The federal government has disbursed $349 billion in coronavirus loans to small businesses—and now the money is gone.
Funding for the Paycheck Protection Program lasted about two weeks, indicating that the country’s small businesses—including restaurants—are in dire straits. According to the New York Times, more than 1.4 million loans had been approved as of Wednesday evening.
Democrats and Republicans are still dickering over a package that would immediately increase the funding by $250 billion.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced on its website Wednesday night that it was no longer accepting loan applications: “SBA is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding.”
The SBA added that EIDL applications that have already been submitted will be processed on a first-come first served basis.
Meanwhile, more than 22 million jobless claims were filed in the past four weeks, according to the New York Times. The economy has shed 5.2 million jobs in a month, essentially wiping out the net number of jobs created over the past 10 years since the end of the Great Recession.
Restaurant sales have declined dramatically since the coronavirus outbreak reached national scale. The National Restaurant Association in late March found that restaurant sales were down by 47 percent from March 1 through March 22. A new report by analytics firm Black Box Intelligence indicated overall restaurant sales were down by 62.3 percent for the week ended April 5—a slight improvement of 4.7 percent.