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Small businesses anxiously await more COVID-19 assistance, set to start next week

With a pandemic that has knocked many small businesses to their knees, they await more assistance set to start going out to them next week.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — For small business, many may be able to breathe a sigh of relief as a new wave of much-requested assistance is on the way in the form of nearly $300 billion in federal funding set aside for them.

"There were some months where we didn't have any orders or any events" said Lynnez Gray-Thompson.

For many like Lynnez Gray-Thompson's "Get'cha Po-boy," the pandemic has knocked them to their knees.

"You're not able to hire and maintain staff. You can't employ, and even though you don't have anything going on that month the bills still keep coming,"  she said.

And reaching their bottom line becomes nearly impossible.

"We didn't reach not even 50% of the goal we were trying to reach for the year," Gray-Thompson said.

But help is on the way. Another round of in Payment Protection Program loans are set to disburse next week -- $284 billion in total.

"Anytime you can have, as a small business, the ability to have some cash flow come in, it allows you to continue to make plans and adjust and have some flexibility to see how you can create momentum moving forward," John Vandergriff said.

Vandergriff, owner of Blue Ridge Wealth Planners, said it's the first step in a long road to recovery.

"These funds will allow you to be in a position where you can plug as many of those holes as you can. You know by you time to be able to get enough other materials to be able to plug the rest and stay afloat," he said.

For Gray-Thompson, it's one more step to keeping the kitchen open once this is all over

"This is a way of survival... getting this money would help us be able to fund what we need to be in complete operation," she said.

To qualify for the PPP loans, you must have no more than 300 employees on staff and be able to show at least one earnings quarter where your business lost at least 25% of your gross receipts between 2019 and 2020. Priority is being given to businesses that did not receive loans during the first round. 

To find out more, visit the Small Business Administration's website at this link.