SoCal stay-at-home order ‘likely’ to be extended Tuesday; small businesses await federal relief
Gov. Newsom announced the stay-at-home order issued three weeks ago that was set to expire Monday is “likely” going to be extended. The announcement is expected to come Tuesday from state public health officials.
It comes as grim news to businesses who are now working to secure federal coronavirus relief after a bill was passed.
“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said Jeffrey Bernstein, owner of downtown Palm Springs retail gift shop Destination PSP. “Our survival of our business, and probably a lot of businesses, relies upon it.”
Bernstein said the $900 billion bi-partisan federal relief package signed by President Trump late Sunday couldn’t come soon enough.
The new bill makes $284 billion available to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, using federally backed loans.
Bernstein said as the future of businesses remains uncertain, it’s critical those loans are forgivable. “We know that we’re going to go through a few months with no big conventions or events, and then we’re gonna hit the summer which is difficult,” he said.
He secured grant money in the last round of federal aid passed in late March, which allowed him to pay employees, but only in the short term. “That money ran out pretty quickly,” Bernstein said.
The federal relief comes as Gov. Newsom announced the state will likely extend the stay-at-home order that’s restricted Southern California for the last three weeks. ICU capacity in the region remains at 0.0 percent.
“It is clear and understandable that it’s likely those stay at home orders will be extended,” Newsom said.
Bernstein said over the course of this stay-at-home order, his online business saw a slight bump, but retail dropped between 25 to 40 percent.
He said business owners can expect a complicated road ahead to access this round of federal aid. “Be prepared for a very difficult process, but if you can get through, it’s definitely worth it.”
Gov. Newsom said significant announcements will come in January about more help for small businesses from the state.