After weekend of frustration, small businesses make progress on emergency loans

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ROANOKE, Va (WDBJ7) For Christy Bennett, Friday was a frustrating day. The co-owner of memorabilia store Sports Haven, Bennett was trying to apply for part of the multi-billion-dollar federal stimulus package called the Paycheck Protection Program.

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"You could see the application, but you couldn't submit it," she said.

Bennett and her husband kept trying, hour after hour. Finally, at 3 a.m. Saturday, the website started working.

"So I got my Husband up, said 'get up we need to apply for this now," she said.

They're not the only ones who had issues.

"It's been a wild 72 hours," said Cameron Johnson, the President of Magic City Ford.

Johnson says after days of frustration, his application was finally processed Monday afternoon.

"They got it all together and everything's been great," he said.

Other businesses report a similar turnaround over the weekend.

According to the Small Business Administration, Paycheck Protection Loans are available for all businesses with 500 employees or fewer. The money can be used for "payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities," and the loan will be forgiven if businesses keep their employees on for eight weeks.

Christy Bennett says these funds are a vital lifeline during the coronavirus pandemic.

"This was something we said we'd definitely have to jump on."

However, the PPP loans are just a one-time shot in the arm.
If this economic downturn drags on, both Christy Bennett and Cameron Johnson say more may need to be done.

"I think two and a half months is at least a start, and hopefully we come through that before then," said Johnson.

Bennett added, "If things don't turn around, then there's going to have to be something else for small businesses."

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