The COVID-19 shutdown has changed the lives of many across the country, including small business owners. While the shutdown continues to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed with new patients, corner shops, bodegas and family-run companies are also facing an existential threat.
Small business owners are struggling to pay their rent, meet their payrolls and stay afloat.
To alleviate this, by the end of March, Congress came up with a massive relief bill that set aside $349 billion to help small businesses and protect the paychecks of their employees. The funds were meant to be distributed in the form of low-interested business loans, but in less than two weeks, all of that money was gone, and thousands of applications were left up in the air.
The rollout of this program was plagued by accusations of unfairness in a process that shut out many small businesses—including Latino-owned small businesses.
“These are folks that will fight to make what they want and fight to make their businesses successful and do whatever it takes,” said Paul Flahive, entrepreneurship reporter at Texas Public Radio.
Texas has one of the highest rates of Latino-owned businesses in the country. Maria Hinojosa checks in with Flahive, who has been covering this story across Texas, and he shares the story of two Latino-owned businesses who have been trying to access relief funds and have come up short in a very crucial moment for their businesses.