Bay Area small businesses face closure, uncertain future amid COVID-19 despite state resources

California lawmakers say there are resources out there for struggling small businesses, but they say they either haven't received support or don't qualify for the assistance.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Small business owners across the Bay Area are either closing permanently or are unsure how long they can last during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawmakers say there are resources out there but for all of the small businesses, they either haven't received support or don't quality for it.

On Friday Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-Milpitas) organized a webinar with California State Treasurer Fiona Ma to discuss resources for small businesses.

"I think many people know, the extra $600 dollars of unemployment benefits from the federal level has expired," Ma said. "And so that means we're probably going to see a lot more people going back to work or looking for work. But my concern is, as a small business, some of them have closed permanently, where are people going to find work?"


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The State Treasurer said it's important to get as many resources out there for businesses.

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"And the state of California has entered into a public-private-partnership with private companies that are looking for workers," Ma said. "There's about a 100,000 opportunities for people looking for work, and that website is onwardca.org."

Director for the Alameda County Small Business Development Center Margaret Jackson said the PPP loan program ends Aug. 8.

"The program was extended from June 30 and it is ending Aug. 8," Jackson said. "So please work with your banks and work with your SBDC's now don't wait until Aug. 8. We do understand that not all banks are making the program as available as we'd like to, some of the small businesses are a bit smaller. But, there's other lenders so we can help support that process with you as well."

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Edgar Lugo, owner of West Portal Shoe Service in San Francisco, said he tried to apply for loans, but it didn't work.

"When I try it, they told me it was empty," Lugo said. "There wasn't funds, there wasn't money and it was gone. I tried to apply for the state and it was the same thing ok? So, why waste more time trying to get something that's not going to happen?"

Down the street on West Portal Annette Shulman runs Petals of A Flower Studio by herself.

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Shulman said if it wasn't for her landlord discounting her rent, she'd be closed by now.

"My landlord is absolutely is amazing, and I know it's not often. Right from the beginning they were very understanding," Shulman said.

"He told me that I could pay a bare minimum and then right now he said if you have a plan which I don't - as none of us do," Shulman said.

She said she could not qualify for PPP loans because she does not have employees. She said she's tried other ways.

"I don't have employees and everything else. And every time I go there it's like -you're not qualified, you're not qualified," she said.

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"Given today's situation if I get the same amount of orders I don't know maybe until January," Shulman said.

Bella Sag, owner of Simply Bella, said if she could she would close.

Her landlord is also discounting her rent price.

"I had four people in three days. And I do understand, nobody needs clothes right now for many reasons," the business owner said.

She hopes she can make it by the end of the year.

"I hope, I actually hope I can survive by it. It's just the stress of - people are not coming in," Sag said.

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