Colt now fears she may have to shutter her business permanently. Many small businesses nationwide are reaching similar breaking points in an economy with the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. Small firms have survived the pandemic so far with a mix of government aid, forbearance on debt and rent and creativity in selling to an increasingly homebound and financially distressed populace.
As the first wave of U.S. aid runs short – and landlords and lenders lose patience – lawmakers are in tense negotiations over a new round of stimulus, which could include more money for small business.
Older computer systems that took weeks to set up for the initial federal unemployment enhancement would need to be reprogrammed again twice under the GOP plan.
In Florida, state Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat from Orlando, said the state has not even gotten the original supplemental benefit to everyone entitled to it.
“So the idea of changing the current process that has taken us months to put into place, that is still not even perfect, is a scary thought,” she said.
“These changes, whatever they end up being, are going to create more bureaucratic layers for people to get the relief they need. Meanwhile we have bills to pay, we have to put food on the table, we have medical expenses and a lot of people are suffering.”
How to handle unemployment is a fiercely contested part of the debate as Congress negotiates the latest relief legislation.