Local small business owners, employees hoping for another round of COVID relief to stay afloat

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February 07 2021 05:30 pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As COVID cases surge in the metro, local officials are working to stop the spread. However, restrictions that help that goal are also hurting small businesses.

The HEROES Act is a bill designed to help small businesses survive. The bill offers many provisions for Americans, including a stimulus check of up to $1,200 per individual and loans to small businesses.

The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 208-199, but it’s stalle in the Senate. 

Approval of the bill is largely split along party lines. The majority of Republicans oppose it, and the majority of Democrats support it. Republicans held the majority in the Senate before their Thanksgiving recess, leading many to believe that the Senate would not pass the bill as presently constructed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it an “unserious product.”

But Mayor Quinton Lucas said he will fight to ensure that Kansas Citians get the relief that they need.

“I will continue to reach out to everyone possible in Missouri and Kansas and Washington — wherever — to make sure we can get more resources to Kansas Citians.” Lucas said.

Dr. Rex Archer, director of Kansas City’s health department, said that without economic relief, COVID-19 related deaths could increase. 

“There are excess deaths beyond just those that have COVID on the death certificate.” Archer said. “We are seeing an increase over the whole summer of excess deaths, and some of those are because people are afraid to go into the hospital or weren’t getting their preventative medicines or are under high levels of stress because they didn’t have a paycheck.”

Many local business owners and employees that FOX4 spoke to said pandemic relief is vitally important right now. 

“I could not get unemployment. I tried so many times,” said Katie Mabry Van Dieren, owner of The Strawberry Swing. “So it’s very hard for us. So hopefully the government can help us a little bit.” 

Matt Scott has worked at Quaff Bar & Grill in Kansas City for 20 years. He said the CARES Act saved him during the first shutdown. 

“When I had lost my job for two months, I had to go on unemployment, and that actually helped because we had that CARES Act then. And it actually did allow me to pay my rent and stuff like that, and everything was cool. I had food to eat. I stayed at home and was able to be safe,” Scott said.

He said another shutdown without similar assistance would be devastating. 

“Well, without help, I really don’t know what I’m gonna do for myself. This is the only job I’ve had,” Scott said.

The Senate will return from its Thanksgiving recess next week to continue debating another stimulus package.

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