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ASA, U.S. Rep. Advise Small Business Owners to Act

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March 31, 2020—On Tuesday, the Automotive Service Association hosted a webinar on how to effectively handle the trickle-down effect of the COVID-19 outbreak as a small business owner. 

Ray Fisher, ASA’s president and executive director, along with Bob Redding, ASA’s Washington D.C. representative, were joined by Congressman Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-Ga.) 

Congressman Carter discussed last Friday’s passing of the third coronavirus stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The $2 trillion dollar act includes increased funding and relief for small businesses along with loan forgiveness programs. 

“Hopefully we have given [small business owners] some reason for optimism in passing the Coronavirus relief package,” Carter said, “particularly … phase 3, which is going to increase the amount of Small Business Administration loans significantly. 

“[It] will give us the opportunity to get money into the hands of small businesses so they can stay liquid. ... We’re trying to make sure that the employee-employer relationship remains there.” 

Congressman Carter touched on two very important aspects of the package: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). 

  • The PPP: This was passed to allow small businesses with roughly eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through federally guaranteed loans. 
  • The EIDL: can provide up to $2 million of financial assistance to small businesses as a result of the coronavirus. For more information, click here. 

Small business owners can apply for both types of financial assistance, although they cannot be used for the same purpose, and, if all the requirements are met, can be forgiven. Essentially, they will be treated like grants, if used for their intended purpose. 

The CARES act has been fast-tracked, the congressman explained. The SBA needs to issue regulations within 15 business days of enactment. Because of this, information for the PPP is not yet available on the website, but the congressman says that could change by late this week.

Congressman Carter strongly suggested that shop owners take action immediately. 

“As soon as this phone call is over, I’d start the application process ASAP,” he said on Tuesday. “I would do it as soon as I could, even if you’ve never applied for a federal loan before.” 

Carter also noted that the EIDL, for example, has an automatic $10,000 grant that will be forgiven just for applying for it. 

“There’s $10,000 that’s just waiting for you,” he said. 

The reason it’s there is because the administration knows that many small business owners sorely need it. So, Carter, Fisher and Redding recommend dropping your pride as a shop owner, because nothing like this has ever happened in any of our lifetimes. This was not anyone’s fault, they explained, and in order to keep your business running, action needs to be taken. 

Take action right now, they said, and, for the PPP, contact your banker, and for the EIDL, get ahold of the SBA. Get started and streamline the process, Fisher recommended. 

If any ASA members are running into issues, Fisher encourages those members to reach out to the organization’s leaders so they can help.

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