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Oklahoma pizzeria owner on small business loan program: It’s a ‘band-aid’ but it won’t last long

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Oklahoma pizzeria owner Mike Bausch called the federal relief for small businesses to deal with the economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic a temporary “band-aid that will fix what we have going on right now,” adding that “if it continues, we are going to need more from the states.”

Bausch, the owner of Andolini’s Pizzeria in Tulsa, made the comments on “Fox & Friends” on Friday. He added that “the states have just shut stuff down and done the safety measures, but the [federal government] is what is taking care of us right now and it’s not going to be enough.”

Bausch, who owns 11 restaurants, said he is currently “down to five, purely doing curbside and delivery.” He added that as a result, he had to furlough about 150 employees.

“That was a hard pill to swallow,” he said.

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Many lenders across the U.S. are expecting an influx of activity on Friday, the first day small businesses can begin applying for the federal relief program called for under the massive multitrillion-dollar stimulus package signed into law last week.

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The Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, is designed to incentivize companies with fewer than 500 employees to retain staff despite difficult economic conditions that have resulted from the coronavirus pandemic. Applicants can receive up to $10 million, which can be forgiven in certain cases. At least 75 percent of the money must be put toward payroll costs. However, payroll costs are capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis per employee.

“We immediately jumped on filling out the loan and getting with the SBA [Small Business Administration],” Bausch said. “It’s not the easiest of processes. We understand why. Nonetheless, we wish it was easier, getting over 20 documents together immediately so our bankers are fully prepared so that that way, when everyone does come back to work, we can go back to status normal.”

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He went on to say that his goal is always to hire as many workers as possible, but it will be hard to furlough workers and then expect them to come back.

“It’s a transient industry, some people come back or move on for whatever reason.”

In addition to PPP, small business owners can apply for relief through the SBA’s economic injury disaster loan program. Sometimes both programs can be an option.

“The word ‘furlough’ or ‘layoff’ has never been in my professional vocabulary, it’s not what we do,” Bausch said on Friday.

He then noted that “without doing anything wrong, just overnight, your legs are cut out from under you.”

“The goal here is to fix it and we’re very happy that Congress as a whole mobilized quickly, but that was done on the federal level,” he noted, stressing the fact that if the coronavirus outbreak continues he hopes states will intervene.

He said that in the meantime, he is helping his employees by providing them free food and creating a “staff fund,” which includes 20 percent of the proceeds from gift cards that the pizzeria sells.

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“Having to say to someone, ‘Sorry we don’t have a job for you anymore,’ when we were a thriving restaurant doing everything well, it’s just an insane proposition,” Bausch said.

Fox Business’ Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.

SOURCE : https://www.foxnews.com/media/oklahoma-pizzeria-owner-small-business-loan-program

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