It is no surprise that small businesses have gone through hardships throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, according to a recent survey by Small Business for America’s Future, almost half of small businesses believe they will have to shut their doors by the end of this year without more federal assistance.
Not only is this crushing to the communities that depend on small business support, but it will have a significant impact on our nation’s GDP, as small businesses account for 44% of it, and our workforce, where around half of all private-sector workers are employed.
York has felt the major impact this crisis has had on our small businesses, particularly on our dining establishments, retailers, and arts & culture centers. Even with the innovations that our small businesses have made to overcome these challenging times, more assistance from the federal government is critical for their survival.
This fall, the YCEA assisted the County of York with distributing CARES Act funds to small businesses and nonprofits in York through the YoCo Strong Restart Fund. Well over $18 million was requested and 39% of those who were awarded included small businesses owned by persons of color. Those in vulnerable industries such as personal care, retail, restaurants, hospitality, and tourism were awarded 45% of the grants. These numbers prove that our small businesses in every industry still have a significant need for more funding by the federal government if they wish to remain in operation.
The federal assistance we are asking for comes in the form of federally guaranteed loans at favorable terms that will allow small businesses to stay in operation well into 2021. These loans must be dispersed rapidly and to all small businesses in need, particularly those owned and run by the BIPOC community, who have historically had less access to capital. In addition, those hardest hit industries, like restaurants and hair salons, should be eligible for loan forgiveness.
How You Can Help
To assist in your outreach, there is sample text below that is available for you to copy and use when reaching out to your elected officials. You can customize the message for your own circumstances or send it as is.
Here is a helpful way to find your elected officials contact forms. Click here to review the list of Federal Officials representing York County. Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey represent all Pennsylvania’s. Congressman Perry represents the 10th Congressional District – see map. Congressman Smucker represents the 11th Congressional District – see map.
Please note: Senator Casey and Congressman Smucker are co-sponsors of the Restart Act and have advocated for the bill’s passage.
I am writing to you today to strongly encourage you to support legislation that will allow our small businesses in York to sustain operations well into 2021.
Bills such as the RESTART Act, introduced by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Senator Todd Young’s (R-IN) have strong bipartisan support in the House and Senate and provides help to small businesses in need.
Additional initiatives that can help support our small businesses include providing federally guaranteed loans with favorable terms to allow small businesses to adapt and remain in operation throughout the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. The hardest-hit industries should be available for at least partial loan forgiveness. The federal government must ensure distribution of these loans to those small businesses run by the BIPOC who have historically had less access to capital. It is essential this relief be distributed through the next relief package.
These crucial measures, and others similar, must get passed throughout federal, state, and local government so that our small businesses in PA can remain a keystone in our lives and continue to provide community support, employment, innovation, and growth to our area.
I ask that you contact your Senate and House leaders to ensure that Pennsylvania small businesses can stay open through the end of this year and into 2021.
If you have any questions, please reach out to David Gonzalez, Advocacy Manager for YCEA at firstname.lastname@example.org.