Potions in Motion owner Jason Savino knew his business was in serious trouble in April.
By that point, Covid-19 cases were multiplying nationwide and local restrictions were enacted to shutter nonessential businesses and limit virus transmissions. In just over a month, Savino’s thriving catering business had $700,000 worth of cancellations – and the hits kept coming.
“We went from a full schedule to literally zero work overnight,” he said.
Savino was grateful to receive a Paycheck Protection Program in May, shortly after the $600 billion forgivable loan program launched. But months later, he’s back to treading water and said the program ultimately did little to aid his business.
Nearly 400,000 businesses in Florida, including thousands in the tri-county region, received PPP loans before the program’s Aug. 8 deadline, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. The forgivable loan was intended to cover payroll expenses for businesses with less than 500 employees, a cash infusion small-business owners say they were relieved to receive during the height of the coronavirus outbreak.
But many small-business owners argue the program – created and implemented by Congress in only weeks – gave larger businesses an unfair advantage because it awarded funds based on an applicant’s number of employees.
Others say the program’s regulations limited the way they could spend the funds, a detriment for ventures in hard-hit industries that did little to no business for months.
From South Florida Business Journal