Small Businesses Fear Disaster Loans
Many fear taking on a loan they may not be able to repay
As small businesses such as restaurants, bars, gyms and hair salons are forced by the COVID0-19 (coronavirus) pandemic to go dark and lay off millions of employees, frantic owners are desperate for government aid to help them salvage enterprises that can’t survive for long without customers.
But the main federal lifeline offered so far — low-interest disaster loans — is unappealing to many people running on thin margins and leery of taking on debt they can’t afford to repay.
“All we do is make enough money to make it through the off-season,” said Donna Benefiel, who owns the Sunset Produce Market in Banks, Ore., and a grocery store on the Oregon coast. “We’re not that profitable. We don’t have any reserves. How do we borrow a year’s worth of money and then have to pay it back?”
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