huge blow."

The Neighborhood is still open for takeout and delivery, like countless restaurants across the state, but business is down 50% and she had to let four waitresses go.

"I'm just hoping everybody's got a little something put away just to get them through this time," she said.

There is help for small businesses on the way.

The federal government's stimulus package calls for several funding sources, including grants of up to $10,000 and loans of up to $2 million.

"If I needed a loan, absolutely, you do what you have to do to get by," said Borges-Foley, who hasn't decided if she'll seek outside financial assistance.

Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., spoke about the grants and loans that will be available once all of the legislation clears congressional hurdles.

"The money can be used to provide paid sick leave to employees, to maintain payroll, to meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruption," Warren said.

The money can also be used to cover debts like rent.

For now, Borges-Foley is running the restaurant day to day and hoping there's enough revenue to weather the financial storm.

"If you can stay open, you stay open, but if you can't, you don't," she said. "It doesn't make sense to run the numbers and to lose money, doesn't make any sense."

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