TAMPA, Fla. — It has only been a few weeks since coronavirus changed our way of life, but small businesses across the Tampa Bay area are feeling the financial impacts of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 having severe impacts on Bay area small business
- CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATES: In the Tampa Bay area
- Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance
- Florida Disaster Loan
- Bartender's Guild
- Restaurant Opportunities Center United
How will some survive, and what will the businesses look like once restrictions are lifted?
Those are questions that are keeping small business owners up at night.
Steve Dickson with Ridge Road Tavern in Pasco County says as a result of local emergency measures, his bar cannot open.
Instead of packed seats, the tavern has been reduced to a ghost town as the unpaid bills keep piling up.
"We have roughly what eight days to the end of the month so we have rent which is due. We have electric which is due that could be a substantial amount. And our water bill is due," Dickson said. "How are we expected to make the payments?"
The Ridge Road Tavern is not alone.
Thousands of small businesses are struggling in Florida, with most either looking for creatives ways to keep revenue flowing, or finding other revenue sources like loans to keep them alive.
Steve Ribble with Guardian Accounting Group in Tampa says no options are ideal.
"What if business doesn't pick back up?" Ribble questioned. "What if it takes six months to pick back up? What if it picks back up to a level that is maybe 20-25 percent of what it was?"
The State of Florida has an emergency bridge loan program for small businesses. Owners can apply for a loan of up to $50,000, but if the loan is not paid back in full within 12 months, a 12 percent interest fee would kick in.
The Small Business Administration also is offering a disaster loan, allowing small businesses to get loans up to $2-million. That loan is repayable on up to a 30 year fixed interest plan at 3.75 percent.
All loans issued would need to be paid back, so Ribble says there is no getting around losses business owners are taking on.
"You really want to analyze the impact of your loan payments for the money that you are borrowing, and it's impact on cash flow in those types of what-if scenarios."
Aside from business owners, there are currently thousands of hospitality workers in the Tampa area also struggling financially due to bar closures and restaurants scaling back services.
The Bartender Emergency Assistance Program is offering small loans and assistance to those that have lost jobs or lost hours.
And for restaurant workers, the Restaurant Opportunities Center is also offering assistance.