Payment Protection Program

State Officials Push for More COVID-19 Funding for Small Businesses Amid Pandemic

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Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal are pushing for more COVID-19 funding for small businesses from the federal Payment Protection Program.

On Wednesday, Lamont and Blumenthal discussed the need in the state for an additional round of funding for local restaurants.

The restaurant industry in the state will be a struggle for survival in the next few months, according to Blumenthal.

He said outdoor dining will soon be a challenge and it is likely to be impossible with the weather.

That coupled with the recent losses from many restaurants losing power and needing to throw away food after Tropical Storm Isaias, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Blumenthal said the restaurant industry needs basic, fair assistance.

A second round of payment would potentially be a lifeline in the coming months, Blumenthal added.

Lamont said the first payment from the Payment Protection Program was supposed to be a bridge, but now it's months later and coronavirus continues to limit things.

According to Lamont, it's important that restaurants have a second opportunity to get funding to keep employees and to try and stay open. He added the money should help supplement until the economy is open again.

Blumenthal said there is a prediction that one in three restaurants in the state is likely to close this year.

Lamont and Blumenthal's news conference comes as hopes that talks on a huge federal COVID-19 relief deal would generate an agreement soon are fizzling.

Now that President Donald Trump has issued a series of executive edicts and the national political conventions are set to begin, consuming the attention of both Trump and top Democrats, the talks seem to be on an indefinite pause.

The impasse leaves millions of jobless people without a $600-per-week pandemic bonus jobless benefit that has helped families stay afloat, leaves state and local governments seeking fiscal relief high and dry, and holds back a more than $100 billion school aid package. Money for other priorities, including the election, may come too late, if at all.

NBC Connecticut and Associated Press
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