WASHINGTON (WJZ) — It’s no secret that Maryland businesses, particularly small businesses, have been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like many small businesses, the Art of Balance Wellness Spa in Baltimore has had to shut down the majority of its in-person appointments, now relying on virtual health and counseling sessions with their clients.READ MORE: Maryland Residents Starting To Get Booster Shots After CDC Announcement
“When we talk to other small businesses, they know exactly what we’re going through and we know what they’re going through,” Dr. Aderonke Omotade, of the Art of Balance Wellness Spa in Baltimore, said.
Co-owners — Dr.’s Omotade and Nia Banks — just received their paperwork after applying for their paycheck protection plan loan, known as PPP.
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It’s a program that provides forgivable loans for businesses to keep employees on the payroll.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: More Than 1.1K New Cases & 15 Deaths Reported Sunday
But if you haven’t already applied, bad news. The program has run out of money, at least for now.
“I think a lot of us have been hearing that many mom-and-pop shops have had difficulty accessing these funds, they don’t have connections to these big banks, so we want to make sure as we replenish the fund, we want to make sure the fund gets to all the small businesses that need it,” Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen said.
The Small Business Administration said Thursday it wouldn’t be accepting any more applications. So far, it has approved more than 1.6 million PPP loan applications, totaling $339 billion from more than 4,900 lenders.
The shortage is what prompted Van hollen — and others — to write a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking Congress to immediately replenish funds.
He said it’s essential to provide this economic lifeline for Maryland businesses.MORE NEWS: U.S. Has Enough COVID-19 Vaccines For Boosters, Kids’ Shots