Who cares about the CARES Act?

CARES Act: Why small businesses are not getting adequate support, and why it is important for you as a member of your community to step-in and help. 
Lily Pillsbury 

During COVID-19, it is easy for you as a member of your community to be more inclined to shop at Amazon or Walmart due to the convenience of online shopping and curb-side pickup. Nevertheless, now more than ever is the time to put all efforts into supporting and consuming from local small businesses. 

Small businesses during the time of COVID-19 are facing the challenge of growing their business while simultaneously surviving in an unsteady economy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 83% of small businesses within the accommodation and food service sectors have experienced negative effects, and an average of 31.4% believe that it will take more than six months before business returns to usual – more of these statistics can be found here.

It is a crucial time to step up and help out your local grocery store, convenience store, or boutique as they are struggling the most. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and with this pandemic presenting an unknown future for a number of businesses, any action that community members can do to help will result in a successful recovery. 

In an attempt to help the businesses struggling the most, the Trump Administration passed the CARES act – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act – which provides economic assistance to workers, families and small businesses in America. Additionally, this bill was proposed to help sustain and preserve jobs for various American industries. 

This bill contains protection for small businesses, labeled the Small Businesses Paycheck Protection Program – information on how to apply can be found here. This program aims to provide small businesses with some relief during these unprecedented times. It will provide small businesses with the resources they would need in order to hire back employees and maintain payroll as well as cover any overhead costs such as rent and costs for utilities. This paycheck program is designed to help businesses for up to 8 weeks. After those 8 weeks are over, small and local businesses will be left to fend for themselves.

Although this bill provides immediate support, it is important to understand that it is more of a relief bill rather than a stimulus bill. The money that is given to small businesses will help keep their heads above water during the lockdown period, but fails to provide adequate support for the sustainability of small businesses. Re-opening of small businesses during COVID-19 could be a time for immense growth, but the assistance that the US government is providing needs to go much further than a one-time stimulus bill. 

The bill helps protect small businesses from the immediate economic impact caused by COVID-19, but does not help planning for what the future may bring. The economic boost that small businesses provide, such as more jobs and more innovative ideas, shows the importance of supporting these businesses. Consuming from small businesses rather than the large online chains, small business revenue will increase substantially which will benefit the local economy by creating more jobs and keeping the wealth local.  

The majority of financial assistance during this time should be going towards helping local small businesses; according to Forbes, the largest flaw within the CARES Act is this lack of adequate support for community driven businesses. The role of small businesses in the economy will create a strong community bond in any growing city. Small businesses are unique and have different stories to tell, which will help make any neighborhood and city thrive. 

With the help from community members, small businesses could come out of this pandemic more successful than before. We are in a time where everyone needs to come together and help the more vulnerable, which includes shopping local and supporting industries that need it the most. 

June 3rd, 2020