BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore business owners in Fells Point say it is a struggle every single day to keep their doors open and even come close to making a profit.

They said this second wave of stimulus money is long overdue. They have been adapting and reorganizing their business models since the start of the pandemic. All of that has been pretty costly.

“And the truth of the matter is, we’re trying to survive,” said Claudia Towles, owner of Amuse Toy.

Towles is the owner of Amuse Toys in Fells Point. Like all retail stores in Baltimore City, she’s operating at a limited 25% capacity. But she now needs more employees on call to enforce all of the required rules.

“Limited resources because of the limited capacity, both financial and also human capacity, and we need to see that reflected in the stimulus to support small business,” Towles said.

As part of the federal relief package, $284 billion will be allocated for small businesses in the form of forgivable paycheck protection loans.

Beth Hawks owns Zelda Zen. She hopes that struggling Main Street restaurants benefit from some of this money.


Indoor and outdoor dining is now closed across Baltimore City, with the exception of takeout and delivery.

“When you take out a whole section of businesses which is the restaurants, the bars and cafes, and they’re closed, retail doesn’t thrive without our neighbors,” Hawks said.

Maryland reported more than 2,000 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, and hospitalizations have increased to 1,600. This increase came after two days of decline.

As more money is approved for local businesses and unemployed Americans, Lynda Mischler and Ray Ginsbury wonder whether it’s too little too late.

“I think that will be great to get some funding,” Mischler said.

“It’s not arriving on time and it’s not doing enough,” Ginsbury said.

The stimulus bill also includes $12 billion for minority-owned businesses or very small businesses, and $15 million for theatre operators and small venue owners.

Rachel Menitoff