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Senator Hassan Holds Virtual Roundtable with NH Businesses to Discuss COVID-19 Relief Programs

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan met virtually last week with New Hampshire business leaders who have received funding through COVID-19 relief programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), to discuss the ongoing needs of Granite State businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Senator Hassan is working to support small businesses through the pandemic, and the Senate recently unanimously approved an extension of the deadline for small businesses and non-profits to apply for PPP loans. Senator Hassan also supported legislation – which is now law – to give small employers more flexibility in using these federal funds. In April, Senator Hassan also supported bipartisan legislation to significantly bolster funding for programs that aide small businesses, including PPP. Additionally, Senator Hassan recently joined a group of her colleagues in urging U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza to readjust regulatory requirements so that seasonal employers in New Hampshire and across the country can access the full amount of the PPP loans for which they qualify.


See below for coverage highlights:


Caledonian Record: Business Owners Call For More Funding

By: Paul Hayes


Battered by the coronavirus, small businesses face an uncertain future.


A recent survey conducted by the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center shows just how uncertain.


Of the 1,549 businesses polled, one in six weren’t sure they’d be around in a year.


“That’s really concerning,” said Liz Gray, State Director of the NHSBDC.


Now, business leaders are looking for assurances.


In a roundtable with Sen. Maggie Hassan on Thursday, they asked for additional federal relief, to pick up where the $2 trillion CARES Act and $669 billion Paycheck Protection Program left off.


Another injection of funding would allow businesses — particularly those in the hard hit restaurant, hospitality, and entertainment industries — to absorb the collective economic impact of the pandemic.


“The Payroll Protection Program saved us,” said Jay Bolduc, Managing Operator of Great NH Restaurants, which employs 650 people at eight restaurants in the southern part of the state. “Now we are in a position where we’re desperate for another round.”


Hassan aims to deliver.


She will push for a new relief package when the Senate reconvenes next week.


Congressional leaders are expected to strike a deal at some point, but they face a political divide: Democrats pushed a $3 trillion bill through the House but Senate Republicans are expected to counter with a $1 trillion proposal.


Hassan also mentioned extending tax credits provided through the CARES Act, such as the employee retention tax credit.


No matter the outcome, she endorsed a long-term approach.


“We need to think beyond eight week relief packages for certain industries,” Hassan said.


[…] Hassan agreed on the need for a national strategy.


That includes a plan for immunization, she said.


“There is growing confidence in the scientific community that we’re going to see meaningful vaccines,” Hassan said. “The hard part here — in addition to the science that’s happening — is making sure that we are prepared as a country. Not only to manufacture a vaccine but [to] have enough of the raw materials to make vials, hypodermic needles and syringes. And then to have a system that prioritizes who gets the vaccine first.” […]


The Union Leader: Businesses fight for PPP extensions as Sen. Hassan returns to DC

By: Jonathan Phelps


The owner of the Sunrise Shack, a small breakfast and lunch spot in Glen, called the federal Paycheck Protection Program a “godsend” for his business.


But like so many other businesses, Fred Nemeth needs to figure out what to do after the initial eight weeks of loans run out. He held off on applying until the restaurant reopened in early June for takeout and outdoor dining.


[…] Nemeth met with U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan and other business owners through an online Zoom meeting Thursday to discuss continued COVID-19 relief. Hassan will return to Washington next week and will work to negotiate new relief packages.


“We all realize that a short-term PPP program is probably not going to be enough — at least a good portion of this Congress believes that,” she said. “We are looking at how we develop the next stage PPP program.”


Of 1,549 businesses that took a recent survey 10% were not confident they would be in business in a month and 17% not confident they would still be open in a year.


[…] With professional fireworks shows canceled, Stephen Pelkey, CEO of Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group Inc. in Jaffrey, estimates business is down 80 to 90% and set to lose up to $5 million. PPP and other loans have helped keep all 26 full-time employees on board. Now, he’s worried business will only return to 60% next year given the economy.


“Eight weeks in the initial PPP, although we’re extremely grateful, those of us who aren’t going to see any meaningful income for 12 months that’s tough because what do you do for the other 44 weeks?”


He supports the Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program Act and the Restart Act now before Congress.


Like Nemeth, Jay Bolduc, managing operator of Great NH Restaurants, is worried about the colder months and limited seating capacity. More than 50% of business remains outdoors in the chain’s eight locations.


“We are looking to not just get additional PPP funding that will get us into 2021 for our industry, but we are also looking for industry specific funds that may match the level of capacity or restrictions or health precautions and those direct impacts on our industry,” he said.