All-terrain for local businesses | The Long Island Advance
As the pandemic closes as its first anniversary approaches, local business owners have braced and survived the ever-changing restrictions and reconfiguration of customer outreach.
At the center of information for small business owners are the Chambers of Commerce, whose leaders and members flocked to host Zoom meetings where traditionally friendly and frequented in-person lunches or dinners were arranged for updates. monthly updates.
The Bayport-Blue Point Chamber of Commerce hosted a busy Zoom meeting on Wednesday, February 24 with Willa Smith, a representative from the Business Development Center at Stony Brook University, which provides free services to local businesses and, more recently, for specialized forgivable loans during the pandemic.
“This past year has been a year for cultivating innovation as a chamber of our chamber members,” said Carol Seitz-Cusack, chair of the Bayport-Blue Point chamber. “We have been determined to convey vital information about PPP loans.”
The paycheck protection program, with federal government funds released after the approval of applications submitted by banking institutions, enacted last year after the pandemic, has come under heavy criticism from local business owners after large companies with sprawling accounting divisions have eaten up the lion’s share of funding.
This year, the second round of PPP devoted a two-week period (February 24 to March 9) to prioritize small businesses (businesses with less than 20 employees, as well as 1,099 workers or other sole proprietorships).
To be eligible, small businesses must prove a revenue drop of at least 25% quarter over quarter (many choose to use the second quarter of 2020 over 2019). The amount given by the PPP is calculated by determining the monthly wage bill and multiplying this number by 2.5 (for the hotel and restaurant sector particularly affected, this factor is increased to 3.5).
As with the first P3 cycle, if 60 percent or more of the funds are used for payroll, the loan is canceled.
Separate from the PPP, there is an economic disaster loan through the Small Business Administration. Although it is not forgivable, this loan is for 30 years at a rate of 3.75 percent (2.75 percent for nonprofits) with no fees to apply and only $ 100 to enter into.
Likewise, the Grand Sayville Chamber of Commerce also held information meetings and passed on all up-to-date information on loans to members. The Sayville Chamber even opened a business relief fund to directly help local businesses.
Throughout the pandemic, Sayville Chamber worked with individual members to tailor their action plan to secure funding for their industry and the size of their business.
The East Islip Chamber of Commerce also served as a quick information channel for members, but Gary Teich, president of the chamber, said: “Businesses need to rely on their bankers and / or accountants to help them s ‘find it there.
Patchogue Chamber of Commerce Executive Director David Kennedy said: “[I have] was proud to be part of many regional working groups and trade associations which have hosted experts and officials with valuable information which I immediately pass on to our members.
During his time on these committees, Kennedy has been a fierce advocate in government, claiming that these funds mostly go to small businesses.
Local elected officials also worked with chambers and businesses both advocating and relaying information on financial reparations.
Legis. Rob Calarco (D-7th District) has partnered with Connoisseur Media to produce a PSA outlining the PPP loan application process and raising awareness of its availability. In addition, the Calarco office had a designated staff member responsible for responding to all PPP loan appeals who accompanied interested parties throughout the application process. The Calarco team have also been inventive and informative through their social media channels to convey information to local business owners.
“Our office has worked to help businesses and organizations get back on their feet from the pandemic in a number of ways,” Calarco said.
In the 8th arrondissement, Legis. Anthony Piccirillo has worked with local chambers and throughout the past year he has served as the business liaison with questions about PPP restrictions, rules and regulations.
“I know how much the small business community is suffering and I will continue to be by their side to champion their cause,” added Piccirillo.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article stated that the PPP deadline was March 7. We regret this error.