WASHINGTON — Small business owners and advocates are sounding off as members of Congress negotiate another round of coronavirus relief funding. They’re urging lawmakers to make some changes to the rescue program and quickly before they’re forced to close their doors for good.

What You Need To Know

  • Small businesses calling on lawmakers to act on COVID-19 relief

  • Business owners say time is of the essense in getting aid

  • Survey: 44% of businesses at risk of permanent closure without stimulus

“We received the first round of PPP, after about 8 weeks, the funds ran out,” said Luisa Santos, the owner of Lulu’s Ice Cream in Miami.

Santos, who has been running her company for six years, says she needs more help. With business down over 60 percent, she said she’s banking on another round of small business loans.

“All of us are making decisions day by day to do what it takes to survive, another day, another week, another month. For us, the PPP allowed me to keep my employees and now without additional help, we are making tough decisions,” Santos explained.

According to data released by the advocacy group Small Business Majority, 80 percent of small business owners are interested in another loan. Awesta Sarkash, the Governor Affairs Manager with the group said flexibility in the next round of funding is critical.

“They are requiring that the small business demonstrates a 50 percent decline in gross receipts, to us, that’s way too burdensome,” Sarkash explained.

"For a lot of small business owners, a lot of the most vulnerable small businesses, 25 percent is enough to sink their business,” she added.

The loans become a grant if borrowers spend at least 60 percent on payroll. However, advocates say that threshold should be even lower.

“Especially for the smallest of businesses, in a lot of situations, their mortgage, their rent payments are even higher than their payroll costs,” Sarkash said in a Zoom interview with Spectrum News.

As negotiations on Capitol Hill for another stimulus package drag on, entrepreneurs like Santos say time is of the essence.

“We need help now to make sure we can thrive and make it through this and come out on the other end,” Santos said.

In a recent survey, Small Business Majority found 44 percent of small businesses risk permanent closure in the next six months without additional stimulus funding. The need is even more urgent for 6 percent who say they won’t be able to survive one more month without that additional assistance.