COVID-19: Small businesses hang on by a thread | KOB 4

COVID-19: Small businesses hang on by a thread

Brittany Costello
Created: April 06, 2020 10:08 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The governor recently announced a deadline extension to her order that closes all nonessential businesses until the end of April. Many local businesses are struggling to hang on and some have been forced to close permanently.

“You have to look at it and say, ‘Well how far down can we go before we cannot bring ourselves back out of the well?’ said Cicilia Martinez, General Manager of The Cooperage. “That’s a decision we had to make.”

Last week, The Cooperage announced it will not reopen.

“So you've talked to one business who’s said publicly—they’re finished. We've talked to several others that have said that, but we can’t share their names. We have many others that are hanging on by their fingernails,” said Carla Sonntag, President and Founder of the New Mexico Business Coalition. “I believe if she goes on, any further from April 30th, we’re going to have some major problems.”

Small business loans are being offered to business owners to help keep them afloat, but Sonntag said some businesses are already running into problems turning in their applications.

“We have people that are having a very difficult time, which is why they’re looking for money right now but taking on additional debt is going to make things even more challenging,” she said.

The loan can be forgiven, but there is strict criteria and with the uncertainty of when businesses will be back open, she said businesses simply don't know when they will have more money coming in.

“We're recommending, there are some government agencies that provide free counseling like SCORE and places like that, so we're suggesting businesses do two things,” said Sonntag. “First of all, they take advantage of that free counseling, but secondly they consult their tax professional.”

Meanwhile she said it’s time for a serious plan. She said state leaders must figure out how to jump start the economy once this is all over.

“I think it’s going to be very difficult to overcome and it’s going to take some time but I totally believe in the New Mexico spirit and I believe that we will come back. I just want to see it happen sooner rather than later.”

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